Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide

A Biography

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About the Book

This is the first complete biography of actress Peg Entwistle, known as the “Hollywood Sign Girl” because of her suicide fall from the HOLLYWOODLAND sign in 1932. It details her childhood, stage and film career, marriage and divorce, and her suicide and almost cult-like pop culture status today. Extensively researched and written with the complete cooperation of the Entwistle family, this work includes excerpts from interviews with Peg Entwistle’s brother Milton and her cousin Helen Reid, both of whom recalled much of Peg’s years living in Hollywood, her career and private life, and her final weeks. It also features many of Peg Entwistle’s own words from extant letters to her family and newly discovered interviews with theatrical reporters. Nearly 30 previously unpublished images from the author’s collection, the Entwistle family, and a number of other sources complete an intimate look at a life that was defined by far more than its famously unhappy end.

About the Author(s)

James Zeruk, Jr., lives in Los Angeles, California.

Bibliographic Details

James Zeruk, Jr.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7313-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1219-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments  vii

Foreword by Eve Golden  1

Preface  3

Introduction  7

Prologue  9

ACT I

 1. The Curtain Rises  12

 2. Peg O’ Peg’s Heart  29

 3. Hollywoodland  43

ACT II

 4. The Stage Is Set  56

 5. The Work Begins  64

 6. As Broadway Nears  71

 7. At Last!  79

 8. Tommy  84

 9. Little White Lies on the Great White Way  92

10. Between Curtains  104

11. The Guild  108

12. The Show Must Go On  120

13. Elementary, My Dear Entwistle  127

14. Flops, Flappers, Folly and Fun  134

ACT III

15. Give My Regards to Broadway  146

16. Mad Hope  151

17. Thirteen Women  158

18. Cameras and Clapboards, Take One  165

19. Cameras and Clapboards, Take Two  170

20. The Love That Dared Not Speak Peg’s Name  176

21. 24 Years 7 Months 12 Days  183

22. Why?  188

23. Setting Some Things Straight  196

24. The Curtain Lowers  208

Peg Entwistle Career Résumé  213

Chapter Notes  227

Bibliography  235

Index  239

Book Reviews & Awards

Best Film Book—Huffington Post
“very impressive…a compelling story that is a must for anyone interested in cinema’s rich history”—Examiner.com; “For the first time, author James Zeruk reveals the rich, true life story of talented stage actress Lillian Millicent “Peg” Entwistle and her connection to the Hollywoodland Sign.”—Mary Mallory, author of Hollywoodland; “Peg Entwistle has gone down in history for her tragic suicide, becoming a figure rather than a genuine person in the minds of those who are aware of her. James Zeruk has done the research to discover just who Peg Entwistle was, detailing her accomplishments, triumphs, and failures in a compelling story that is a must for anyone interested in cinema’s rich history.”—James L. Neibaur, writer; “For decades, the truth about Peg Entwistle was shrouded in mystery and distorted by myth and misinformation. Through diligence and painstaking research, James Zeruk finally sets the record straight, unveiling the remarkable story of a talented, intelligent actress whose life was all too brief. This long-overdue biography is scholarship of the highest order.”—Ted Okuda, author and film historian.