Theda Bara, My Mentor

Under the Wing of Hollywood’s First Femme Fatale

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About the Book

As movie patrons sat in darkened theaters in January 1914, they were mesmerized by an alluring temptress with long sable hair and kohl-rimmed eyes. Theda Bara—“the vamp,” as she would come to be known—would soon be one of the highest paid film stars of the 1910s, earning an unheard of $4,000 per week, before retiring from the screen in 1926.
In 1946, at age five, the author met Bara—then 61—at her Beverly Hills home and the actress became her mentor. This memoir is the story of their friendship.

About the Author(s)

Joan Craig lives in Burbank, California.
Beverly F. Stout lives in Greenwood, Mississippi.

Bibliographic Details

Joan Craig with Beverly F. Stout
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 107 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6283-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2287-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments   xi
Preface   1
1. Theda, the Early Years
Future Woman  5
Omens of Luck  13
2. Joan, the Early Years
California, Land of Dreams  17
3. First Meeting
The Lady in the House  21
Magical Move and Spirits  27
4. Settling In
The Brown Derby  30
Flying Tigers  30
The Afterlife  32
Open House  36
A Croquet Garden Party  38
The Shadow of the Sphinx  38
Mansion on West Adams  42
Edendale and Cleopatra  45
Theda Shops at Home  46
The Brabins, Mae, and Sid  46
Invite a Friend  48
Audition  50
5. Remembering
Fortune  51
Gable, Fleming and Bergman  51
Bergman as Joan of Arc  56
A Masquerade Party  57
Easter in Beverly Hills Hotel  58
Communism in Hollywood  59
A Night to Remember  61
A Crashed Flying Disc  63
Finishing the Script  64
September  66
Joan of Arc at the Stake  66
A Television Party  67
158th Infantry Regiment  68
6. Friends for Life
1948  69
Marionettes  69
The Metropolitan Opera  70
Adoption  71
Canasta  73
The Premiere of Joan of Arc  75
Hollywood Loses Fleming  76
You Have the Best Part  76
Finding Montgomery Clift  78
The Pageant of the Masters  81
Theda’s Life Story  81
On Location with Cleopatra  82
Contract Signed  85
Stock Market on the Rise  85
Ambassador to Luxembourg  87
7. Traveling Abroad
The Coronation  89
St. Donat’s Castle, Wales  92
Kissing the Blarney Stone  96
8. Back Home in Los Angeles
The Disney Dream  98
At Home  100
The Last Party  103
9. My Theda
Be True to Yourself  105
The Following Years  106
10. The Stage Plays
1908: The Devil  109
1912: The Quaker Girl  110
1920: The Blue Flame  111
11. The Films
1914: The Stain  114
A Fool There Was  114
1915: The Kreutzer Sonata  118
The Clemenceau Case  118
The Devil’s Daughter  120
Lady Audley’s Secret  121
The Two Orphans  121
Sin  122
Carmen  123
The Galley Slave  125
Destruction  125
1916: The Serpent  125
Gold and the Woman  127
Theda Talks to the Public  128
The Eternal Sapho  131
East Lynne  132
Under Two Flags  134
Her Double Life  134
Romeo and Juliet  135
The Vixen  137
1917: The Darling of Paris  138
The Tiger Woman  140
Her Greatest Love  141
Heart and Soul  141
Camille  142
Cleopatra  143
The Rose of Blood  147
Du Barry  147
1918: The Forbidden Path  148
The Soul of Buddha  150
Under the Yoke  152
Salome  152
When a Woman Sins  153
The ­She-Devil  154
1919: The Light  156
When Men Desire  158
The Siren’s Song  160
A Woman There Was  162
Kathleen Mavourneen  162
La Belle Russe  166
The Lure of Ambition  167
1925: The Unchastened Woman  168
1926: Madame Mystery  168
12. Charles Brabin
Uncle Charlie and Me  171
The Early Years  177
Brabin Filmography  189
Index   201