Friday, January 31, 2014

Evelyn Nelson -- Hang On Wally, I'm Coming

Often paired with Jack Hoxie in Western melodramas (Cyclone Bliss, 1921; The Crow's Nest, 1922; Desert Rider, 1923), Nelson was in her late teens when she met and fell in love with motion picture he-man Wallace Reid.  The pair began an affair that continued until the married Reid, fearful that the scandal might ruin his career, broke it off.  The relationship resumed after Reid was granted an interlocutory divorce decree, but again fearing negative press, he finally called it quits.  Ravaged by drug addiction, the so-called "King of Paramount" died in a sanatorium on January 18, 1923.  Devastated by Reid's death, the 23-year-old actress tried to go on living, but as The Los Angeles Examiner reported on June 17, 1923, "heart broken, (she) gave up the struggle and embarked on the Great Adventure."  The day before, Nelson's body was found in a gas-filled room in her luxuriously appointed bungalow as 6231 De Longpre Avenue in Hollywood.  In a note addressed to her mother Nelson begged for forgiveness, adding that she had no reason for the suicide except that "I am tired."  In another note penned moment before her death, the actress wrote:  "I am just about gone, and will soon be with my friend, Wally Reid."

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