Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lillian Held -- Bury Me Next to Mom

Known outside show business as Lillian Bachman, the wife of a Manchester, New Hampshire, cigar manufacturer, the 41-year-old singer-actress was formerly married to actor Frederick Russell.  On the vaudeville circuit the duo were billed "Held and Russell."  On July 31, 1920, Held's body was found across the bed of her room at 358 West Fifty-eighth Street in New York City.  The windows were sealed and illuminating gas had flooded the room for hours.  Several weeks before, Held had rented the room in the company of a man, signing the register as "Mr. and Mrs. Von Holding."  The man, whose name was withheld, was later identified as a well-known musical director.  In a brief note written on the back of a photograph of her deceased first husband, Russell, Held blamed the musical director for her death and requested to be buried by the side of her mother and her former vaudeville partner.  In a separate note, Held identified the musical director by name and mentioned that he had threatened her life a few days before.

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