Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Juliann Graham -- No Good Deed Unpunished

In early 1934, Graham, 22, left her job at the public library in Sisterville, West Virginia.  Armed with a "professional" resume consisting of parts in amateur theatricals and a position in the local church choir, she went to Hollywood to realize her dream of stardom.  Within days of her arrival Graham swallowed poison in a Hollywood hotel room on March 8, 1934, after failing to crash the gates at a major studio.  When she recovered, Earl Carroll (then producing Murder at the Vanities at Paramount) took pity on Graham and convinced the studio to engage her on a week-to-week basis as a "bit" player.  At the time, Graham warned other young girls to stay away from Tinsel Town until they were financially able to support themselves in town for at least six months.  Despite Carroll's intercession, Graham again tried unsuccessfully to kill herself in September 1934 by ingesting a sleeping potion.  On the morning of July 15, 1935, shortly after returning from a weekend spent on Santa Catalina Island with Ben F. Reynolds, a married motion picture cameraman, Graham went into the bedroom of his apartment at 2879 Sunset Place in Los Angeles while he slept in another room.  Seating herself in front of a mirror, Graham placed a handgun against her left temple and pulled the trigger.  Reynolds found her body slumped on the floor beneath the dressing table.  Her one screen credit (as "Julia Graham") was as a waitress in the 1935 Paramount comedy Love in Bloom starring George Burns and Gracie Allen.