The Final Years of Jack Pickford

The final 5 years of Jack Pickford’s life are a mystery to most. The years that were filled with car crashes, hospital visits, drunken episodes and chronic illness.

His mother Charlotte passed away in 1928 and he made his final picture called, “Gang War”. Which he co starred with Olive Borden.

Olive Borden
Jack and Olive Borden

July 6th, 1928: Jack was hospitalized after having a heart attack. After he was released from the hospital, he flew from LA to New York to discuss an offer to appear on the famous New York stage. Attendants on the plane said he could barley manage the flight.

Gang War

The newspaper clipping above must had been from sometime in September, 1928. I’m not sure what Jack was sick with then – my guess is that it must have been another breakdown.

*I don’t have any information on Jack from 1929*

November, 1930: Chester Grady, a famous medium at the time, fell in contact with a girl whom he called, “The girl with the golden hair” during a seance.

The girl was Olive Thomas.

Jack Pickford’s first wife who died 10 years earlier in Paris.

olive and jack - last image
The final images of Olive alive. Pictured with Jack.

Olive supossedly told Grady what happened the night of her death. She told him that her death had been an accident and then continued to tell him, in detail, what exactly happened that night.

Grady wrote to Jack to ask if he could confirm the story Olive told, being that Jack witnessed her untimely demise unfold.

Jack never replied.

During this time, Jack would drink himself into oblivion. Often, during his drunken visions, he would call out for a brown haired girl.

The girl was Olive.

Olive - Portrait
Olive’s last and favorite portrait.

 

August 12th, 1930: Jack marries Mary Mulhern.

Mary Mulhern 2
Jack and Mary Mulhern

The day after the wedding, stores hounded Jack for the bills he never paid. Newspaper’s reported “Summons awaits Pickford in LA”. Their marriage went downhill as soon as Mary figured out that she would have to be Jack’s full time nurse.

Jack 1930.jpg
Jack in 1930

In March of 1931, Jack was in a very bad car accident. He had been sleeping in the backseat of the car while his chauffeur was driving. At an intersection, the car hit a drain pipe – the two were thrown from the car once it hit. The car then crashed into trees and was demolished. Jack was badly cut and bruised. The chauffeur suffered broken ribs and more injuries. Theories claim that the car must have been traveling very fast when it hit the drain pipe. His wife Mary took care of him after the crash.

September 25th 1931, newspapers reported he awoke from a coma and was in critical condition. *All the info that I have at the moment*

Mary Mulhern left Jack sometime after he awoke from the coma. She lived with her parents in New York. Jack spent Thanksgiving and Christmas alone. When his friends confronted him about Mary’s absence, Jack would just say,

“She’s away on vacation.”

Jack finally admitted on February 17th that he and Mary are separated. Telling newspapers:

“Please say Mary Mulhern is an awfully nice girl, and that I’m sorry we couldn’t make a go of our marriage. That is – if you feel like saying something.”

Louella Parson’s wrote the newspaper article, saying that Jack begged her not to write a story about his marriage ending but once his friends and New York knew about the divorce – he relented. Louella also wrote in the article:

“I have always felt Jack might have become one of the screen’s great actors if he hadn’t been born Mary Pickford’s brother. But being the brother of one of the world’s most famous women made Jack feel people were being nice to him only because of the tremendous popularity of his sister.”

February 26th 1932, their divorce was finalized.

Mary asked for freedom among the ground of mental cruelty.

Jack’s friends insisted that the real reason of the divorce was that he just couldn’t get over the death of Olive. Telling newspapers that she was jealous that during his drunken nights, he would call out for Olive and not for her.

Mary Mulhern 5.jpg
Mary Mulhern

On October 14th, 1932, Jack was admitted into the Neuilly hospital in Paris while on vacation. He stayed there for months terribly ill – no one ever visited him. The only person was Douglas Fairbanks. Doctors said during the last stages of his illness he only talked about Mary Mulhern.

Jack desperately wanted his second wife Marilyn Miller near the end, saying,

“I’d like to see Marilyn one last time, if she isn’t mad at me.”

Marilyn agreed to see Jack but passport problems halted her journey to Paris.

Marilyn never made it to his side.

December 31st, Jack had a blood transfusion. It was reported he was getting better.

Then, in a cruel twist of fate, newspapers flashed this headline four days later, “Jack Pickford Dies in Same Hospital Where End Came to Olive Thomas.”

Doctors said he showed unwillingness to live saying, “I have lived more than most men and I’m tired, I’m very tired.”

Jack slipped into a coma three hours before his death at 4 O’ Clock on January 3rd, 1933.

He died from Chronic Polyneuritis, which is an auto imminue disease that causes dizzy spells and muscle issues. There is not cure for it — not even to this day. After 3 years of this disease, it spread to his brain which ultimately killed him. He was 36 years old. There were two doctors and two nurses at his bedside during his passing.

His nurses said he passed with a smile on his face.

The most famous and used rumor on his death is that he died from syphillis. There has been no record to ever surface about this being true. The rumor was started back in the early 1920’s by Florenz Ziegfeld, who started it because he was angry at Jack for Olive Thomas’ death and his early relationship to Marilyn Miller. Florenz apologized for making up such a thing, seeing how much it upset Marilyn.

Pallbearers Carrying Casket of Jack Pickford
Pallbaerers carrying Jack’s casket. Jan. 19th, 1933

 

***My apologies – Information jumps around alot, I’m working on filling in the gaps!***

 

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All Little Girls Go To Heaven

Throughout all of my years of researching and writing about celebrities cases, none have stuck with me more so than Judith Barsi.

Judith - Cover.jpg

A prime child star in the 1980’s who had appeared in over 70 tv commercials, multiple tv shows and films that include: Jaws: The Revenge, The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Judith showed an incredible range of acting. Most of her television roles involving that of being a victim of abuse.

On screen the abuse had been an act. In real life, however, it was much too real for this young girl.

Judith’s father, Jozsef Barsi, was a raging, jealous man who physically and mentally abused both Judith and her mother, Maria. The abuse ended by the hands of Jozsef after putting a gun to both Maria and Judith’s heads, shooting away the life in them. Judith was only 10 years old.

Judith and dad
Judith and her father Jozsef.
Judith and Mom
Judith and her mother Maria.

The abuse affected Judith so much that her growth was stunted and she often played roles much younger than her real age. The continuing success of her film/tv career made Jozsef more and more angry; threatening to kill them and himself. The more angry he got – the more drunk he would get. Jozsef was arrested on 3 seperate occasions for drunk driving.

December of 1986, Maria reported his threats to harm her and Judith. Police found no physical signs of violence towards them and no charges were filed.

Judith and best Friend Trixie
Judith and her best friend Trixie.

 During an audition for All Dogs Go To Heaven, Judith broke down in front of her agent resulting in Maria taking her to see a child psychologist who identified severe physical and mental abuse, and reported this to Child Protective Services. At this time Judith pulling out her eyebrows and eyelashes and plucked out her cats whiskers.

The investigation was dropped by Maria who assured the case worker that she would divorce Jozsef and make sure Judith was kept safe.

Judith was last seen the morning of July 25th, 1988, riding her bike. That evening while Judith slept, Jozsef shot her in her head and then killed Maria. He reportedly sat in the house the next two days and spoke to Judith’s agent on the phone stating that he was leaving for good and just needed time to say goodbye to his little girl.

He poured gasoline over their bodies and set fire to them before going into the garage and shooting himself.

Judith - Body.jpg
Judith’s corpse being carried from the house. Note the two policemen on the left crying.

August 9th, 1988, Judith and Maria were buried side by side at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Judith and her mother only got headstones within the past few years. Her final film, All Dogs Go To Heaven, was released after her death.

Her story has gone mostly unheard since that day in 1988.

A documentary on Judith’s life and career is in the works by Tim Burchett, who has done extensive research on Judith throughout the past few years.

In March of 2016, Judith was brought to life again by Hollywood Medium, Tyler Henry, on his television show. During a psychic reading for Tracey Gold, (who spoke at her funeral and was a former co star of Judith’s) Judith came through and thanked her for the love and support she recieved after her death.

Judith also went on to say that she felt no pain during her passing and that she forgives her mother for not leaving her father in time.

Judith Barsi 15

It’s a tragic story from Hollywood that has been kept in the shadows for too long.

Tyler Henry comfirmed what we all were hoping — all little girls go to heaven. The important thing to remember is that both Judith and her  mother feel no pain anymore and they are together, in the afterlife, for eternity and Judiths movies will forever be watched and adored.

Rest in Peace Judith and Maria.

Judith Barsi 2

My Many Projects

An update on all the projects I have thrown myself into through the years.

I’m notorious for starting projects that, sadly, never go anywhere or never get finished. I’ve started MANY projects throughout the last 5 years. Wanted to give an official update on what is to come.

My Scotty Beckett Biopic:

About 3 years ago I started to delve into the life of actor Scotty Beckett. This is one of my great challenges.

Scotty led a life of ultimate mystery and the more I dug into his past, the more questions I had. I’ve interviewed his family, co stars, and friends and nearly every one of them told me that he was a no good man and that a book should not be in the works. Some things are better left in the dark. Leave Scotty’s story alone.

Due to lack of information (medical files, institutions privacy, etc.) I found that writing a book on his life was taking a toll on me. Just no one (who knew him) wanted to talk about him.

This project was put on the back burner.

I have the intention of releasing all of the interviews and information I received in the future. May be in a documentary or in a book. We will just have to wait and see. When the moment is right, I’ll release it.

Scotty’s life and death definitely is a heavy topic.

The Jack Pickford Story:

My main man: Jack Pickford. SO many ideas. I have all the information I need to write a full length biography on his life and death – it’s just a matter of time before it gets pieced together.

Lucille Ricksen / Memoir:

My memoir and past life story as Lucille Ricksen is written and finished! Just matter of editing and publishing and such. Hoping for a release within the next few years.

Other projects I’m in the midst of creating:

I’m constantly creating and coming up with ideas for future projects. Some of the main topics lately; a documentary about Minnesota cold cases, writing about the life of actor Justin Pierce, and many more.

I take on way to many projects but it’s what I enjoy doing.

And on top of all that, I was delayed for a few months; moving to California and pursuing other career options.

The Tragic Story of Marvel Rea

Early dawn of September 3rd, 1936, a young woman staggers into the Compton police station in California.

She reports that she had been kidnapped and raped by three men hours before.

This woman is former actress and bathing beauty model Marvel Rea.

Marvel Rea
Marvel Rea

As Marvel walked on 107th Street & Compton avenue in Los Angeles, midnight September 2nd, three youths approached her in a red truck and offered her a ride. She politely refused their offer.

The three young men then lept out of the car, grabbed Marvel, threw her into their truck, and then drove away to a eucalyptus grove in Los Angeles.

Marvel screamed as they dragged her out of the car and threw her on the ground. They began beating her with glass bottles; breaking them over her body. Her face and hands were scratched by the broken glass. Each man raped Marvel and continued to beat and choke her. She suffered a seizure and passed out.

When Marvel woke about 4 hours later, she ran to the Police station.

As Police searched for the three men, Marvel was taken under the care of a physician. Suffering from severe shock and hysteria.

September 5th, the men-Harvey Allen Zinke, Elwood Robert Gidney, and Daniel Bailey-were arrested and kept in jail as they couldn’t provide the $10,000 in bond. The three truck driving men were in their early 20’s; Marvel was 35.

The Attackers
The Attackers

January, 1937: The three men unsuccessfully requested a new trial on charges that they attacked Marvel. The three were sentenced to serve from one to fifty years in prison. They were all released two years later.

Marvel couldn’t handle the pain which was left after the attack.

She committed suicide by eating ant paste at the age of 36.

Marvel Rea

A new report is that Marvel and her brother Clyde made a late night suicide pact as they were drinking. Marvel carried it out as Clyde passed out.

She loved to swim and surf. With her blonde hair, blue eyes, and innocent smile she became a beautiful film actress and model.

But Marvel’s life wasn’t easy.

She suffered a miscarriage while she was filming a scene with a live Gorilla and it kicked her in the stomach causing her to stop her career in 1921.

Her first husband, Henry Wells, was abusive. He stepped on her head and stole money from her to support his narcotic abuse.

Marvel’s second husband (name unknown) was a famous violinist and she often toured with him. His sudden death shocked her and left her a widow.

Her third marriage to Edwin Wilkinson began shortly before her attack.

Marvel felt she had nothing to live for.

She is buried in California in a family plot under the name Marvel Wilkinson.

Rest in Peace Marvel.

Marvel Rea4

Mother Theresa & The Lost Boy

Sometimes the bond between a mother and daughter is so spiritually connected and strong that even a little obsession with a dead actor can bring them together.

Spirits whom I idolize seem gravitate towards my mother. Especially, much to her sadness yet still hopefulness, spirits who died tragically.  And young.

In sixth grade I became obsessed with Larry Clarks film, “Bully”. I read the book by Jim Schutze and studied the case very closely, watching anything and everything that was related to it. Though I don’t believe the movie (and book) are a real and fact based portrayal of the actual crime, I still admired the way Mr. Clark filmed the movie and I became an instant fan of his with viewing only one of his films. I loved the movie that much. It was also the first time I had seen a film with the late Brad Renfro whom I now adore and actually keep James Franco’s “Brad Tribute” mirror on my nightstand. Franco’s handwritten “Brad Forever” stained across the reflection in pink lipstick with a tiny, beautiful photo of Brad glued underneath.

This was my first taste of modern obsession with tragic actors who died young. I gravitate towards them as if they were my babies and I’m their savior. Everyday I try to protect them and their images. The unknown who “ordinary” people don’t recognize their names.

Larry Clark threw me into a new world. A different kind of filmmaking that both intrigued me and made me sick. I felt nauseous at the end of the film. I didn’t sleep for days after. Still, I spent the whole Summer after sixth grade watching that movie. Every. Single. Night.

Travel forward in time about 3 years when I was a freshman in High School. Well past my Bully phase and even forgetting that I had once loved that film. Late night insomnia made me skip through our tv guide looking for something to watch when I stumbled upon Bully. I clicked it on and it started all over again.

But I wasn’t going to let it stop there. I was fully prepared to seek out and watch all of Larry Clarks films and gaze upon his photography portfolio. Logging into my online account for the local library I searched Larry’s name and, with no surprise, only a few options came up. Bully and a film called Kids.

I clicked on Kids and hit the “request” button to have it brought to the library having no clue what the film was even about. All I knew was that Kids was Larry’s first film.

After I picked up Kids from the library, I locked myself in my room and played the film.

The first shot absolutely repulsed and confused me. I continued watching, hoping that my opinion would change.

It didn’t.

After the final scene of the film I shut it off hoping that the images I just saw would erase itself out of my memory. But days after viewing it I had to turn it back on and watch it again. And again. And again.

I was trapped in a world where I didn’t belong.

Mainly, I was captivated by the character Casper played by Justin Pierce. Casper, the loud mouthed skater who is best friends with Telly, the lead character, whose mission is to sleep with as many virgin girls as possible, unknowingly giving and spreading AIDS to each girl as he goes. Immediately, the viewer loves Casper. Next to his friend, who continually talks about hunting down new girls, the viewer, obviously, is automatically drawn to Casper. But with Casper I could sense a very troubled soul. You can see it in his face–in his eyes. His acting blew me away but I could feel that there was something more there. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do a quick Google search of his name.

Sadly what I found was that he had been dead for more than ten years. The cause of death:

Suicide by Hanging. Age 25

What I found slightly more disturbing is that he had killed himself at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, a place that I have driven/walked by countless times in my life. To think that I was so close to a sort of twisted crime scene of an actor who I was only then beginning to appreciate saddened me but didn’t fail to spark a fuel inside to discover more about Justin.

Who was Justin?

A boy who was randomly picked up from the streets to be in a movie.

A boy who won outstanding performance awards for his portrayal as Casper in Kids.

The unknown boy who hardly had any photos on the internet when I had first discovered him.

The lost boy who had written two suicide notes before tying a noose around his neck in the late night life of Vegas.

The world around him was alive, well, and happy. Only he wasn’t.

So what is it about Justin Pierce?

Though I’ve grown to love and admire the film Kids, there are essentially no redeeming characters. Throughout the film you root for Justin’s character. He gives a little girl who is alone outside a peach, digs through his pockets to find any money he has to give to a homeless man who has no legs on a New York subway train, and told off a friend who stole money from his mother.

Justin’s character gives the viewer hope that in every bunch of troubled kids, there can be one good one. One that can truly make it. He gives out redeeming qualities only to destroy it by attacking an innocent black man and leaving him for dead and raping a drugged up girl at a party.

Why do people, including myself, love this character so much? Why is he the hero of the story?

The film parallels his own life. Out of the cast of Kids Justin was the one people knew would turn into a major star. The troubled boy making it big in Hollywood. Showing us that even, in his own words, a “bastard son” can achieve greatness. He gave many powerful drama filled, along with comedic, performances only to take it all back from us by killing himself in a Vegas suite.

I began (in much obsessiveness and oddness) a search to find out more about Justin. What is it that makes his fans, and there are a lot of us, love him?

During the span of my research I learned my parents were planning a trip to Las Vegas to visit relatives. I asked my mother, who is a psychic/medium, if she could stop at the Bellagio to see if she could feel and/or sense Justin. My mother had no clue who Justin was. All she knew was that he was an actor and had died in a Bellagio suite.

Upon their arrival, my mom snapped a quick picture of the Bellagio as they drove by and sent it to me while I was anxiously waiting in school.

The next few days she kept Justin on her mind, hoping to receive any bit of information that she could give to me. As they walked around the famous streets, my mom stopped behind the rest of the crowd she was with and felt a quick rush of intense sadness and pain which was accompanied by a soft brush against her cheek as if someone was trying to comfort her.

She later told me that she had felt a quick calm sensation and a moment peace. The peace of a worried, manic mind. And the peace of that everything is okay now.

Once knocked back into reality she realized she was standing at the entrance of the Bellagio hotel.

Quickly, she hurried back to catch up with the rest and texted me what had happened.

“He was in a lot of pain. Physically and emotionally. Broken bones? Lots of broken or sprained bones.”

My mother, not knowing Justin was a professional skate boarder, picked up he hurt all over. Bodily and mentally.

“He was in a lot of emotional pain. Intense inner torment. But he’s alright now. He’s happy now.” She assured me. “Don’t be sad for him. He doesn’t care anymore. He’s okay.”

A few days after, relieved me texted my mom:

“French teacher gone, no test today. Jesus Christ, yes.”

As my mom read this text, she overheard a woman near her say,

“Jesus Christ, what happened?”

She laughed to herself and texted back asking,

“What’s with all the Jesus Christ’s today?”

“Justin!!!” I replied.

Kids ended with Justin waking up on a couch after raping a girl uttering the famous last lines of the film before cutting to black,

“Jesus Christ, what happened?”

Small little messages kept happening even after my mother arrived back home. We’ll text each other words or symbols we get from spirit asking if it has any meaning to us. One day as I was listening to the Kids soundtrack in my room my mom asked what “butterscotch” meant to me.

I immediately laughed and said,

“Yep, that’s Justin.”

Ever get movie quotes stuck in your head? I always get “butterscotch” stuck in my head. I confirmed to her that it was in fact Justin but didn’t have the heart, nor did I want to explain to her, that he was using the word butterscotch to describe a ladies private part.

We’ve had countless experiences with Justin, so many that you may think we’re simply “faking” it. But we whole heartedly believe in it and that’s all that matters.

As a former child actress who died at the age of 14 (in my previous life) I have such sympathy and love for fellow stars who had followed the same path that I, unfortunately, started. I’m drawn to these types of people because I know how it feels. And I also know how it feels to be forgotten. To be lost in the shadows and to become a victim of Hollywood.

Some of the stars I love seem to go to my mother as well. Those who have had broken homes and bad childhoods. They find a safe haven and comfort in my mom. The mother figure they didn’t seem to have while living on earth.

I’m their fan and support while my mother is their unconditional love and comfort.

My mother has a strong connection to Justin and holds a warm kind of love for him. Though, she refuses to watch Kids. She holds Justin to such a high standard that she doesn’t want to see him doing anything that will may make her want to change her opinion about him. She feels as though it would be a “mother” intruding on a sons personal business.

Justin was a living icon of New York and the prototype of what could happen to a troubled soul in films. To the pure ones.

I think us fans are in love with the could have been. Not what should have been, what could  have been. Souls as old and rare as his are not meant to be in this world for very long. As sad as that is, it’s the truth.

I certainly would have loved to have seen him in more films but he did all he could and we should be thankful for that. He chose to die, not that I agree with his decision, we should not be mad at him for that. For whatever reasons he had behind it, we cannot be mad. It was his life and he chose the path he had. We’ve done a great job at keeping his spirit alive and we should thank him for the wonderful performances he left us. In all of his pain and suffering, he held it together long enough to share his talents with the world. And that is what he was meant to do.

July 10th will mark the 15th anniversary of Justin’s death and he’s still alive and well in all of our hearts. He still has pictures with friends being posted online, t-shirts with his face on it selling, movies being watched, and new fans mourning his passing.

Our minds are compelled to keep him alive. Him dying young gave us the ability to use our imaginations to carry on his legacy.

 Because Legends Never Die.

Rest in Paradise Justin

Justin - Funeral

The Sunset

One of Sydney Chaplin’s greatest fears as told in perspective of Lucille Ricksen.

Yet another rejected and very early draft of my novel, Human Wreckage.

——————————————-

We would talk about everything and anything. One of the topics being Syd’s terrifying fear of dying.
That was something that never bothered me. I certainly didn’t want to die young, but I was never scared of death. At times, it seemed wonderful. Just a long, heavy deep sleep. Many times during my career I dreamt of the sleep of the dead.
His fear of dying kept him from living. As he got older, he would settle in his chair and watch the light fade from his garden. Maybe he knew that’s how we experience death. Or at least how I experienced death.
A light coming from one side and slowly closing you out of the earth. Death is no sudden black. Maybe Sydney was onto something–death comes just like the sunset. Slowly, colors will fade and your vision will turn white then to black. The sky never changes colors in a mere second. It will gradually change. You simply don’t realize what is happening, until after it has happened.
Just like falling asleep. You don’t remember the exact second you are dreaming, but you are. Death, for me, was a beautiful moment in history. Despite the circumstances, it was beautiful.
Once the sun finally settled, Syd would sit and cry alone in his chair. Most people who are fortunate enough to even watch the sun fall feel calm and peaceful. He found it morbid. The sun going down only proved to him that time truly does go by and that he has lost yet another day of living. The older he got and the more days he lost, the more depressed he became.

He hated anything that had to do with death. I like to think that’s the reason why he never paid me visits while I was dying. Imagine my disappointment when he never showed at my bedside.