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

Special Announcement

Hello everyone!

I’ve been working/editing my novel the past few days. Tying loose ends and completing stories. Still not finished with the entire book but coming close — I can’t wait to share my story!

I’d like to thank all of the wonderful people who have been supporting me during this time of my life. It took a lot of guts and bravery on my part to come out and disclose memories that are painful to me and hearing from people who were inspired by my story made it worth it. It truly means a lot to me. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve received some hateful comments. People telling me I’m going to hell, that I am damaging the name of certain celebrities — Lucille Ricksen — I’ve gotten hate emails about Jack Pickford, and even some remarks that I am whoring myself to the public.

I am not a fame monster. I would never dishonor Lucille’s memory just to get my name on television — and I don’t think that I have dishonored her. My main goal was to educate and share the struggles of her life. Through the years, she’s been painted as only a victim and simply a name. Nothing more. I wanted everyone to know that Lucille’s life was much more than that. She was happy, bright, and was loved many. There’s tragedy in everyone’s life. Lucille had tragedy but it wasn’t her entire life. Just the last few months. She was a human being, we all have our faults.

Lucille Ricksen
Lucille Ricksen

All of that being said, I’ve received way more positive reviews than negative. The positive, to me, out weighs the negative. I do not regret a single thing I have done.

In other exciting news, I’m working on a special project that will include everyone who has been so kind to me. I have many documents and pieces of Lucille’s life that I want to share with all the wonderful people who support not only my life, but Lucille’s as well.

I’ll be sending — through the mail — handwritten notes, fragments of my book, pictures, and much more. The subject of what I send will most likely change as my writing is still in process. It will be a special piece of my life shared with the ones who have been kind to me through this journey of my life.

To anyone who is interested in participating in this project, please email me at:

olivethomasproject@aol.com

Thanks again!!X0

– Amy

Lucille & Friends.

One thing that “Ghost Inside My Child” did not have time to share is how much support and friends Lucille Ricksen had! I thought I’d share  who all took care of her and who Lucille’s closest friends were.

Conrad Nagel & Rupert Hughes.

Conrad and Lucille starred in The Rendezvous together, Lucille’s first leading lady role in 1923. They remained very close up until her death. He and Rupert Hughes adopted Lucille and her brother Marshall after their mothers untimely death. After Lucille passed, they still took care of Marshall. The three of them always remained close.

Conrad Nagel in a promo for The Rendezvous
Conrad Nagel in a promo for The Rendezvous
Rupert Hughes
Rupert Hughes
Conrad and Lucille in The Rendezvous
Conrad and Lucille in The Rendezvous. Lucille is 12 years old here.

 

Syd Chaplin and Marshall Neilan.

Marshall directed many of Lucille’s films and Syd starred alongside her in many films. They all were great friends. However, when Lucille became ill, all ties were cut between them. Marshall and Syd never visited Lucille on her death bed or attended the funeral.

They were the best of friends while Lucille was alive and well.

Lucille and Marshall Neilan on set of The Rendezvous
Lucille and Marshall Neilan on set of The Rendezvous
Lucille, Syd, Marshall and Conrad on set of The Rendezvous.
Lucille, Syd, Marshall and Conrad on set of The Rendezvous.

Lois Wilson.

Lucille and Lois met through Conrad. They became close instantly. They were like sisters to each other, Lucille even called her, “her big sister”.

Lois was by her bedside every single say, even being there when Lucille passed away. Lois was devastated by her death.

Lois Wilson
Lois Wilson

 

Paul Bern.

Paul paid for all of Lucille’s medical bills and made sure nurses were present to take care of her. He bought Lucille magazines and presents while she was sick. He was there also when she passed.

Paul Bern.
Paul Bern.

 

Jack Pickford.

Jack and Lucille met at the WAMPA Baby Stars party in early 1924 and soon became very close friends. They starred in The Hill Billy together.

After Lucille’s death Jack and his sister Mary decorated her memorial with flowers.

Lucille and Jack in The Hill Billy
Lucille and Jack in The Hill Billy

 

Marshal Ricksen and mother Ingeborg.

Marshall in 1929, 4 years after the death of his mother and sister.
Marshall in 1929, 4 years after the death of his mother and sister.
Lucille Ricksen and brother Marshall. Shortly before Lucille's bedridden illness.
Lucille Ricksen and brother Marshall. Shortly before Lucille’s bedridden illness. Courtesy of Michael Ankerich and the Ricksen family.

 

Lucille with mother Ingeborg and brother Marshall. Courtesy of Michael Ankerich and the Ricksen family.
Lucille with mother Ingeborg and brother Marshall. Courtesy of Michael Ankerich and the Ricksen family.

Big thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has been spreading love and kindness to the life of Lucille Ricksen. 

Since the show, people have been posting like crazy about her tragic life. Some have been writing direct messages to her & sending virtual flowers and such. It warms my heart that she has been dead since 1925 but people still love and care for her. 

Lucille Ricksen
Lucille Ricksen

The same has been done for Jack Pickford. I’ve been receiving tons of messages & emails about how charming and kind Jack seems. And let me tell you, he was all that and more! A few people have even asked me if I felt that Jack & Lucille could have been married if Lucille had not died. My answer:

It was not meant to be. 

Lucille and Jack in The Hill Billy.
Lucille and Jack in The Hill Billy.