Linda Darnell & Her Heartbreaking Affairs

Linda Darnell

 Linda Darnell was a popular 1940s actress known for her great beauty and her many
heartbreaking affairs

She was born Monetta Eloyse Darnell on October 16, 1923, in Dallas, Texas. Her father, Calvin Darnell, worked in the post office. During her childhood her mother became obsessed with making her a star. Linda became a child model and acted in local stage productions. A talent scout saw her and brought her to Hollywood for a screen test in 1938. When the studio discovered that she was only fourteen they sent her home. One year later she was offered a contract with 20th Century Fox. She made her film debut in the 1939 comedy Hotel For Women. The following year she had a starring role in the drama Star Dust, a movie loosely based on her own life. Although she was only a teenager she became the mistress of studio head Darryl Zanuck. The stunning brunette co-starred with Tyrone Power in the 1940 drama The Mark of Zorro. It was a box-office hit and made her a popular leading lady. At the age of nineteen she married forty-two year old cameraman Peverell Marley. Zanuck was furious and briefly suspended her contract. Unfortunately the marriage was rocky because Peverell was an alcoholic. 

Linda Darnell In ColorLinda Darnell

Linda Darnell In Color

Linda appeared in a series of hit films including Blood And Sand, Centennial Summer, and My Darling Clementine. She became known for her great beauty and was called the "girl with the perfect face".  In 1946 she started having an affair with billionaire Howard Hughes and separated from her husband. When Hughes refused to marry her she decided to reconcile with Peverell. Soon after the couple adopted a daughter named Lola. Linda was chosen for the lead role in the highly anticipated 1947 drama Forever Amber. Although the movie got a lot of publicity it got mixed reviews and failed to live up to expectations. While making the 1949 film A Letter To Three Wives she began a tumultuous affair with married director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. She divorced her husband and was heartbroken when Mankiewicz refused to leave his wife. He also promised her the lead in his film The Barefoot Contessa but cast Ava Gardner instead. Linda fell into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. On February 25, 1954 she married Phillip Liebmann, a brewery heir. The marriage lasted only a year. 

Linda DarnellLinda Darnell Magazine

Linda Darnell In Color

By this time she had a serious drinking problem and had gained weight. She continued to appear in movies like It Happens In Roma and Dakota. Linda also acted on television in Wagon Train and Playhouse 90 but she was no longer an A-list star. In 1957 she married airline pilot Merle Robertson and decided to take a break from acting. Their marriage ended in 1963 when she found out her had fathered another woman's child. Hoping to make a comeback she guest starred on the television show Burke's Law. Then she appeared in the 1965 western Black Spurs. It would be her final acting role. During the spring of 1965 she went to Glenview, Illinois to stay with a friend. On the evening of April 9 she watched her movie Star Dust on television and went to sleep. Tragically a lit cigarette started a fire in the house and she was burned over eighty percent of her body. The next day, April 10, 1965 she died from her injuries. She was just forty-one years old. Linda was cremated and her ashes were buried at Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Linda DarnellLinda Darnell

Linda Darnell Fire
The room where Linda died