Aleta Freel ~ Ross Alexander's Tragic Wife

Aleta Freel

Aleta Freel was a stage actress who married actor Ross Alexander and committed suicide

She was born Aleta Freile on June 17, 1907 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her father, Dr. William Friele, was a physician. After graduating from Smith College in 1928 she began acting in stock companies. In 1931 she made her Broadway debut in Three Times The Hour. Then she appeared in the plays Louder Please and Both Your Houses. Aleta's performance in the 1933 play Double Door got rave reviews and her future seemed bright. She married actor Ross Alexander in February of 1934. Henry Fonda was the best man at their wedding. Ross had recently signed a film contract so the newlyweds moved to Hollywood. They bought a modest home and filled it with a menagerie of pets. Aleta made several screen tests but never got any film roles. Unfortunately her marriage to Ross was rocky. He was bisexual and she suspected her was having an affair with another woman.

Aleta Freel Aleta Freel Ross Alexander
                                                                        With Ross Alexander

Ross Alexander Aleta Freel Lili Damita Errol Flynn

She became very depressed over her failing career and unhappy marriage. Aleta desperately wanted to return to New York but Ross refused to leave Hollywood. On December 7, 1935 she and Ross had a fight. Soon after she committed suicide by shooting herself in the temple. She was only twenty-eight years old. Ross found her body in the front yard of their home. He told the police they had a "small spat" and that she was unhappy about her failed screen tests. Her family refused to believe she had taken her own life. After a brief inquest the coroner ruled that her death was officially a suicide. Aleta was buried at Bayview-New York Bay Cemetery in Jersey City, New Jersey. Nine months after her death Ross Alexander married actress Anne Nagel. Tragically he also committed suicide in January of 1937.

Aleta FreelAleta Freel Suicide

Aleta Freel Ross Alexander Suicide