Alma Rubens ~ The Drug Addicted Star

Alma Rubens

Alma Rubens was a silent screen star who became addicted to drugs and died young.

She was born Alma Genevieve Reubens on February 17, 1897 in San Francisco, California. Her Jewish father, Albert Reubens, had immigrated from Germany. Alma was raised Catholic (her mother's religion) and attended Sacred Heart Academy. She started her career performing in musical theater. At the age of sixteen she made her film debut in the silent short Banzai. Then she costarred with Douglas Fairbanks in The Half-Breed and with William S. Hart in Truthful Tolliver. Alma married actor Franklin Farnum, who was twenty years older than her, in 1918. He became abusive and she left him after just two months. She was offered a contract with Cosmopolitan Pictures in 1920. The dark haired beauty starred in a string of hit films including Humoresque, Thoughtless Women, and The World And His Wife. There were rumors that she was having an affair with studio boss William Randolph Hearst. In 1921 she was prescribed morphine by her gynecologist and she became addicted. Alma married Dr. Daniel Goodman in 1923 but they divorced a year later. She was signed by Fox in 1925 and starred in the drama East Lynne.

Alma RubensAlma Rubens Magazine

Alma Rubens

On January 30, 1926 she married actor Ricardo Cortez. By this time she was using heroin and cocaine regularly. Her drug addiction caused her to act erratically and it began to hurt her career. The troubled actress was sent to several sanitariums to try to get clean. Alma had a supporting role in the 1929 drama She Goes To War. It would be her final film. She made headlines in February 1929 when she tried to stab a doctor who was treating her. Later that year her husband had her committed to Patton State Hospital. When she was released she announced she was no longer taking drugs and wanted to make a comeback. In an interview she said "No one knows how ashamed I was. I spent hours, days, weeks, during that period, on my knees praying, imploring God to save me." Alma filed for divorce from Ricardo in the Fall of 1930. Soon after she relapsed and her health quickly declined. She was arrested in January of 1931 for cocaine and morphine possession. After being released from jail she came down with lobar pneumonia and bronchitis. Tragically she fell into a coma and died on January 23, 1931. Alma was only thirty-three years old. She was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Fresno, California.

Alma RubensAlma Rubens 1930

Alma Rubens Dead
Alma in her coffin