Jeanne Eagels ~ The Talented Drug Addict

 Jeanne Eagels

Jeanne Eagels was a talented actress who became addicted to drugs and died young

She was born Eugenia Eagles on June 26, 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri. Her father was a carpenter and she had five siblings. When she was a teenager she dropped out of school and got a job to help support her family. Jeanne joined the Dubinsky Brothers' traveling theater show in 1905. Soon after she married the star of the show Morris Dubinsky. The couple had a son together who tragically died during infancy. She was so devastated that she suffered a nervous breakdown. By 1911 she had divorced her husband and moved to New York City. Jeanne danced in the chorus of The Ziegfeld Follies and acted in several plays. During this time she decided to bleach her brown hair blonde. She made her film debut in the 1913 short The Ace Of Hearts. Then she appeared in the films The Fires Of Youth, The World And The Woman, and Under False Colors. The talented actress also starred on Broadway in The Professor's Love Story and Hamilton. David Belasco cast her in his 1918 play Daddies but she quit when she got sick. Unfortunately she had become addicted drugs and alcohol. Although she went to several sanitoriums she could not stop and eventually she started using heroin. In 1922 she played prostitute Sadie Thompson in the dramatic play Rain.

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The show was a huge success and her performance got rave reviews. She was cast as Roxie Hart in the play Chicago but she quit during rehearsals. Her reputation for being difficult to work with began to hurt her career. Jeanne had love affairs with Clifton Webb, musician Arthur Fiedler, and actress Libby Homan. On August 27, 1925 she married Edward Coy, a stockbroker. She costarred with John Gilbert in the 1927 film Man Woman and Sin. Then she was given a starring role in the drama The Letter. It was the first sound film to be shot at Astoria Studios in New York. Her marriage to Edward became violent and she divorced him in 1928. Jeanne was suffering from chronic sinusitis and had surgery to treat ulcers on her eyes. Tragically on October 3, 1929 the thirty-nine year old star died from a drug overdose. The toxicology report showed that she had heroin, chloral hydrate, and alcohol in her system. More than three thousand people attended her funeral in New York City. She was buried at at Calvary Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri. A few months after her death she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in The Letter. Kim Novak later starred in movie based on her life called Jeanne Eagels.

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Jeanne Eagels Dead