Olga Steck ~ The Tragic Opera Singer

Olga Steck

 Olga Steck was a talented opera singer who committed suicide in 1935

She was born Olga Stech on January 12, 1893 in Alameda, California. Her father, John Stech, was a shoemaker from Austria. Olga was a gifted opera singer who made her stage debut at the age of seven. When she was a teenager she joined an opera troupe and became a popular vaudeville performer The petite singer was four feet, ten inches tall and weighed only 100 pounds. Her nickname was "the pocket size prima donna". She married Thomas L. Matkins, a wealthy businessman, on December 17, 1912. The wedding had to take place in a hospital because she had suffered an appendicitis earlier in the week. Olga took a break from performing and moved with Thomas to Utah. The couple had two sons - Thomas Jr, and Robert. They divorced in 1918 and she resumed her career. She made her Broadway debut in the 1922 revue Frank Fay's Fables. Then she appeared in the shows Sue, Dear and Springtime Of Youth. In 1923 she was a featured performer in the Ziegfeld Follies. She also frequently sang on the radio. 

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By 1930 her career was in trouble and she had a serious drinking problem. She married Everett Saxe, a liquor salesman, in 1933. They divorced in December 1934 with Olga claiming he hit her. A few months later the couple reconciled. She desperately wanted to make a comeback so she started singing at a nightclub in San Francisco. Shortly after midnight on December 18, 1935 she argued with Everett and threw her shoe at his head. Then Olga went to a party at a local hotel with her ex-husband Thomas L. Matkins. She got drunk and asked Thomas for $250 so she could put together a new show. When he refused she became hysterical and climbed out a window. The forty-two year old held on to the window sill for several minutes before falling twelve stories to her death. After a brief investigation her death was ruled a suicide. Olga was buried at Irvington Memorial Cemetery in Fremont, California. Everett told reporters he didn't believe she had committed suicide because "she loved life too much".

Olga SteckOlga Steck Suicide