Helen Chandler ~ Dracula's Alcoholic Star

 Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler was a stage and screen actress best known for starring in the horror film Dracula

She was born on February 1, 1906 in Charleston, South Carolina. Her mother wanted her to become an actress so she sent her to The Professional Children's School. At the age of twelve she made her Broadway debut in Penrod. Helen appeared in more than twenty Broadway shows including The Steam Roller, Hamlet, and The Constant Nymph. In 1927 she had roles in the films The Music Master and The Joy Girl with Olive Borden. She married novelist Cyril Hume in 1930. Then she was cast as the female lead in the 1931 horror film Dracula. It was a huge success and her performance won rave reviews! Helen had starring roles in the dramas Alimony Madness and Dance Hall Hostess. The beautiful blonde returned to Broadway in 1934 to star in These Two. After divorcing Cyril she married actor Bramwell Fletcher in 1935. By this time her movie career had stalled and she had developed a serious drinking problem.

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Her final film was the 1938 comedy Mr. Boggs Steps Out. She divorced Bramwell in 1940 when she discovered he was having an affair with Mary Astor. Soon after she was admitted to a sanitarium. In 1943 she impulsively married Walter S. Piascik, a merchant seaman. They seperated a few years later. Helen continued to struggle with alcoholism and an addiction to sleeping pills. Sadly in 1950 she fell asleep while smoking and her apartment caught on fire. She was badly burned and left with scars on her arms and face. Her health deteriorated and in 1965 she had to have surgery for a bleeding ulcer. There were complications during the surgery and tragically she died on April 30, 1965. Helen was only fifty-nine years old. She was cremated but no one in her family took her remains. In 2023 her fans paid for her to be buried at Hollywood Forever in Hollywood, California.

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Helen Chandler Bela Lugosi Dracula
With Bela Lugosi in Dracula