Louise Brooks ~ The Bisexual Flapper

Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks was a popular 1920s flapper who became an escort when her film career ended

She was born Mary Louise Brooks on November 14, 1906 in Cherryvale, Texas. Her father was a lawyer and her mother was a pianist. Sadly when she was nine years old she was sexually abused by a neighbor. To make matters worse her mother cruelly said she must have "led him on". The family later moved to Kansas. At the age of fifteen she left home and began her career as a dancer in Los Angeles. Louise appeared in George White's Scandals and in the Ziegfeld Follies. During this time she often posed nude for photographers like Alfred Cheney Johnston. In 1925 she was offered a five year contract at Paramount. She made her film debut in The Street Of Forgotten Men. Then she appeared in The American Venus, The Show Off, and A Girl In Every Port. Louise quickly became known for her flapper fashions and her bobbed haircut. She dated Charlie Chaplin and had an affair with producer Walter Wanger who was married to Justine Johnstone. On July 21, 1926 she married Eddie Sutherland who had directed her in It's The Old Army Game. They divorced in 1928 after she began an affair with businessman George Preston Marshall. Eddie was so heartbroken about the divorce that he attempted suicide. The bisexual actress also dated Pepi Lederer, the niece of Marion Davies, and had a one night stand with Greta Garbo. Unfortunately she had a drinking problem and developed a reputation for being difficult. When Paramount refused to give her a raise she decided to go to Germany with George Preston Marshall.

Louise BrooksLouise Brooks

Their relationship ended when he became abusive. Her performance in the 1929 German silent film Pandora's Box won rave reviews and made her an international star.  In 1930 she returned to Hollywood but her career quickly stalled. After appearing in the 1931 short Windy Riley Goes Hollywood she didn't get another role for five years. Louise married in Deering Davis, a Chicago millionaire, in 1933. They split up after just five months. She got a small part in the 1937 drama King Of The Gamblers but her scenes were deleted. Her final movie was the 1938 western Overland Stage Raiders. By 1940 she was bankrupt and living in a tiny apartment in Los Angeles. Louise moved to New York City and got a job as a salesgirl. When she had trouble paying her bills she decided to become a paid escort. She said "I found that the only well-paying career open to me, as an unsuccessful actress of thirty-six, was that of a call girl." During this time she became very depressed and struggled with alcoholism. Then in 1955 she met James Card, the curator of The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. He convinced her to move to Rochester and start writing about her life in Hollywood. Louise was able to get sober and published numerous essays about the film industry. Her 1982 autobiography Lulu In Hollywood was widely acclaimed. As she grew older she struggled with arthritis and emphysema. On August 8, 1985 she died from a heart attack at the age of seventy-eight. She was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, New York.

Louise Brooks NudeLouise Brooks Nude
Early in her career Louise often posed nude

Louise Brooks

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