Eleanor Counts & Her Tragic Death

Eleanor Counts

Eleanor Counts was a beautiful 1930s starlet who died tragically young

She was born Maude Eleanor Counts in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1912. Sadly her father, James B. Counts, died when she was just five years old. At the age of sixteen she married twenty-two year old Robert Gauldin. The couple had two children - Robert Jr. and Iris. They split up in 1932 but remained legally married until 1945. Eleanor worked in a shoe store and started acting with a local theater troupe. In 1937 she moved to Hollywood and got a job as a cigarette girl in a nightclub. To get herself noticed she picketed outside a movie studio with a sign that read "My Legs Are Nice See! But I Can Act Too! Give Me A Chance!" It worked and she got a bit part in The Big Broadcast Of of 1938. The beautiful starlet appeared in more than a dozen films including Million Dollar Legs, Nothing But The Truth, and So's Your Aunt Emma with Zasu Pitts.

Eleanor CountsEleanor Counts

Unfortunately she never got any leading roles. During the 1940s she toured the country with Earls Carroll's Scandals and appeared in the Broadway show Catherine Was Great. She told reporters she didn't smoke, didn't drink, and rarely dated. Her last film was the 1947 drama The Unsuspected. Eleanor moved to New York City and began writing a book. After getting into a fight at a hotel she was sent to Bellevue psychiatric hospital. When she was released she announced she was suing the city for $250,000 for "railroading" her into the hospital. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1948. On September 12, 1950 she was found dead at the age of thirty-eight. Tragically she had overdosed on her pain medication. It is unclear if it was an accident or suicide. Eleanor was buried at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Eleaor and Zasu Pitts in So's Your Aunt Helen

Emma Counts Zasu PittsEleanor Counts