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Subject: Well, sticking with the subject, this reminded me of the young, now little-known, ill-fated Hollywood couple, actress Peggy Shannon and her husband film cameraman Al Roberts, who died weeks apart in 1941. ...

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Date Posted: Thursday, September 12, 05:13:16am
In reply to: TOBY 's message, "Slow news day...notable couple that died in a very short period time of each other?" on Tuesday, September 10, 07:54:25am

...Pretty redheaded actress Peggy Shannon, hers was one of Hollywood's sadder "hard luck stories". Born Winona Sammon in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, she was inspired to become a perfomer by child star Madge Evans. She traveled to New York in 1923 and soon landed spots as a chorus girl in the Ziegfeld "Follies" and Earl Carroll "Vanities" revues. Venturing into light comedy, she appeared in several Broadway plays between 1926 and 1930; none were hits, though her looks and party girl reputation netted her much publicity. She married actor Alan Davis in 1926. In 1931, Paramount Pictures brought Shannon to Hollywood as a threat to their star Clara Bow, who hated talkies and was becoming increasingly unreliable. Two days after her arrival, Bow suffered a nervous breakdown and Shannon was rushed to replace her in the feature "The Secret Call" (1931). The studio then began promoting her as "The New 'It' Girl", unwisely, as it turned out. Bow's fans resented the comparison and Shannon, whose acting skills were limited, never really caught on with moviegoers. Within a year she was freelancing in B pictures. Her attempt at a Broadway comeback in "Page Miss Glory" (1934) was overshadowed by a newcomer named James Stewart, who played her boyfriend.

Frustrated with her career and with her failing marriage to Davis (they eventually divorced in 1939), Shannon began drinking heavily and was relegated to uncredited bits in such films as "The Case of the Lucky Legs" (1935), "Girls on Probation" (1938), "The Women" (1939), and "Cafe Hostess" (1940). Devotees of "Our Gang" remember her for playing Mickey's mother in the shorts "Dad for a Day" (1939) and "All About Hash" (1940).

In 1940 she married sometime cameraman Albert G. Roberts, another Tinsletown fringe-dweller. One day Roberts returned from a hunting trip to find Shannon dead in their apartment, slumped over the kitchen table with a cigarette still in her mouth and an empty glass at her side. An autopsy revealed that the actress died of a heart attack and had been suffering from advanced liver disease. She was only 31. Her husband arranged to have her interred at Hollywood Memorial Park under the epitaph, "That Red Headed Girl". Ö

Less than three weeks later, on Memorial Day, Albert Roberts visits his wifeís grave for the last time. He returns home and makes a phone call to his sister, Mrs. Phoebe Genereaux of Glendale. ďIím going to kill myself,Ē he tells her. ďDonít do itódonít do it!Ē she replies. She then hears a gunshot, and Robertsí dog begins to howl. He had killed himself with a .22 rifle, sitting in the same chair in which Peggy had died a few weeks earlier. His suicide note reads, "I am very much in love with my wife, Peggy Shannon. In this spot she passed away, so in reverence to her, you will find me in the same spot." Al Roberts was only 38.

In a final melancholy twist, Roberts' family buried him not beside his beloved wife Peggy, but at Forest Lawn in Glendale, just 10 miles away. Ö

Link Ö

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Reminds me of 1930s actor Ross Alexander, who was so grief stricken over the rifle suicide of his wife actress Aleta Freel, that a little over a year later, Alexander shot himself in the head on the property of their home. ...Reportedly he used the same rifle to kill himsef.Friday, September 13, 11:37:53pm

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