A stunning actress and a brilliant star on the stage, Mary Astor’s immense talent hid a painful, messy private life. Despite her obvious gift for acting, Astor tried to shy away from the spotlight…and there were some unsettling reasons for that. From her dysfunctional family to her secret, ruinous affair, let’s dig into the secret life of Mary Astor.
Mary Astor Facts
1. Her Parents Were Control Freaks
Mary Astor didn’t exactly have a happy home life. Her controlling parents pushed her into teen beauty contests and stringent piano lessons in the hopes she would become a star. They even moved the whole family over to New York City so their daughter could try her hand at drama. It was a lot of pressure for a little girl…and as we’ll see, it had disastrous consequences.
2. She Was Hauntingly Beautiful
As it turns out, Astor’s horrible parents were still spot-on about their daughter’s star potential. Nicknamed “Rusty” after her long red hair, Astor grew into a hauntingly beautiful woman with large, sad eyes. Astor also developed early, turning tall long before her classmates, so much so that it seemed like she was never a child. Oh, but she very much was.
3. She Got “Discovered”
Mary Astor’s origin story is right out of the Old Hollywood starlet playbook. When Astor was only around 16 years old, famed photographer Charles Albin saw her walking down the street in Manhattan and knew he had to snap a photo of her. It was a date with destiny. Albin’s headshots made their way to the desk of Famous Players-Lasky Studio, who immediately signed her on.
As it turned out, though, this was no fairy tale.
4. Her Name Was Completely Different
Astor might have been beautiful enough to catch the eye of Hollywood, but she had to undergo a transformation to keep Tinseltown’s interest. In a meeting the young girl wasn’t even invited to, studio heads changed her name from the “cumbersome” Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke to the pert “Mary Astor” we know today. Well, thanks, guys.
It was probably an unsettling welcome for the teenage girl, yet she had more disturbances to come.
5. Her Mother Was Jealous
Astor’s mother had always wanted to be a famous actress herself, so you’d think seeing her daughter on the cusp of becoming one would have been heartwarming for the matron. Nothing could be further from the truth. Helen Marie de Vasconcellos only tightened her controlling grip more on her young daughter, insisting on chaperoning her everywhere. And that wasn’t all.
6. She Was Her Parents’ Pet
Astor’s parents lorded over every single detail of their daughter’s life. Her mother accompanied her to set and would constantly re-tweak her makeup and costumes, while at home her father would open all of the letters she received. The poor girl wasn’t even allowed to send her own letters, let alone leave her house solo. This did not go well.
7. She Got An Embarrassing Rejection
At first, Astor let her parents suffocate her without complaint. It came with a high cost. Early on in her career, the legendary Lillian Gish took a shine to the starlet and screen-tested her for director D.W. Griffith. Although Astor was incandescent, Griffith took one look at her father and rejected her, warning, “The man’s a walking cash register. I’ll never be able to develop the daughter into an actress with the father around.”
Sadly, it got much worse before it got better.
8. Her Parents Kept Her Prisoner
Eventually, Astor became a successful starlet—no thanks to her parents—and started pulling in big bucks. This, however, was its own kind of curse. After all, it was her good-for-nothing parents who had full control of her salary, and they had no qualms about spending it on themselves, buying an enormous mansion and keeping her as a virtual prisoner in it.
With a film career most girls could only dream of, it was hell on Earth for Mary Astor. So when she rebelled, she rebelled HARD.
9. A Legend Fell In Lust With Her
In 1924, Astor’s beauty snagged her a big film. The debonair veteran actor John Barrymore caught sight of Astor in a photograph and demanded that she star alongside him in his upcoming silent film Beau Brummell. Charismatic and talented, Barrymore took Astor under his wing, giving her career a much-needed boost. But that wasn’t all he did.
10. Her Co-Star Seduced Her
In the timeworn tradition of creeps everywhere, the 40-year-old Barrymore wasted no time on set trying to woo his new, nubile co-star—after all, the stage icon had a notorious reputation around Hollywood as a boozy philanderer. Ever the smooth-talker, Barrymore told the teenaged Astor that she was so beautiful she made him “feel faint!” Astor’s response? Well…
11. She Was In A May-December Romance
Poor Mary Astor was only 17 years old, and had barely been let out of her own house at this point. So, of course, the naive teenager fell head over heels for Barrymore. There was just one huge problem. There was no way on God’s green Earth her strict parents were going to be letting a tryst happen. Instead, Barrymore and Astor had to come up with a scandalous plan.
12. She Had A Secret Engagement
In order to get around her parents’ (totally valid) concerns, Barrymore set up “private lessons” for him to “teach” Astor and improve her “craft.” In other words, they used this alone time to thoroughly boink each other from here to Shanghai, and soon got engaged on the down-low. Still, trouble was already showing up in Paradise.
13. She Had A Romeo And Juliet Story
In taking up with John Barrymore, Astor earned herself a shred of independence, but not her full freedom. Her parents still constantly meddled in her life, and she and Barrymore were reduced to setting up secret communiques months apart. Worst of all, Barrymore knew Astor would never work up the courage to truly defy her parents and marry him. It all ended in heartbreak.
14. Her First Relationship Was Doomed
Unable to stand his girlfriend’s family, Barrymore dealt Astor a cruel betrayal. Eventually, his eye started to wander right over to Astor’s fellow starlet, Dolores Costello. Nicknamed “The Goddess of the Silent Screen,” Costello soon owned Barrymore’s whole heart. He married her in 1928, discarding Astor along the way. Ouch. But that’s when Astor really broke free.
15. She Ran Away From Home
Mary Astor squarely blamed her controlling parents for the breakup, and her bitterness made her lash out at them in a big way. She became a passionate party-goer, running away multiple times to attend Hollywood soirees, even if it meant escaping out of her bedroom window. And then she took drastic measures to take back control of her life.
16. She Fired Her Parents
Astor wasn’t playing games anymore, and she kicked her parents right to the curb. She hired a maid to be her assistant on set, not her mother, and barred her father from negotiating on any more of her film contracts. Then she twisted the knife in: At 26 years old, she demanded full control of her salary. To Astor’s shock, her parents got brutal revenge.
17. She Was In A Bitter Court Battle
Without a source of income, and saddled with a very expensive mansion, Astor’s parents sued their famous daughter for financial support. Disgusted but ready to be done with it, Astor eventually settled out of court, agreeing to pay her folks a paltry $100 per month if they’d stay out of her business. It was supposed to be a fresh start, but it wasn’t a smooth ride.
18. The Studios Insulted Her
As the silent movie era ended, and the age of the talkies began, Astor found herself in deep trouble. The studio brought her in for a sound test, and it quickly turned into a disaster. While her face was as gorgeous as ever, they found her naturally deep voice “masculine” and “hollow,” and put her out of work for 10 long months. But by this time, Astor had other things on her mind.
19. She Got A Lavish Wedding Gift
In 1928, Mary Astor sealed her new independence by getting married to director Kenneth Hawks, whom she had only known for a year. By all accounts, he was a gentle, upstanding man, and he doted on Astor, even giving her a car as a wedding gift. For her part, Astor had nothing but love and respect for him—which made her next move a strange one.
20. She Had Specific Bedroom Tastes
While Hawks was a financial and emotional rock for Astor, they were hiding a big secret behind bedroom doors. Their intimate life was far too boring and stilted for Astor, who, after all, had gotten her “education” from the very senior lover John Barrymore. She tried to be a good little girl and wife for a few months, but the wheels came off quickly.
21. She Was Unfaithful
Mary Astor later confessed that she wasn’t exactly faithful during her marriage to Kenneth Hawks, and she struck up an affair soon after tying the knot. The really scandalous part? Even years after the fact, Astor refused to name the mystery lover who managed to seduce her from her marriage bed. Then again, she had one very illicit reason to keep him secret…
22. She Had A Secret Love Child
Less than two years into her marriage to Kenneth Hawks, Astor made a disturbing discovery. She was pregnant, and not with her husband’s child. In fact, given just how little bedroom relations they had been having, there was no way she could even hope to pass off the baby as his. Instead, the young starlet had a hush-hush abortion and tried to mend the error of her ways.
Fate, however, had other plans.
23. Her Marriage Ended In Tragedy
On January 2, 1930, Kenneth Hawks was directing an aerial scene for his upcoming film Such Men Are Dangerous. Suddenly, two of the planes met in a mid-air collision, and both aircraft plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, taking the lives of everyone on board—including Hawks—in what was called “the worst air accident in film history.”
24. She Went Underground
When Mary Astor got the grim tidings, she received the news in the worst way possible. She had just finished up a matinee performance on stage when her friend, actress Florence Eldridge, told her about the crash. Aides immediately swept a shell-shocked Astor away from the play, and she holed up in Eldridge’s apartment for days. When she came out, though, it somehow got worse.
25. She Buried Herself In Work
Although clearly traumatized by the loss of her husband, Mary Astor became an eerie, frozen picture of normalcy when she emerged from that apartment. Acting as if nothing was wrong, she buried herself in work, staging show after show and even starring in her first talkie, Ladies Love Brutes, in the same year. Astor thought she could outrun her pain…but it came back to haunt her.
26. She Had A Nervous Breakdown
When the horror of what had happened to Kenneth Hawks finally caught up to Mary Astor, it was an utter catastrophe. She had bottled it all up so deeply, that when it emerged it nearly destroyed her, causing her to suffer a full-blown nervous breakdown and putting her out of film roles for months. Clearly, Mary Astor needed a break. Except she didn’t actually get one.
27. She Had A Freudian Romance
While in the throes of her illness, Astor fell under the care of the dashing, handsome Doctor Franklyn Thorpe. If you’re getting a sense of unease here, well, follow that feeling. In a move that would have made Sigmund Freud shake his head, Astor soon became infatuated with the good doctor, and married him in 1931. Yes, this was a big YIKES.
28. She Was In A Power Couple
To be fair, Thorpe and Astor had some things in common: Both had demanding careers, as well as high expectations of themselves and others. In 1932, they also had a daughter named Marylyn together, which could have only drawn them closer for a time. Astor even briefly considered quitting the screen and settling down as a doctor’s wife.
Except when things fell apart with them, they got very nasty, very fast.
29. Her Husband Was Violent
As it happens, having an uber critical husband isn’t much of a happily ever after. By 1933, Astor was worn thin with Thorpe’s constant listing of her flaws. Even more alarmingly, he was easily annoyed by their daughter Marylyn and had started to shake her so hard that “her teeth rattled.” That, however, was just their home life…
30. Her Marriage Was A Sham
Besides being less than a Prince Charming inside their house, Astor also claimed that Thorpe had no fewer than four affairs over the course of their marriage, and had also neglected to inform her that he had been married before. It was all too much for the actress to take, and she demanded a divorce and took him to court. That’s when her husband showed his sinister true colors.
31. Her Divorce Got Nasty
During the divorce proceedings, Mary Astor presented her evidence for why Dr. Thorpe was The World’s Worst Husband, but her ex-lover bit back—hard. Instead of admitting to any philandering himself, Thorpe turned the tables on Astor and claimed she was the one hiding ruinous secrets. More than that, he said he could prove it “in her own handwriting.” And oh, he could.
32. She Made A Private Confession
See, during the dissolution of their marriage, Thorpe had got his grubby little hands on Astor’s private diary. Its contents nearly destroyed her. In the slim book, Astor spilled the beans about a hot and heavy tryst she had with the playwright George S. Kaufman just after she had informally split with Thorpe. Thorpe saw his opportunity, and he pounced.
33. She Was An “Unfit Mother”
According to Thorpe, the confessions in Astor’s diary—plus the other liaisons he was sure she was having—were enough to show that she was an unfit mother to little Marylyn, and that he should get custody of their daughter. The thing is, Thorpe never actually showed this diary in court, but he sure as heck mentioned it a lot. Soon enough, trouble started brewing.
34. She Became A Tabloid Sensation
A Hollywood divorce was already big tabloid fodder, and the addition of a secret and mysterious diary was too much for gossip hounds to ignore. Once the news about Kaufman went to the press, the papers jumped on Astor’s personal strife. After that, unfounded stories of her bedroom romps only grew larger, until they hit a notorious apex.
35. Karma Came For Her Ex-Husband
Take note: Cheaters never prosper. Although Thorpe wanted to destroy Astor, he only made her stronger. A judge deemed the diary inadmissible in the custody battle for Marylyn, and threw it out of court. As a result, Thorpe was unable to build his case, and Astor received majority custody of Marylyn, all while her career got a fresh wave of interest. Take that, fool.
36. She Destroyed Incriminating Evidence
Although Astor’s diary scandal set the world alight, today we know the grim truth. In an act of supreme vengeance, Thorpe likely faked most of Astor’s supposed “confessions,” though Astor did confirm her dalliance with Kaufman. Still, if there was any shred of truth to his claims, we’ll never know: The courts sealed the diary in the 1930s and destroyed it in 1952.
The thing is, Mary Astor’s scandals were just getting started.
37. She Took A Foreign Lover
Mary Astor couldn’t stay away from trouble for long, and in 1935 she really got herself in it. That year, she met the devastatingly handsome Manuel del Campo, a British-Mexican film editor and aspiring actor. Astor found him “kind and decent,” and a little exciting too, with his British accent, mixed heritage, and love of adventure. In other words, it was time for Astor to do something supremely misguided again.
38. She Kept Her Wedding Secret
In a case of history repeating itself, Astor and del Campo got secretly engaged and then married just a year after meeting. Seriously, the union was so confidential that his own parents didn’t know about it, much less hers. In due time, the two had a son named Anthony “Tono” del Campo together…but the addition of a new family member didn’t turn del Campo into a family man overnight.
39. Her Third Husband Was A Playboy
Del Campo would rather spend his days partying in nightclubs with other women than cleaning up baby spit, all while Astor was waking up at the crack of dawn for early film calls. It led to a dreary fate. His enlistment into the Air Force was the final nail in the coffin for their relationship. The pair split in 1941, with del Campo barely seeing his son or ex-wife afterward.
40. She Rewrote An Entire Film
Eventually, Mary Astor grew confident in her abilities—and when she did, watch the heck out. While portraying a concert pianist in the 1941 film The Great Lie, Astor realized she hated the schlocky material. A perfectionist until the end, she and her co-star Bette Davis tweaked the script. It paid off big time, earning Astor an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
41. She Had A Hidden Talent
Obviously, Astor’s background as a pianist came in handy in The Great Lie. Or at least, it should have. Sadly, her piano playing was actually dubbed over—but she still “played” so convincingly that no one could believe it. As Davis once proudly said, “These concert scenes of Mary’s were the most believable ever seen on screen—because she really was a pianist par excellence.”
42. Her Father Believed A Lie
After The Great Lie came out, Mary Astor gave her father a heartbreaking gift. Although their relationship was complicated, to say the least, she took her old man to see the movie shortly before his passing. When he watched it, the patriarch actually thought his little girl really was playing the piano, and was proud of her at long last.
43. Her Fourth Marriage Was Loveless
With a string of incredibly dysfunctional relationships behind her, Mary Astor thought she had it all figured out by the 1940s, and settled down into yet another marriage with the military man Thomas Gordon Wheelock. He was loyal and dependable, and everything Astor thought she needed. Except for one thing: She didn’t love him in the slightest. And when it rains, it pours.
44. She Got A Depressing Nickname
In the early 1940s, Astor’s luck sadly ran out. Though she was only in her mid-30s, studios began to relegate her to the “mom” roles, including most famously in 1944’s Meet Me in St. Louis. In a further indignity, soon almost every young actor on the studio lot nicknamed her “Mom.” Ah, the name every woman wants to hear.
45. She Gave Up On Love
In 1955, unable to get over her lack of passion, Mary Astor officially divorced Thomas Wheelock after 10 lukewarm years of marriage. It was her romantic swan song: She gave up on love entirely after that and never married again. Instead, the star fell into isolation, suffering from severe insomnia and nerves. Then, her biggest inner demon reared its ugly head.
46. She Had A Huge Addiction
Throughout her years in Hollywood, Astor had always liked a drink, but it had never affected her work before. Well, that all changed in the blink of an eye. Her troubled relationships took their toll, and she took a hiatus from acting, steadily drinking more each day while falling further into debt. Eventually, she needed to apply to the Motion Picture Relief Fund to buy groceries.
47. She Was The First Femme Fatale
One of Astor’s most famous roles was as Brigid O’Shaughnessy in the film The Maltese Falcon, where the starlet set the mold for the “femme fatale” stereotype. Astor played up the character’s nervousness and vulnerability, going so far as to hyperventilate before her scenes started to sound breathless and desperate for help. Clever girl.
48. She Thought She Was Stupid
Astor’s family life took a bigger toll on her than most people even knew. Despite being an avid reader of history books and a lover of classical music, she never felt smart enough or capable enough—after all, her parents were always treating her like a baby. Soon enough, her fellow actors noticed her low self-esteem, and one took advantage of it in an unsettling way.
49. Humphrey Bogart Negged Her
While filming The Maltese Falcon opposite Humphrey Bogart, the noir heartthrob apparently noticed Astor’s nerves. His response was the definition of gross. In a misguided attempt to give her a boost, Bogie consoled her, “So you’re not very smart, but you know it, and what’s the matter with that? Be yourself.” Umm. Thanks?
50. She Lost Her Passion
Hard up for cash, Astor transitioned over to early live television later in her career. While she featured in plenty of big-name shows, the depressive star couldn’t keep up with the fast-paced schedule. Dressing up became “too much trouble,” and even going on set was a bother. Still, this finally pushed her to do something that she always wanted to do.
51. She Loved To Read
Astor had an active imagination, and this worked hand-in-hand with her love of reading—she even liked to read the labels on medicine bottles if there were any lying around. Everywhere she went, Astro’s first thought was to look around for reading materials, and it helped shape her emerging talents as a writer. Soon, she began a new chapter of her life.
52. She Had A Surprising Skill
In 1959, Astor published her memoir, My Story: An Autobiography, which became a bestseller. She chronicled a lifetime of experiences in the tome, speaking frankly about her troubled past and revealing intimate details about her relationship with her parents, her many affairs and marriages…and, as we’ll soon see, one more surprising revelation.
53. She Kissed Clark Gable
Mary Astor wasn’t shy about revealing the tips and tricks of the film trade. In her second book, A Life on Film, she revealed that movie scenes depicting spontaneous moments of romance were definitely not spontaneous, and the hours and hours put into making sure the scene played out just so made them far from romantic to shoot.
In one instance, after all the prep needed to make a love scene with Clark Gable work, Astor could barely remember what it was like to kiss him.
54. A Temper Tantrum Won Her A Role
During a game of golf with some big wigs at Paramount Studios, Mary Astor took a swing and completely missed her shot. Her reaction was legendary. Angry, Astor let her temper loose. However, this actually convinced the studio heads that she would be the perfect person to play the tough-as-nails saloon owner Fritzi Haller in the upcoming Desert Fury. Guess it pays to be true to yourself.
55. She Took Her Work Home
Astor loved her role as Fritzi, and had trouble getting out of character after a day of shooting. She didn’t realize this until one evening, while at the dinner table, she suddenly snapped “Pass the butter!” in a very Fritzi-like manner. After realizing her mistake, she tried very hard to leave her work on the studio lot.
56. She Was Cruel To Her Staff
Astor’s high expectations extended beyond herself and her family; even her household staff couldn’t escape her critical eye. Regularly finding faults in her hired help, Astor constantly hovered around them as they worked. This didn’t stop some of them from taking her silverware or just complaining about the job—although this only made her fire them more easily.
57. She Was Tough On Her Daughter
Astor’s daughter Marylyn often found herself on the receiving end of Astor’s ire, and the actress loved to “win” all arguments. Marylyn also had the unenviable title of “Mary Astor’s daughter,” which overshadowed her for years. After watching how the film industry ruined her mother in many ways, Marylyn unsurprisingly decided against joining Hollywood herself.
58. She Had A Sense Of Humor
Despite not always listening to her daughter, Astor still found the time to have a bit of fun with Marylyn. The actress had a studio photographer who regularly took pictures of her at home, and after the photographer left, mother and daughter would often go up to the balcony and drop the flashbulbs he left behind, trying to see whose flashbulb would smash the loudest.
59. She Shunned Fame
Above all, Mary Astor wanted financial and job security, not stardom and all the drama that came with being in the spotlight. She regularly took on supporting or featured roles, since there would be a lot less pressure to carry the movie, and she still made a pretty penny for her work on set. All in all, this was one smart cookie.
60. She Hated Charlie Chaplin
For all her meek start, Mary Astor was not afraid to speak her mind by the end. She didn’t like Charlie Chaplin, for one, and thought he “was a bore.” She thought actress Loretta Young “looked like some underwater creature,” and that Louis B. Mayer was a “bossy tyrant.” Astor was done with holding back her opinions, and this extended to her own films…
61. She Mocked Her Own Films
Astor frequently played the damsel-in-distress in her films, and she disdainfully called those who contributed to these movies, including herself, “the hope peddlers. ” She thought these movies were formulaic and dishonest, and hated that they were only out to make a quick buck, making audience members believe that life was full of happy endings.
62. She Was Professional To A Fault
Astor regularly worked from 5:30 AM to midnight, putting pride in being on-time and dependable. She hated the idea of keeping others waiting around, and couldn’t stand actors who were constantly late to set. Astor never let her personal issues, even her drinking, affect what happened in the studio, and was a total pro when it came to filmmaking.
63. She Faked An Accent
During her years with Manuel del Campo, something strange happened to Mary Astor. Like Madonna after her, Astor started to take on a thick British accent in the mode of her then-husband. Somehow, Astor kept the act up for literal years while she was still married to del Campo, though she mercifully dropped it after they divorced.
64. She Had A Famous Feature
When she was young, no one in Hollywood could get over the perfection of Astor’s face, particularly in profile. The smooth curves and jutting angles of her sideways gaze was so famous and iconic, she earned the nickname “The Cameo Girl.”
65. She Was An Ice Queen
In the 1970s, Astor moved into a retirement home, and she was not the social butterfly you might imagine. She took her meals alone in the dining room, monopolizing a little table to herself and speaking as little to the other residents as possible. When people did manage to talk to her, her conversations were often heavy with profanity. What a dame.
66. She Tried To Save Herself
Writing healed Astor like nothing else would, and she eventually stopped drinking entirely. Trading the bottle for the pen allowed Astor to find release through the written word, and she learned to eventually love herself. Astor continued to release more books, and even worked on acting gigs from time to time. Yet her battle was far from over.
67. She Witnessed A Tragedy
Although Astor had quit drinking since she started writing, this healthy streak came to a violent and abrupt end when she watched her Siamese cat meet her end at the hands of a German Shepherd. The trauma caused Astor to take up the bottle once more soon afterward, and she would never completely conquer the habit again. After all, she didn’t have much time left.
68. She Made A Heartbreaking Confession
Although Astor bared a lot of painful memories in her memoir My Story, there was one revelation that shocked readers. Astor admitted she had a deep amount of self-loathing for herself, and that she “would have liked… a nice, quiet release from the life I did not know how to live.” Sadly, she acted on these dark impulses…
69. She Tried To Take Her Own Life
In the 1950s, Astor reached a tragic breaking point and overdosed on sleeping pills. Although she ended up surviving the night and swore it was only an accident, her friends and family knew better than to believe her. Perhaps more heartbreakingly, it wasn’t Astor’s last attempt; later, a family member had to rescue her from a bathtub.
70. She May Have Ranked Her Lovers
Remember the stories that came out about Astor’s diary during her divorce? Well, As Astor’s time in court raged on, the most infamous rumor about her came out. People started to claim that in her diary, besides relating her many affairs in high definition detail, Astor also ranked and scored her Hollywood hunks according to how much pleasure they had given her. It was a forest fire of a scandal, and it was spreading fast.
71. She Almost Got Fired
Unfortunately for the starlet, her acting contract included a morality clause, which meant that Astor had to be in squeaky-clean shape to stay in the movies. The outrage over her affair and the messy divorce almost got her kicked off her next film, Dodsworth, with many campaigning producer Samuel Goldwyn to outright fire her. Instead, the exact opposite happened.
72. Crowds Loved Her
Goldwyn decided to keep her on, and Astor repaid him back tenfold. She held her head high throughout both filming and her court battles, and Dodsworth ended up receiving rave reviews, thanks in part to Astor’s charm. Indeed, when she came on the screen for the first time in the film, audiences would often break out into applause. And the hits kept coming.
73. Her Mother Didn’t Recognize Her
In the 1940s, Astor’s mother was gravely ill and staying at a hospital long-term. She began deteriorating both physically and mentally, and as her condition grew worse, she would often be delirious. When this happened, she would rant and rave about Astor, unable to recognize that the woman by her bed was her own daughter. It didn’t get any better from there.
74. Her Mother Hated Her
Throughout this ordeal, Astor took to copying down her mother’s diary for posterity. That’s when she found the sickening entries. On page after page, Mommy Dearest went on at length about how much she hated her own daughter, despised her choices, and was jealous of her success. Astor was heartbroken, and when her mother finally passed in 1947, the star’s downhill spiral was well on its way.
75. She Went Out On Top
In 1960, Astor received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Shortly after, she made one more movie, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, before turning in her Guild card and retiring for good. Astor lived to the ripe old age of 81, passing on September 25, 1987, during a prolonged stay in hospital. Rest in peace, you brassy broad.