Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #001203: DOROTHY DELL

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Beyond rare vintage inscribed pencil signature on an irregularly-trimmed 3x4-inch portion of a pale green autograph album page, acquired in-person by inveterate collector Joe Walsh, probably in 1933.  Accompanied by a small image.  In good condition, beyond the odd trimming, and absolutely impossible to find in any format, this being the third example we have encountered in 30 years.  The last one was a signed 8x10 which sold for $500.00!  Gorgeous Southern belle Dorothy Dell, who was a descendent of Jefferson Davis on her mother's side, began her career as a model, winning a long string of beauty pageants, including Miss New Orleans.  During a singing stint on the vaudeville stage with her good friend Dorothy Lamour, she was discovered by Florenz Zeigfeld, who cast her in his famous Follies.  Around that time, rumors began to circulate of a tryst with bandleader Russ Columbo.  In 1933, she was signed to a contract by Paramount Studios, beating out Isabell Jewell and Mae Clarke for the starring role in Wharf Angel (1934) and, after favorable reviews, was cast alongside Shirley Temple in LIttle Miss Marker (1934) and Mae West in Shoot the Works (1934).  On June 7th, 1934, at a party, at which she glistened and dazzled, with the world at her feet, the actress mused, "You know, they say deaths go in cycles of three. First it was Lilyan Tashman, then Lew Cody.  I wonder who'll be next?"  The following day, she was killed in a tragic automobile accident when her date's car crashed into a telephone pole.  She was just 19 years old.  At the time, she had been filming Now and Forever (1934) with Shirley Temple and Cary Grant.  The news was withheld from Shirley, so as to not to upset her, until it was time for a crying scene-- Then she was deliberately told, eliciting very authentic tears.