Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #005486: HELEN WALKER

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Scarce vintage inscribed signature in fountain pen on a 3x5-inch pale grey autograph album page, acquired in-person in the early 1940s.  Some gentle creases and flecks of soiling, but, overall, in fairly good condition.  After making her bones on the Broadway stage, the gorgeous leading lady made her film debut in Lucky Jordan (1942), opposite Alan Ladd.  Walker seemed poised for stardom, displaying considerable talent in offbeat gems like The Man in Half Moon Street (1945), Brewster's Millions (1945) and Murder, He Says (1945).  Alas, it wasn't in the stars:  On New Year's Eve of 1946, she picked up three hitchhiking World War II veterans while driving to Los Angeles from her vacation home in Palm Springs.  The four were in a terrible accident, hitting a divider and flipping over several times, wrecking the car.  One of the soldiers died and the other two were severely injured.  The actress herself suffered a broken pelvis.  During an infamous trial, the survivors accused her of drunken driving and speeding, and, although she was acquitted, she was ostracized by the public and no major studio would have her.  Walker tried to adapt by portraying ruthless and manipulative women in dark murder mysteries, memorable in Nightmare Alley (1947), the gritty urban police flick Call Northside 777 (1948) and the unconventional Impact (1949).  Despite strong performances in all, she could not overcome the stigma of the veteran's death and, by the 1950s, she was increasingly relegated to low-budget films that received little notice.  In 1968, long out of work and living in obscurity, Walker died of cancer, aged only 47.  Her autograph is extremely elusive in any format.