Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #005486: HELEN WALKER

Highly scarce vintage blue ballpoint pen signature on a 4 x 5.5-inch light pink album page, showing the shakiness of her arm, post-tragic car accident, acquired in-person in Hollywood, California in 1948, the year ballpoint pen was introduced. A semi-circular stain to the bottom area, well away from the writing, which can easily be trimmed away or matted out; otherwise, in good condition, with a rare autograph of actor Mark Stevens on the verso. Note that the image of the star shown here alongside the scan of the autograph is not included. After making her bones as a model and on the Broadway stage, gorgeous leading lady Helen Walker 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 to be: 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 serious injuries. 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.