Madge Bellamy

Madge Bellamy

Birth
Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas, USA
Death 24 Jan 1990 (aged 90)
Upland, San Bernardino County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Vale of Memory
Memorial ID 11562973 · View Source
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Actress. She was an American stage and film actress who was a popular leading lady in the 1920s and early 1930s. Her career declined in the sound era, and ended following a romantic scandal in the 1940s. She was born Margaret Derden Philpott in Hillsboro, Texas in 1899 to William Bledsoe and Annie Margaret (née Derden) Philpott. Bellamy was raised in San Antonio, Texas until she was 6 years old, and the family later moved to Brownwood, Texas, where her father worked as an English professor at Texas A&M University. The Philpotts later moved to Denver, Colorado. As a child, she took dancing lessons and soon began to aspire to become a stage performer. She made her stage debut dancing in a local production of Aida, at the age of 9. Shortly before she was to graduate from high school, Bellamy left home for New York City. She soon began working as a dancer on Broadway. After appearing in the chorus of The Love Mill (1917), she decided to try acting. In 1918, she appeared in a touring production of Pollyanna for which she received good reviews. Her big break came 1919 when she replaced Helen Hayes in the Broadway production of Dear Brutus opposite William Gillette, in 1918. Bellamy also appeared in the touring production of Dear Brutus. While appearing in Dear Brutus, Bellamy was cast in a supporting role in her first film The Riddle: Woman (1920), starring Geraldine Farrar. After the tour of Dear Brutus ended, she joined a stock company in Washington D. C. where she appeared in Peg o' My Heart. While a member of the company, Bellamy shot a screen test for director Thomas H. Ince. In November 1920, she signed a three-year contract with Ince's newly formed Triangle Film Corporation. Her first film for Triangle was 1921's The Cup of Life, starring Hobart Bosworth. By the early 1940s, Bellamy's career had virtually ended. She garnered considerable media attention when, on January 20, 1943, she was arrested in San Francisco and charged with assault with a deadly weapon after firing a .32 caliber revolver at her former lover, wealthy lumber executive Albert Stanwood Murphy, three times. Bellamy had been having an affair with Murphy for five years before he ended the relationship in October 1942. After learning that Murphy had married former model June Almy shortly after their breakup, Bellamy traveled to San Francisco to confront him and "... make him suffer somehow." She later admitted that she waited around Murphy's apartment in the Nob Hill area for four days. She eventually spotted Murphy leaving the Pacific-Union Club on January 20. While Murphy was getting into his car, Bellamy fired three shots at him. She later said, "I wasn't within speaking distance [of Murphy], but he saw me and shouted something I didn't understand. Maybe it was 'don't.' Then I guess I shot at him. He ducked and ran." She fired three times, hitting Murphy's car twice while the third shot missed. Witnesses wrestled the gun out of her hand. Shortly after the shooting, Bellamy claimed that she did not intend to harm Murphy and that she "... just wanted to see him. He wouldn't see me so I took the little gun with me. I had had the little gun so long I thought it was just a toy." She was also quoted as saying, "I only winged him, which is what I meant to do. Believe me, I'm a crack shot". On February 11, 1943, Bellamy pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of violating a gun law and was given a suspended six-month sentence. She was also sentenced to one year of probation. In July 1943, Bellamy sued Murphy for divorce in Las Vegas claiming that she and Murphy were married by "mutual consent" in April 1941 and had lived as husband and wife up until Murphy ended the relationship. She charged Murphy with "extreme mental cruelty" and asked for both temporary and permanent alimony. In December 1943, Albert Stanwood Murphy asked that the court dismiss the suit, stating that he and Bellamy "are not now and have never been husband and wife". On January 4, 1944, a Nevada court denied Bellamy's divorce suit on the grounds that she and Murphy had never legally been married. One day after Bellamy's divorce case was dismissed, she was awarded a reported six-figure out-of-court settlement from Murphy. The shooting and divorce filing generated publicity for Bellamy, but effectively ended her already fading career. She made her last screen appearance in Northwestern film Northwest Trail in 1945. She returned to the stage in 1946 in the Los Angeles production of Holiday Lady, after which she retired. Her only marriage was to bond broker Logan F. Metcalf. They married in Tijuana on January 24, 1928. They separated four days later. Metcalf filed for divorce claiming that while the two were on honeymoon, Bellamy had refused to speak to him because of his fondness for eating ham and eggs, which she considered "plebeian". Metcalf was granted a divorce on April 25, 1928. By the time Bellamy retired from acting, she had squandered much of her fortune and lost the remaining money during the Depression. In her posthumously published autobiography, A Darling of the Twenties, Bellamy claimed that she lived in "abject poverty" after her retirement. She did, however, have some holdings in real estate and owned a retail shop in which she worked to support herself. In her spare time, she wrote screenplays and novels which were never purchased. In the early 1980s, she sold the retail shop for double the amount she had paid for it and lived in relative financial comfort for the rest of her life. Bellamy remained out of public view until the 1980s when film historians and silent film fans who had rediscovered her work began requesting interviews. She also began attending screenings of the low budget horror film White Zombie, which was a moderate success upon its initial release and has since become a cult classic. Her autobiography, A Darling of the Twenties, was published one month after her death.

Bio courtesy of: Wikipedia


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: MECC
  • Added: 18 Aug 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11562973
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Madge Bellamy (30 Jun 1899–24 Jan 1990), Find a Grave Memorial no. 11562973, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .