Charles Farrell

Charles Farrell

Walpole, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 6 May 1990 (aged 89)
Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, USA
Burial Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, USA
Plot Section 10-3, Lot F
Memorial ID 1325 · View Source
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Actor, Businessman. He was a popular Hollywood leading man, first silent and then early talkie movies. By the end of the 30's, Farrell's star diminished but in 1938, he with several partners founded the fabled Hollywood Racquet Club which became the watering hole of the stars in Palm Springs that took a dusty, hot little town where no one ever ventured to a place of prosperity, plush development and the winter home of movie stars and famous people of every description including Presidents. His success with the club also resurrected his career with the popular TV sitcom "My Little Margie" where he costarred with Gale Storm. The series was aired shortly after his election as the fifth mayor of Palm Springs to a six year term. The successful show made Charles Farrell the best-known mayor in the entire country. Soon, he would also headline an alternate TV series, the long running "Charlie Farrell Show" a sitcom which was virtually a national commercial for Palm Springs and his Racquet Club. He was born in South Walpole, Massachusetts, the only son of David and Estelle Farrell. The family moved to South Walpole where he became a student at Boyden Elementary school. His father operated a lunch counter-newsstand in South Walpole with a large room above where they showed silent films in the evening, probably the source of Charlie's aspiration to become an actor. His time after school was spent working in the families enterprises. He swept the floors, set up the seats and prepared the tickets for each night's show in the upstairs Theatre then worked as a waiter and dishwasher in the restaurant. After graduating from Walpole High School he enrolled at Boston University pursuing business administration an endeavor which lasted only a few years after being forced to drop out due to poor grades. Once on his own, the lure of a movie career attracted him to Hollywood, now in full production making silent movies. He found work appearing in bit parts and as an extra in Mac Sennett films. Fox Studios signed him to a contract and paired him with Janet Gaynor, the couple became known as "America's Favorite Love birds." The duo made many romantic dramas... silent films "Seventh Heaven" "Sunrise" and "Street Angel." They survived the demise of silent films and reemerged in the talkies with success in several musicals..."Sunny Side Up" "Delicious" and "Tess of the Storm Country." They would make twelve movies together. Farrell would simply fade away, his movie appeal gone but would find new life during the 50's as an actor in the fledgling new medium of television. He served in the Navy during World War II. Farrell sold his interest in the club, whoever his wife Virginia would die in 1968 and he withdrew becoming a virtual recluse for the rest of his life. Upon his death no notice appeared announcing the event. He was buried directly at Wellwood Murray cemetery with no fanfare beside his wife, former film actress Virginia Valli. His death and burial was unknown until some weeks later. Legacy...When Farrell died in May 1990 at age 88 he was deemed a founder of Palm Springs. He had already witnessed the demise of his Racquet Club and seen the proliferation of the city. The population flow in the Coachella Valley was toward communities other than Palm Springs, to Palm Desert, Indian Wells and Quinta. Celebrities now had private tennis courts and swimming pools at their homes and had no need for a club. In the heyday of the club, stars flocked to play tennis on the club courts, eat at the famous Bamboo Lounge and stay in the hideaway bungalows. Among the regulars...Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogard (Farrell's vocal coach prior to fame) Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe. Today, Farrell's Racquet Club along with its famous Bamboo Lounge where the Bloody Mary was conceived and sported four inscribed bar stools reserved for Clark Gable, William Powell, Spencer Tracy and of course Charles Farrell has been resurrected and reopened. Some other landmarks have also been refurbished and preserved. The famous Clark Gable Bridge still remains which still leads to the group of cottages each with the name of their former famous occupants. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to television and is also honored with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame and one can see it on the west side of Palm Canyon Drive between Tahquitz and Arenas. Palm Springs has a history of naming city streets after popular actors. The tradition started with Charles Farrell. Farrell Drive runs through the residential area of the city. Its roadbed is historic as the street was constructed over the tracks of a narrow gauge railway which existed to serve an early agricultural development called Palm Valley.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1325
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Farrell (9 Aug 1900–6 May 1990), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1325, citing Welwood Murray Cemetery, Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .