Helene Costello

Helene Costello

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 26 Jan 1957 (aged 50)
San Bernardino, San Bernardino County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Memorial ID 5898800 · View Source
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Actress. She was brought to the screen at age three by her father, matinee idol Maurice Costello, and played juvenile roles in over 60 films, including "Cleopatra" (1912), "Beau Brummel" (1913), and "A Christmas Story" (1913). In many of these she appeared with her sister, Dolores Costello. After World War I the sisters formed a dance duet that culminated in a featured spot on Broadway's "George White's Scandals" of 1924. The following year they went to Hollywood under contract to Warner Bros., where their personal and professional lives took different turns. While Dolores was a classic beauty, Helene projected an earthy, contemporary quality. She scored her first big adult role opposite her future brother-in-law, John Barrymore, in "Don Juan" (1926), but audiences liked her better as a Jazz Age flapper in films like "The Love Toy" (1926), "Husbands for Rent" (1927), and "Good Time Charley" (1927). She was named a "WAMPAS Baby Star" in 1927. Helene had the female lead in the first "100% All-Talking Picture", "Lights of New York" (1928), but was unhappy with sound. In 1930 she retired to marry actor-director Lowell Sherman, who was nearly 20 years her senior. The relationship was a disaster and their very public 1932 divorce was one of the nastiest of its day, with the estranged couple hurling insults and charges of domestic abuse, alcoholism, and kinky behavior at each other in open court. The humiliating spectacle made front page news in Tinseltown and dashed Helene's hopes for a career comeback. The rest of her life played out in the tabloids, with another failed marriage, family feuds, and frequent hospitalizations stemming from her alcohol and later heroin addictions. For a time she was employed as a script reader at Fox, but in 1947 she was declared destitute and went to live with her aged father at the Motion Picture Country Home. She died of pneumonia and tuberculosis at the Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, California, where she had gone in a futile attempt at drug rehabilitation. There were so few mourners at her funeral that journalists covering the story were asked to serve as pallbearers. Helene's is the only unmarked grave in the Costello family plot at Calvary Cemetery.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Deirdre Le Blanc
  • Added: 27 Oct 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5898800
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Helene Costello (21 Jun 1906–26 Jan 1957), Find a Grave Memorial no. 5898800, citing Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .