Mary Astor: Biography
Mary Astor, born Lucile Langhanke in Quincy, Illinois in 1906, was an only child. Her father was a high school German teacher.
She was home-schooled and won several beauty contests before becoming a model in New York City.
In 1922, at the age of 16, she appeared in her first credited role in a feature-length silent film for Selznick Pictures. Astor went on to appear in more than 120 feature films through 1964 and received the Academy Award for Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in The Great Lie (1941).
She struggled with alcoholism for most of her life and was committed to a psychiatric hospital in the late 1940s. After emerging, she converted to Roman Catholicism and began to appear as a television series guest star through the early 1960s.
Astor was married four times:
- Kenneth Hawks, film director, 1928-1930. Widowed after her husband perished in a plane crash, she later suffered a nervous breakdown.
- Dr. Franklyn Thorpe, surgeon, 1931-1936, one child, divorced. Thorpe was one of her attending physicians after her mental collapse. They later went through a bitter child custody battle.
- Manuel del Campo, insurance salesman, 1936-1941, one child, divorced.
- Thomas Wheelock, stockbroker, 1945-1955, divorced. During this period, Astor was committed to an alcohol treatment center and attempted suicide several times. She later recounted these events in two best-selling autobiographies.
She died of complications from emphysema in Los Angeles, in 1987, at the age of 81.