MARIE PREVOST

Vintage 10.5 x 14 matte finish black and white full-length studio portrait, boldly signed and inscribed in black fountain pen, “For/Mr. Richardson/my sincere wishes/Marie Prevost/1928.”  Additionally signed in the bottom right corner by photographer Russell Ball in green pencil.  Fine condition, with much of the writing penned against darker areas of the image, but quite readable.  Silent screen glamourpuss Marie Prevost ended up as one of the saddest casualties of the transition to talking pictures. Beginning as a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty, Prevost gradually worked her way up to become one of the most popular leading ladies of the 1920s, starring in scores of films before the coming of sound. Although educated in a Canadian convent, the microphone, alas, revealed a speaking voice more redolent of the Canarsie School of Hard Knocks, and after 1930 she was relegated to smaller and smaller parts, frequently uncredited. Home studio MGM wanted to can her entirely, but Joan Crawford, in an odd and gallant gesture of sympathy, insisted that they keep her under contract and paid Prevost’s salary out of her own earnings. In 1936, at the age of 39, Prevost’s body was discovered, having literally starved herself to death in a desperate effort to recapture the glamour of her heyday. Authentic autographs in virtually any format are extremely scarce.

$450