Eleanor Boardman

Active - 1923 - 1962  |   Born - Aug 19, 1898   |   Died - Dec 12, 1991   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

After graduation from Philadelphia's Academy of Fine Arts, Eleanor Boardman went to New York, where she became a photographer's model. Her best work was as "The Kodak Girl" for the Eastman company in the late 'teens. An attempt to become a stage actress came to naught when Eleanor came down with laryngitis. Thanks to her Kodak ads, she was brought to Hollywood as a contractee for the Goldwyn studios. When Goldwyn was absorbed into MGM, Boardman became one of that studio's earliest, busiest and most popular leading ladies. Accustomed to glamourous, sophisticated roles, Eleanor balked when she was asked in 1928 by then-husband King Vidor to appear as the plain, tenement dwelling housewife in Vidor's The Crowd. She acceded to his wishes, and the result was one of the actress' finest performances (and certainly her most memorable). She managed to survive the switchover to talkies with good roles in such films as The Great Meadow (1931) and The Squaw Man (1931), but her MGM contract was terminated as the result of an economy drive. She moved to Europe, where she married director Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast. Eleanor's final film was the multinational (and multilingual) d'Arrast project The Three-Cornered Hat (1936). Eleanor Boardman spent the last four decades of her life in wealthy retirement in Montecito, an upper-class suburb of San Bernardino, California.

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