Lilyan Tashman

Active - 1921 - 1935  |   Born - Oct 23, 1900   |   Died - Mar 21, 1934   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American stage and screen actress Lilyan Tashman was one of the most enjoyable -- and most tragic -- participants in Hollywood's early-talkie era. In films since 1921, Tashman contributed sleekly sophisticated performances in such silents as Manhandled (1924) and Don't Tell the Wife (1929), but didn't truly come into her own until her first sound film, New York Nights (1929). For the next five years, the blond, statuesque, flashing-eyed Tashman became one of Hollywood's best "bad girls," using up men like tissue paper, employing her wiles in any and every means possible to adorn herself with creature comforts, and letting the audience know that she considered sex as a pleasurable recreation rather than a grim necessity of life. Even when playing the instigator of a killing spree in Murder by the Clock 19(31), Tashman was impossible to dislike. She was at her most effective in a brief series of costarring stints with actress Kay Francis, especially in Girls About Town (1931), wherein she and Francis played the two most craven golddiggers in all of Manhattan. Alas, shortly after completing her last film Riptide (1934), Tashman died at age 33, the victim of a cancerous tumor. It is probable that, had she not passed away, Lilyan Tashman would have had a severe career setback after the establishment of Hollywood Production Code, which effectively eliminated the sort of delightfully debauched vixens whichTashman so deftly portrayed.

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