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Norma Desmond Revisited

Adam Bernstein

Anita Page, probably the last living adult star of Hollywood silent pictures, has died. At her peak in the late 1920s she was second only in popularity to Greta Garbo, and the following video tribute conveys aspects of her appeal.

Page said her refusal to bed studio executives led to her downfall. But reviews of her acting ranged from mediocre to terrible and also paved the way to her decline. Reporters tracked down Page in later years and found a woman who appeared to live mostly in the past. As this creepy story from the London Guardian shows, her life was filled with bizarre hangers on. It also raises doubts about her much-publicized tales of receiving love letters from Benito Mussolini.

By Adam Bernstein  |  September 9, 2008; 2:21 PM ET
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It would be interesting to note if Mussolini dictated his love letters, or, if Ms. Page could read Italian, one of the languages of amore. It is also interesting to note that she spent time up at William Randolph Heart's mansion along the California coast. The place was noted for its amorous liassons among the beautiful people of its time. Since you mention Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard fame, you might want to remember the character played by Orsen Welles in Citizen Kane--Charles Foster Kane. Perhaps he was thinking of Ms. Page, when he uttered those famous last words--Rosebud! Or, perhaps he was just sledding along! There are worse things to do than live in the past when your past was as a glamourous movie star at 20! Perhaps just as bad is being an obituary writer, where all you deal in is peoples pasts! Or, you could be old Rose Dawson, whose past is as timeless as it gets!

Farewell to you all! Joe and Lucy

Posted by: Joe Taylor | September 11, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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