Recognized as one of the most stylish women of her era, the truly distinctive Lilyan Tashman provided conflict of the romantic and-or deadly mercurial variety with her often vampish, self centered characters.
In 1932’s Those We Love, one of her more popular efforts, her predatory Valerie Parker lays claim upon Kenneth MacKenna’s Freddie, a happily married author. Naturally, this ultimately causes much heartache for his wife May, who is played with sweet determination by the Oscar winning Mary Astor. Thankfully, Tashman gives Parker a comic edge, providing her potential homewrecker with a truly quirky presence, as well.
Tashman is decidedly deadlier in 1931’s Murder By the Clock (above). Manipulating those around her to commit acts of homicide, her Laura Endicott charms and beguiles with determined finesse. Often regulated to supporting roles, here this one of a kind personality takes her leading lady status and runs with it. It is a mischievous and captivating performance.
Rumored to be a prominent member of The Sewing Circle, Hollywood’s lesbian network, Tashman was actually married to actor Edmund Lowe, a known homosexual. Though this was by all accounts a lavender marriage, the two were truly darlings of the worldwide press until her unfortunate death of cancer, at the age of 37, in 1934. One can only imagine what other work this striking, husky voiced goddess would have produced had she not been cut down in her prime.
Even more regrettable, one wonders what levels of security and acceptance she might have established for the queer community if she had been able to use her compelling nature towards causes of activism and visibility in later decades.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan