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Who was Adele Blood?

(perhaps there will be Blood)

by

Marilyn Slater

 

She was a silent movie actress, a vaudeville performer and a “Broadway Star;” oh, yes, a wife and mother.  Adele was a California girl, born in Alameda, California, April 23, 1886 to Frances Blood a member of the Alameda School Department.  Her sister-in-law was one of the richest women in America, Susanna Holmes, the window of Albion Barnard Emery of the Silver King Mining Company. 

 She began her stage career at the California Theater in a production of ‘Mephisto’ in San Francisco, a number of leading roles followed.  She became a member of Edward Davis stock company and he became her first husband.  Davis was a clergyman turned actor, their marriage ended in 1914 with a lot of name-calling and finger-pointing.  Adele named Jule Power, the actress as co-respondent and Edward countercharged with Governor Earl Brewer of Mississippi as co-respondent against Adele.  They received a divorce.  It was a rather nasty mess.

 

Broadway critics were not kind regarding her performance in “Milady’s Boudoir’ calling her acting “pretty bad”, in The New York Times, October 30, 1914, review of the play. 

 Adele was known for her sense of style, soon after her marriage ended, she sailed for the Orient and is said to have spent fabulous amounts of money on clothes, which were ruined by salt water on her return trip.

 She toured most of the prominent cities in the country for 5 years, playing ‘Everywoman’ and became known as ‘the most beautiful blonde on the American stage.  Adele’s 1st film was titled ‘The Devil’s Toy’ (PremoFilm/World Film 1916) 

 Her sister-in-law, Susanna Holmes talked Adele into retiring in December 1917 and the 2 women became companions traveling the world, shopping and than shopping a little more,  Adele, the "most beautiful blonde" and Susanna the "Silver Queen", Susanna named Adele, her heiress but the relationship didn’t last. In 1919, Susanna’s adopted daughter sued her mother for her half of her father’s estate and won. 

 Following her divorce from Davis, Adele was briefly married to Waddell Hope, (J. W. Hope of 'Milady's Boudoir') the father of her only child, Dawn, born in 1920, however The San Mateo Times, September 14, 1936 reported that Dawn’s father was Isaac Hope, a well-known theatrical agent..

It was in 1920, that another film was released called, ‘The Riddle Woman.’  It was filmed in Marblehead, Massachusetts and distributed by the Pathe Exchange.

 She rejected a marriage proposal and a $25,000 worth of diamond from Mizam of Hyderade.  For a while, she was engaged to English Colonel by the name of R. W. Castle; their marriage was planned for Calcutta, India but the pull of performing won and Adele returned to the stage with Tim Frawley. 

When Dawn was 8 in an interview Adele told reporters that, her daughter was a ‘musical genius’ and was taking lessons from Louis Persinger. By the time Dawn  was 12, her mother was sure she was going to become a concert violinist, unless her ‘actress “blood” proves too strong’ .

 Adele had had money, beauty, success but in 1936, she had financed a play for herself and Dawn scheduled to run for 6 weeks but it closed after just 3 weeks.  Adele Blood Hope was living at 12 Griswald Road, Harrison, New York on the grounds Westchester Country Club. On the night of September 13, 1936, she shot herself in the head.  Dawn was just 17 years old and at home when she heard the gunshot from her mother’s bedroom.  So, Dawn lost her mother but her name was HOPE.

 

In 1939, the police wrote ‘suicide’ opposite the name Dawn Hope Noel, 19-year-old bride of Herbert J. “Jimmy” Noel, the 36-year-old bandleader. 

The daughter was like her mother.  Jimmy told the police that, “We had a big party at our home on Saturday night.  There was a lot of drinking.  The party went on from Saturday at 8:30 ‘till Sunday at 6:30 a.m.  “Then we decided to go to the nudist colony.”  The Rancho Glassey was in Sylvan Tunas Canyon about 20 miles north of Hollywood; the newlyweds had joined 3 months before the Sunday morning.  Jimmy went on to say, “Then we decided to go to the nudist colony.  We had a lovely day and came home Sunday night.  Dawn went to bed.  I couldn’t sleep.

. . . “A friend came over Monday noon and we went to the nudist camp again.  I stayed there but Dawn went home.  She said she had to feed our dogs.”   “She didn’t come back for 4 hours.  I found out that 2 men and a girl had also left the camp and joined Dawn at the house.”  Jimmy said that after he returned home with Dawn, he questioned her about the 4 hours she was absence.  Dawn was noncommittal.  Jimmy called one of the men to bawl him out.  “As I talked I could hear Dawn crying.  While I was talking, I heard something that sounded like a cap-pistol in the bedroom.  The awful thought came to me that Dawn’s mother had shot herself.  I rushed into the bedroom and found her on the floor.”  She died before an ambulance arrived.

~*~

 

REFERENCES

“Milady’s Boudoir” New York Times, October 30m 1914,

 "Adele Blood, Stage Beauty, May Inherit Big Fortune", Oakland Tribune, December 29, 1917

 “Silver Queen Loses Action to Break Will”, Oakland Tribune, February 9, 1919

“Musical Genius”, New Castle News, April 14, 1925

 "Adele Blood To Wed", Oakland Tribune, August 15, 1926

 "Helped Set Precedent", Oakland Tribune, August 15, 1926

 The Evening Tribune, February 9, 1932

 "Adele Blood Hope, Actress, Ends Life", New York Times, September 14, 1936,

 “Daughter of Adele Blood Ends Her Life”, The Fresno Bee, July 19, 1939

 Internet Movie Database

 New York Public Library Digital Gallery photos