Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Fallen Starlet (Haunted Hollywood Part II)

"I'm heading out to the drug store to meet some friends."

Uncle Walter looked up and smiled kindly.

"Have fun, sweetie," he said.

Peg Entwistle smiled back.

She exited the charming white bungalow she shared with her uncle and headed up the sidewalk. Golden sunlight pierced through the bright blue sky. The smell of gardenias wafted in the air.

It was truly a beautiful day.

She twisted and turned through neighborhoods and eventually wound up in the dusty brown hills. She was so lost in thought she didn't even realize how far she had walked in such a short period of time.

Up ahead, Peg could see the outline of the Hollywoodland sign. The looming dirty white letters seemed almost disappointingly abrasive against the vast Los Angeles skyline.

Without hesitating she started to walk up the steep brown hill. She slid down. Hitching her long dress up, she clawed her way up the chalky dirt mound. Out of breath and sweating, she eventually reached the top. She was right behind the massive 50-foot sign.

Peg wistfully stared out at the breathtaking view, through each giant letter. God, Los Angeles was stunning.

All of the sudden, she heard a noise behind her. She snapped around. Nobody was there.

"Hello?" she called out.


She took off her coat and folded it neatly, placing it on the ground with her purse. She couldn't quite shake the feeling that somebody was watching her.

She climbed up a workman's ladder on the back of the "H" and stood on top of the letter, peering down at the cityscape below.

And then she performed a perfect swan dive straight down.

The 24-year-old died instantly.

Peg was born in London in 1908, but grew up in New York City. Her mom had died when she was very young, and then when she was a teenager, her father got run over by a car.

After high school, she pursued theater and her natural talent and girl-next-door personality earned her success on Broadway.

During one of her stage productions, sitting in the audience was a girl named Bette Davis, who turned to her mother and whispered, "...I want to be exactly like Peg Entwistle."

In 1932, Peg moved to Los Angeles to see if she could try her hand at movie-acting. Fortunately, her Uncle Walter lived out there, so she was able to live with a watchful guardian, rent-free.

Within the year, she dabbled in stage work and was eventually signed to RKO Studio and cast in a major film production, Thirteen Women. The sweet-tempered blonde couldn't have been more thrilled. She was going to be a star!

But when the film was released, the movie received scathing reviews from critics. RKO dropped Peg's contract like a hot potato.

The 24-year-old was heartbroken and grew severely depressed.

And then one afternoon, she climbed the Hollywood sign and killed herself.

A hiker found her body a couple days later, with her suicide note tucked inside her purse.

 In an ironic twist of fate, just mere days after her death, a letter from the Beverly Hills Playhouse arrived at her uncle's doorstep. The theater wanted her to star in their latest production, playing the role of a woman who commits suicide.

Although she has been dead for exactly 80 years, Peg isn't exactly...gone.

Dozens of people over the past eight decades have reported seeing a forlorn blonde woman in a white dress roaming the grounds near the Hollywood sign.

So in the end, her dream of becoming famous did come true.

Peg is forever known as the Hollywood Sign Girl, the ghost who haunts a landmark representative of hope and success, and all the glorious tragedy that comes with it.


Sherin said...

That's such a sad story. Can't believe how young and full of prospect she was!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Oh my, how tragic and sudden! It really makes you wonder about all the different stories associated with each place.

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Couture Carrie said...

The bitter irony!
Beautifully told story, darling!


Miss Laia said...

It's scary to see how sad can fame turn some girl life dowm, so many beautiful girls like Thelma and Peggy and of course Marilyn lifes where destroyed that fast.
Great post Jen (both of them)
ps thanks a lot for the book recommendation, sounds pretty interesting, I will look for it and read it when I finnish Audrey's one Im reading now.

Bunny Moreno said...

This one was deeply saddening. I could feel what she could have felt while reading your post. Time to write a novel my dear-you are GOOD!!! xox

Amy K said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment. You are a talented writer, great post! Would you like to follow each other?

Much Love,

Johanna said...

That is a very sad story. I believe she would've had an amazing career ahead of her, had she not committed suicide. Thank you for sharing her story, it was all new to me :) ♥

The Dainty Dolls House said...

So very tragic!

Blond Duck said...

Poor thing.

Meri said...

oh eerie! do you believe in ghosts? i'm not really sure if I do or not, but who knows? sad story.

Tanvi said...

That is a sad story. I wish and hope her soul would find peace.

∞ © ∞

Elisse said...

I was wondering how you'd follow up from Thelma's story, and this one is truly haunting! Peg's now infamous story is a sad one too!

Mouthwash said...

Wow - this woman was crazy!! A swan dive?!

Am I terribly morbid for seeing this happen to some bloggers?

Great writing as always Jen!
what a terrible irony this woman's death was!

Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

Wow, that is so sad! Her life started off sad. She really wanted to be a great actress, and I hate to see dreams crushed like this. It can be crushing for some people. And the fact that a job was waiting for her makes this story even sadder. She was a very pretty woman.

Oh to Be a Muse said...

If I ever make it to the actual Hollywood sign, I will keep an eye out for Peg. Although, I'm not sure I would actually want to see her--that would surely freak me the eff out.

Arielle-HumblePieVintage said...

That's so sad/crazy that all these young girls ended their lives so soon. I never knew anyone killed themselves by jumping off the Hollywood sign. Thanks for sharing!

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Milo Knee said...

This is a lovely and haunting post but it is terribly inaccurate.

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