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Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler (February 1, 1906 – April 30, 1965) was an American film and theater actress. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Chandler began her acting career on Broadway in 1917. Within a few years she was playing Shakespearean roles opposite such highly regarded performers as John Barrymore.

She made her film debut in 1927 in The Music Master and in 1930 joined Leslie Howard, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Beryl Mercer for the film version of the stage success Outward Bound. The unusual story told of a group of passengers on an ocean liner who gradually realise that they are all dead. Chandler, with her blonde hair and ethereal quality was considered to be perfectly cast, and she received critical praise for her performance.

Chandler did not want to play the role for which she is probably best remembered, as Mina Harker in Dracula as she wanted to play Alice in Alice in Wonderland, but this part was given to Charlotte Henry, and Chandler, disappointed, joined David Manners and Bela Lugosi in Dracula. Once again, Chandler received plaudits for her performance. She achieved more successes in A House Divided (1931) and Christopher Strong (1932) and began dividing her time between Hollywood and Broadway. Among her stage successes of the 1930s were Pride and Prejudice in 1935, and a reprise of her role in Outward Bound in 1938.

By this time she was battling alcoholism and her acting career declined. She was hospitalised several times but was unable to gain control over her life. In 1950, Chandler was severely burned in an apartment fire, caused by her falling asleep while smoking. She survived but her face was badly scarred, and ruled out any chance of a comeback. Her alcoholism continued unabated. She died April 30, 1965 from cardiac arrest during surgery for a stomach ulcer in Hollywood, California. Her remains were cremated in accordance with her wishes but remained unclaimed at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Helen Chandler Facts

BirthdayFebruary 1, 1906
BirthplaceCharleston, South Carolina, USA
Date of deathApril 30, 1965 (age 59)
Height5' 3" (1m60)  How tall is Helen Chandler compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection
It's A Wonderful Life
Universal Classic Monsters Collection
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Return to Peyton Place
The Classic Monster Coffin Collection
Flipper's New Adventure
Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection
Classic Monsters Spotlight Collection
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