Mary Carlisle, Last of the WAMPAS Baby Stars, Dies @ 104

Thirties star Mary Carlisle, who was thought to be 104 (but was cagey about her real age and may have been 106), has died, The Washington Post reports.

A great beauty whose life, if not her career, had legs!

Carlisle made her film debut as a child in the 1923 silent Long Live the King, which starred Jackie Coogan (1914-1984), making her one of the last people on earth to have appeared in any capacity in a Silent Era silent picture; in the wake of her passing, approximately a dozen remain. That also means she lived 95 years after her film debut.

Inside Mary Carlisle's Final Years

At age 14, she was discovered by film exec Carl Laemmle Jr. (1908-1979), who was quoted as saying:

This girl has the most angelic face I ever saw. I’ve got to make a test of her right away.

She took the test and began the process of prepping for work, but was yanked from the biz due to her youth, returning at 16 and signing with MGM.

Carlisle resented being typecast as a virgin. (Image via MGM)

Busy from the get-go, she appeared in a number of low-budget pictures beginning in 1930, including 1932's classic Grand Hotel, of which she had been the last surviving cast member.

These early roles led to her selection as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars, all of whom were thought to be on their way to household name status. The WAMPAS picks included actors chosen every year from 1922 to 1929, 1931 and 1982, and 1934. Carlisle was in the class of 1932, along with Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) and Gloria Stuart (1910-2010).

Carlisle was in dozens of films during her relatively short career, perhaps most famously opposite Bing Crosby (1903-1977) in College Humor (1933), Double or Nothing (1937), and Dr. Rhythm (1938).

She was memorable in Handy Andy (1934), working with Will Rogers (1879-1935), and Palooka (1934), opposite Jimmy Durante (1893-1980) and Lupe Velez (1908-1944).

Upon marrying actor James Edward Blakeley (1910-2007) and after he became a 20th Century Fox exect, she retired from acting, and was later a staple at the Elizabeth Arden Salon in Beverly Hills, which she managed for many years.

Carlisle in 2013

Carlisle was a popular resident of her retirement community, where she often received visitors eager to hear from a woman who had known Jean Harlow (1911-1937) and who had worked with Greta Garbo (1905-1990).

She is survived by her son and two grandchildren.

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