Anita Pomares, better known as Anita Page (August 4, 1910 – September 6, 2008), was an American film actress and one of a few people to have acted as an adult (albeit young) in silent films (Barbara Kent, Dorothy Janis, and Miriam Seegar are among the handful of others) to live into the 21st century. She was also the last known living attendee of the very first Academy Awards in 1929.
Death of Anita Page
Anita Page died in her sleep on September 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California of natural causes. Anita Page was 98 years old at the time of her death.
Page entered films via A Kiss For Cinderella in 1925. She and her family were very close to Betty Bronson’s family, and she got the part through Betty. After a few small but well received parts, was offered a contract with MGM Studios. MGM moulded her into one of their biggest female stars of the silent era, pairing her with such popular actors as Ramon Novarro and William Haines. Her performances in Our Dancing Daughters (1928) opposite Joan Crawford (with whom she appeared in three films), and The Broadway Melody (1929) opposite Bessie Love were her greatest successes of the period, and her popularity allowed her to make a smooth transition into talking pictures.
* Anita Page’s biography continues on next page
She was the leading lady to Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Robert Montgomery, and Clark Gable (among others) and during the early 1930s, she was one of Hollywood’s busiest actresses. She was involved briefly with Gable romantically during that time. At the height of her popularity, she was receiving more fan mail than any other female star, with the exception of Greta Garbo, and received multiple marriage proposals from Benito Mussolini in the mail.
One of her finest roles was as the prostitute, Jenny LeGrand, in the 1932 pre-Code movie, Skyscraper Souls, which starred Warren William and a young Maureen O’Sullivan.
Her body was featured in a poster labeling her "The Ideal Movie Star", which discussed her body parts and measurements, and another actress who possessed one comparable for each.
When her contract expired in 1933, she surprised Hollywood by announcing her retirement at the age of 26. She made one more movie (in the UK in 1936), and then left the screen, virtually disappearing from Hollywood circles for 60 years.
In a 2004 interview with author Scott Feinberg, she claimed that her refusal to meet demands for sexual favors by MGM head of production Irving Thalberg, supported by studio chief Louis B. Mayer, is what truly ended her career. She said that Mayer colluded with the other studio bosses to ban her and other uncooperative actresses from finding work.
She married composer Nacio Herb Brown that same year but their marriage was dissolved a year later. She married Admiral Hershel A. House in 1937 and they moved to Coronado, California and lived there until his death in 1991. They had two daughters, the elder of whom, Sandra, predeceased Anita.
She returned to the screen in 1996 after sixty years retirement and has since appeared in several low budget horror films, several of which appeared to have been uncompleted or not released. Film veteran Margaret O’Brien appeared in two of them.
Anita Page has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Motion Pictures, at 6116 Hollywood Boulevard.