- Ping Girl
- Frances Lillian Mary Ridste
- Fairchild Wisconsin
- United States
- Beautiful Face Nice Boobs Curvy Body
- Smoking Men Depression
Carole Landis Early life and family
Landis was born Frances Lillian Mary Ridste in Fairchild, Wisconsin to a Norwegian father, Alfred Ridste, and Polish mother, Clara Stentek Ridste. Her father abandoned the family before Carole was born. It would later be revealed by author E. J. Fleming that Alfred Ridste may not have been Carole's biological father. Her real father was most likely Charles Fenner, Clara Ridste's second husband. Carole was the youngest of five children, though two of her brothers died in childhood (Jerome was burned by scalding water and Lewis was accidentally shot). She had an unhappy childhood filled with poverty and sexual abuse. She blossomed into a stunning teenager and began winning local beauty contests. She was an early feminist who tried to form an all-female football team in high school. Landis married a neighbor named Irving Wheeler in January 1934 but this marriage was annulled in February 1934 (they later remarried on 25 August 1934, but divorced in 1939). She quit high school at age fifteen and set herself on a path towards a career in show business.
Carole Landis Early career
She worked as a nightclub singer and a hula dancer in San Francisco before her 1937 film debut as an extra in A Star Is Born. She dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to "Carole Landis" after her favorite actress, Carole Lombard. Carole landed a contract with Warner Brothers and had a high profile engagement to choreographer Busby Berkeley. She continued appearing in bit parts until 1940 when Hal Roach cast her as a cave girl in One Million B.C. The movie was a sensation and turned Carole into a star. She was nicknamed "The Ping Girl" (which was supposed to be short for purring) and "The Chest" due to her impressive 36 DD inch bust. Although she desperately wanted to be taken seriously as an actress she was willing to pose for endless cheescake photos if it helped her career. Carole's trademark was a gold cross she always wore around her neck. The cross had been a gift from her friend Diana Lewis.
Carole Landis 1940s
Tall, lean, glamorous and with a strong singing voice, Landis appeared in a string of successful films in the early forties, usually as the second female lead. In a time when many actresses were dubbed in their singing roles, Landis' own voice was considered good enough and was used in her few musical roles. Carole landed a contract with 20th Century Fox and began a sexual relationship with Darryl F. Zanuck. She had roles playing opposite fellow pin-up girl Betty Grable in Moon Over Miami and I Wake Up Screaming, both in 1941. When Carole ended her relationship with Zanuck, her career suffered and she was assigned roles in B-movies.
Her marriage to second husband yacht broker Willis Hunt Jr. lasted just four months. She married an Army Air Corps captain named Thomas Wallace in 1943, but this marriage also ended in divorce. Her many boyfriends included Franchot Tone, Gene Markey, Charlie Chaplin, and George Montgomery. Landis became a popular pin-up with servicemen during World War II. In 1942, she toured with comedienne Martha Raye, dancer Mitzi Mayfair and actress Kay Francis with a USO troupe in England and North Africa. Two years later, she entertained soldiers in the South Pacific with Jack Benny. Carole traveled more than 100,000 miles during the war and would spend more time visiting troops than any other actress. She nearly died from amoebic dysentery and malaria she contracted while traveling overseas.
Besides being an actress, Landis was also an accomplished author. She penned several newspaper and magazine articles about her experiences during the war. She wrote the 1944 book Four Jills in a Jeep, which was later made into a movie. She also wrote the foreword to Victor Herman's cartoon book Winnie The WAC. In 1945 she starred on Broadway in the musical A Lady Says Yes with Jacqueline Susann, with whom she evidently fell in love and had an affair. Jacqueline, who, according to her biographer, described to her girlfriends how "sensual it had been when she and Carole had stroked and kissed each other's breasts", purportedly based the character of Jennifer North in her book Valley of the Dolls on Landis. In 1945, Landis married Broadway producer W. Horace Schmidlapp, who had been introduced to her by Jacqueline. She desperately wanted to become a mother, but according to numerous biographies, she suffered from endometriosis and was unable to have children.
Carole Landis Depression and death
Landis was plagued by depression her entire life and attempted suicide in 1944 and 1946. By 1948, her career was in decline and her marriage with Schmidlapp was collapsing. She entered into a romance with actor Rex Harrison, who was at the time married to actress Lilli Palmer. Landis was reported to be crushed when Harrison refused to divorce his wife for her and, unable to cope any longer, she committed suicide at Pacific Palisades, California, by taking an overdose of Seconal. She was 29 years old.
Her final night alive that 4th of July had been spent with Harrison. He was the last person to see her alive and he discovered her body the next morning. Harrison claimed he felt a pulse, but instead of immediately calling an ambulance he left the house. By the time he returned the police were there and it was determined that Carole had been dead for some hours. She left two suicide notes, one for her mother and the second to Harrison, who bribed a police officer to destroy it.
The first note, to her mother read:
Dearest Mommie - I'm sorry, really sorry, to put you through this but there is no way to avoid it - I love you darling you have been the most wonderful mom ever And that applies to all our family. I love each and every one of them dearly - Everything goes to you - Look in the files and there is a will which decrees everything - Good bye, my angel - Pray for me - Your Baby.
Her mother, Clara Ridste Fenner, and her sister, Dorothy Ross, never believed that Landis committed suicide. They tried for years to prove that Harrison had been responsible for her death, but could not find any evidence.
Carole Landis was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California in plot 814 of the "Everlasting Love" section. Among the celebrities at her funeral were Betty Grable, Cesar Romero, Van Johnson, and Pat O'Brien. She was buried wearing her favorite blue dress and her trademark gold cross.
Carole Landis Honors
She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures, at 1765 Vine St.
Carole Landis Trivia
Parents: Alfred Ridste, Norwegian railroad mechanic; Clara Stentek Ridste (Polish). They separated when Carole was a baby.
Two older siblings: Dorothy Ridste Ross, born 1917, and Lawrence Ridste.
Carole protested strongly and publicly against the nonsensical nickname "Ping Girl" (apparently short for "purring") coined by Hal Roach publicist Frank N. Seltzer in April 1940.
In her musicals, Carole usually sang in her own voice.
A keen amateur photographer, she developed her own pictures.
She initiated divorce proceedings against her last husband in March 1948 but the divorce was not final when she died.
Rex Harrison, who had dined with her the previous night, discovered her body the day she committed suicide.
Became friendly with future author Jacqueline Susann in 1944 when they appeared together in the Broadway revue "The Lady Says Yes". The character of fragile, blonde Jennifer North in "Valley of the Dolls" is partially based on Landis.
A feminist at a young age, she once tried to start a girls football team at school but got into trouble because it was considered "un-lady like"
Measurements: 37C-24-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
According to a biography of Darryl F. Zanuck, she had a brief affair with him.
Actress Diana Lewis once gave Carole a gold cross as a gift. Carole wore the cross for the rest of her life and was even buried wearing it.
She was the youngest of five children. Two of her brothers died when they were toddlers. Jerome was burned by scalding water and Lewis was accidentally shot.
Spent more time visiting troops during World War 2 than any other Hollywood star. She nearly died from malaria she contracted while traveling overseas.
She chose the name Carole because she was a fan of Carole Lombard.
Carole desperately wanted to become a mother but she suffered from endometriosis and could not have children. She had numerous other health problems during her life including dysentery, malaria, pneumonia, and depression.