Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born Gurli Andresen in Copenhagen, Denmark, Andre came to Hollywood in the early 1930s with the intention of establishing herself as a film star. She appeared in the RKO Studio films, Roar of the Dragon and Secrets of the French Police (both 1932) and began to attract attention for her striking good looks. These films provided her with starring roles playing against such established actors as Richard Dix, Zasu Pitts and Frank Morgan, and RKO began promoting her for her glamour. A widespread publicity campaign ensured that her name and face became well known to the American public, but her next role in No Other Woman (1933 opposite Irene Dunne), was not the success the studio expected. Over the next few years she was relegated to supporting roles which included the Joan Crawford picture A Woman's Face (1941). Her final role was a minor part in one of the popular The Falcon series, titled The Falcon's Brother in 1942.
She did not return to the screen, however she spent the remainder of her life trying to orchestrate a comeback. As she faced further rejection, she found solace in alcohol.
In 1959, on the day after her birthday, she committed suicide in a bizarre fashion. Alone in her apartment in Venice, California, Andre surrounded herself with reams of publicity photographs and press clippings, all of which represented the career she had expected but had not achieved. Setting the paper alight, she allowed herself to be consumed by the fire, and died from her injuries. Like Peg Entwistle and Sidney Fox who also committed suicide when their first periods of success were followed by failure and disappointment, Andre is chiefly recalled as a cautionary example of the indifference of the Hollywood system and the anguish of a person emotionally unable to cope with initial success and promise followed by immediate and irreversible failure.
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