Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born Lillian Millicent Entwistle in Port Talbot, on Swansea Bay in Wales, her mother died when she was young and in 1922 she emigrated with her widowed father to New York City. By the age of 17, Entwistle had begun to pursue a career in theatre and spent several years acting in minor roles on Broadway. Her family life had not been easy and she was further stressed by a brief, but very difficult, relationship at the age of 19 with actor/playwright Robert Keith (1898-1966), a divorcee and father of future actor Brian Keith.
The onset of the Great Depression had a severe impact on the entertainment business on the hard-hit industrialized East Coast. Jobs for Entwistle proved difficult but Robert Keith had met with some success in Hollywood. When he returned to New York to work on Broadway, she made the decision to move to California to find work in the motion picture industry. Arriving there in April of 1932, she stayed at a rooming hotel for women until her money ran out, then went to live at the home of an uncle in Beachwood Canyon. Her uncle's bungalow was just down the street from the pathway of a high hill known as Mount Lee - where developers, in order to advertise their real estate project, had put up 50-foot-high white letters that read "H O L L Y W O O D L A N D."
Peg Entwistle's theatre experience helped land her an acting job on stage, but the play closed after only a short run. She then obtained a minor part in a David O. Selznick production, Thirteen Women, but after this short stint, she was offered nothing else. Desperate for any opportunity, the vulnerable girl posed topless for a small fee - but only five months after arriving in Tinseltown, she was left with no prospects, no money, and no friends. The depression Entwistle had been dealing with for years deepened, and on the night of September 18, after telling her uncle she was going for a walk, she made her way up the slope of Mount Lee to the foot of the giant "Hollywoodland" sign. There, she took off her coat and folded it into a neat bundle and placed it on the ground next to her purse. She then climbed the maintenance ladder to the top of the letter “H” and jumped to her death.
When police examined the girl's belongings, in her purse they found a note that read:
- "I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E."
The body of twenty-four-year-old Peg Entwistle was shipped to Glendale, Ohio for burial next to her father in the Oak Hill Cemetery.
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