Corliss Palmer

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Corliss Palmer
Corliss Palmer ca. 1922.jpg
Palmer c. 1922
Born(1899-07-25)July 25, 1899
Edison, Georgia, U.S.
DiedAugust 27, 1952(1952-08-27) (aged 53)
Resting place Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica
34°01′04″N118°28′33″E / 34.0178°N 118.4758°E / 34.0178; 118.4758
Years active1922–1931
(m. 1926;div. 1931)

Corliss Palmer (July 25, 1899 [lower-alpha 1] – August 27, 1952) was an American silent film actress and model. She first came to public attention after winning Motion Picture Magazine 's Fame and Fortune Contest in 1920, upon which she was deemed the "most beautiful girl in America." She would go on to appear in a total of sixteen films between 1922 and 1931.


Early life

Palmer was born to Luther and Julia Palmer in Edison, Georgia on July 25, 1899. She had an older sister, Mary, [1] younger brothers, Hoke and Grady, and a younger sister, Ennis. [2]


In 1920, Palmer entered the "Fame and Fortune Contest" advertised in Motion Picture Magazine . She won the contest, and was heralded by the magazine as the "most beautiful girl in America." [3] The magazine's publisher, Eugene V. Brewster, allowed Palmer significant publicity in the magazine, and began to promote her as she embarked on a film career. Between 1921 and 1923, Motion Picture Magazine published a total of twenty-three articles on Palmer, while its sister publication, Motion Picture Classic , published an additional story on the actress. [4] Palmer also had a cosmetic line named after her featuring Peach Bloom Face Powder, created by the Wilton Chemical Company in New York City, [3] and also appeared on the cover of Beauty, a women's magazine. [3]

She made her film debut in the short From Farm to Fame, documenting her public notoriety after winning the contest, followed by an acting role in Her Second Chance (1926). [5]

After ending her acting career in 1931, Palmer continued to model cosmetics as well as fashions for a local department store. [6] [7]

Personal life

She married Eugene V. Brewster in October 1926. [8] The couple lived on a $500,000 estate in Morristown, New Jersey, but were forced to relocate to a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood, California in 1931 after Brewster's estate was squandered when his former wife sued him for alienation of affection. [4] The couple would divorce in 1931. [4]

After her divorce, Palmer became an alcoholic, and on January 31, 1933, was committed to a hospital in San Francisco under the pseudonym Edith Mason, [9] a name she had adopted in an attempt to revitalize her film career. [10] It was noted in a March 12, 1933 article in the Portsmouth Daily Times that Palmer "had been drinking steadily for several days," and the hospital staff "feared she might harm herself or set fire to her room." [9] Palmer would spend the latter half of her life in psychiatric institutions. [11] She died in 1952 in Camarillo, California. [5]


Dagger-14-plain.pngDenotes lost films
Film poster From Farm to Fame poster.jpg
Film poster
1922From Farm to FameN/A Short film
1926 Her Second Chance Dagger-14-plain.pngNancy [5]
1926 Bromo and Juliet Madge [5]
1927 The Return of Boston Blackie Sylvia Markham [12]
1927 A Man's Past Dagger-14-plain.pngSylvia Cabot [5]
1927 Polly of the Movies Lisa Smith [5]
1927 Honeymoon Hate Dagger-14-plain.pngMrs. Fremont Gage I [5]
1928 The Noose Cabaret Girl [5]
1928 Into the Night Mrs. Harding [5]
1928 The Night Bird Blonde [5]
1928 George Washington Cohen Mrs. Gorman [5]
1928Trial MarriageN/A [5]
1928Scarlet YouthN/A [5]
1928 Clothes Make the Woman N/A [5]
1929Sex MadnessN/A [13]
1929 Broadway Fever Lila Leroy [5]


Explanatory notes

  1. Though some sources note Palmer's birth year as 1902, according to NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,181, she was born in 1899 and, at the 1902 census, resided in Brooks, Georgia. [1]


  1. 1 2 "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (  : accessed 22 June 2017), Helen Palmer in household of Luther Palmer, Militia District Quitman town, Brooks, Georgia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 6, sheet 16A, family 296, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,181.
  2. "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (  : accessed 22 June 2017), Grady Palmer in household of J M Simmone, Macon Ward 4, Bibb, Georgia, United States; citing ED 43, sheet 7B, line 98, family 183, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 235; FHL microfilm 1,820,235.
  3. 1 2 3 "Corliss Palmer Powder". Motion Picture . 24: 100. 1922 via Google Books. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  4. 1 2 3 Slide 2010, p. 16.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Lowe 2005, p. 520.
  6. Shaffer, Rosalind (June 10, 1934). "Corliss Palmer, Georgia Peach, a Changed Girl". Chicago Tribune . p. 6.
  7. Redmond, Jennifer Ann (2018). SOUTHERN BELLE TO HOLLYWOOD HELL: Corliss Palmer and her Scandalous Rise and Fall. BearManor Media.
  8. Slide 2010, pp. 16–17.
  9. 1 2 ""I Chased the Rainbow—and Now Look at Me!" – What Corliss Palmer Brewster, Prize Beauty, Told the Doctors When She Woke Up and Found Herself in a Hospital". Portsmouth Daily Times. Portsmouth, Ohio. March 12, 1933. p. 11 via
  10. "Raving Woman Former Star? Beauty Rushed to Hospital May Be Corliss Palmer". The Amarillo-Globe Times. Amarillo, Texas. February 1, 1933. p. 7 via
  11. Slide 2010, pp. 250–51.
  12. Wlaschin, p. 191.
  13. "Abbreviated View of Movie Page: Sex Madness (1929)". American Film Institute . Retrieved June 22, 2017.

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