Hollywood’s Broken Angel
is remembered in the Courbat room of Engelbrecht House
Her name was Lillian Millicent Entwistle, “Peg” to her friends. She was born in 1908.
At the age of 19, Peg married Robert Keith, 10 years older than she. Too late she discovered that he had been married before and had a 6 year-old son. The couple was soon divorced.
“I’ll move to a new place and get a new start,” she thought. “Goodbye, New York. Hello, L.A. I’m going to become an actress.” But hopes and dreams are fragile things and hearts are easily broken.
At the age of 24 “she decided she’d failed,”
says David Wallace, author of Hollywoodland. “She was very dejected and one day in 1932 she came up to the Hollywood sign, found a maintenance ladder by the ‘H,’ climbed up to the top and presumably took one last look over the city she had failed to conquer, and jumped.” Her body was discovered two days later by a hiker.
A handwritten note was found in her purse. “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.”
On the day her body was discovered, a letter came in the mail. It was from The Beverly Hills Playhouse. They wanted her to star in their next production. Are you ready for this? It was to be a play about a young girl who loses all hope and commits suicide in the final act.
Things are never as bad as they seem. Why didn’t anyone tell you? And now all we have left of your life is a photograph and a note.
Remember the 6 year-old son of Robert Keith? That boy, Brian Keith, grew up to become a famous actor, best known for his role as “Uncle Bill” on the hit TV show, Family Affair. He also played the perfect Teddy Roosevelt opposite Sean Connery in The Wind and the Lion, (1975).
Brian Keith shot himself in 1997.
Yes, hopes and dreams are fragile things and hearts are easily broken.
Be gentle with the hearts that have been entrusted to you.