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MOVIE GOLD

June 14, 2014

CARLA LAEMMLE, GONE AT 104

Carla Laemmle, at Monster Rally 1999 held in Washington, D.C. Carla was so pleased with this photo that she asked for extra copies to send to a foreign film museum's exhibit of her famous Uncle Carl's career. Exclusive photo by Sam Maronie.
Carla Laemmle, at Monster Rally 1999 held in Washington, D.C. Carla was so pleased with this photo that she asked for extra copies to send to a foreign film museum's exhibit of her famous Uncle Carl's career. Exclusive photo by Sam Maronie.

Carla Laemmle, at Monster Rally 1999 held in Washington, D.C. Carla was so pleased with this photo that she asked for extra copies to send to a foreign film museum’s exhibit of her famous Uncle Carl’s career. Exclusive photo by Sam Maronie.

 

If I have to run one more memorial for the passing of a Hollywood great, I’m going to have to change the title of this site to Sam Maronie’s Obituary Funhouse.

There’s certainly no fun in marking the passing of yet another movie icon. Actress Carla Laemmle has left us at the age of 104.

Ms. Laemmle certainly deserved the title of film pioneer. She was the niece of Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Pictures. Her famous uncle built the studio up from a ramshackle establishment to a mega-power in the entertainment world.

Carla appeared in a number of iconic early films. Their very titles make the hearts of devoted horror fans go a’flutter: The Phantom of the Opera (the silent version with Lon Chaney, Sr.), Dracula with Bela Lugosi and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which featured Claude Rains.

 

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In Dracula, Ms. Laemmle had the distinction of speaking the first words ever uttered in the first sound horror film.

I had the great pleasure of chatting with her at Monster Rally 1999 held in Washington, D.C. Back then she was a youngster of 90 and  was as animated and effervescent as anyone half that age. She was totally adorable! I recall her speaking in a girlish, Shirley Temple-type voice and was as sharp as the proverbial tack.

She absolutely basked in all the attention given to her that weekend by movie fanboys. And I certainly was one of them! It was somewhat surreal to be speaking to someone who actually watched Boris Karloff strolling around the Universal lot in full Frankenstein make-up.

 

Blogmeister Sam poses with Carla Laemmle during a break at Monster Rally 1999. At that time she was a 'youngster' of 90!

Blogmeister Sam poses with Carla Laemmle during a break at Monster Rally 1999. At that time she was a ‘youngster’ of 90!

 

She continued to appear at autograph shows and documentaries about classic horror films, up until her death. She knew she was part of Hollywood history and enjoyed being sought after as one of early cinema’s few survivors.

I never had the chance to see her again. We did correspond briefly. She enjoyed the above photo of her that I shot at Monster Rally, and asked for a couple of extra copies. One print was slated to go to a foreign museum celebrating her famous uncle.

I know all her many fans are grateful that we had her with us as long as we did. She was certainly a treasure!

 






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