Lina Basquette bigraphy, stories - Film actress

Lina Basquette : biography

April 19, 1907 - September 30, 1994

Lina Basquette (April 19, 1907 - September 30, 1994) was an American actress noted as much for her tumultuous personal life and multiple marriages, as her more than 75 years in entertainment beginning in the silent film era.

After her career in films, Basquette became a noted dog breeder and wrote several books on the topic.

Personal life

Basquette's first marriage was to film producer and co-founder of Warner Bros. studio Sam Warner. The two were married on July 4, 1925 despite Warner's family disapproval that Basquette was not Jewish. They had a daughter, Lita (named after Charlie Chaplin's wife Lita Grey) in October 1926. After suffering severe headaches and a sinus infection that was aggravated by several abscessed teeth, Warner was admitted to California Lutheran Hospital in September 1927. Doctors discovered that he had developed a mastoid infection that was spreading to his brain. After four surgeries to remove the infection, Warner slipped into a coma. He died of pneumonia caused by sinusitis and epidural and subdural abscesses on October 5, 1927.Eyman 1997 pp.137-138

In January 1929, Basquette married cinematographer Peverell Marley. Shortly after the marriage, Harry Warner, Sam Warner's older brother, asked Basquette give up custody of her daughter, Lita. Harry Warner was concerned that Lita would be raised in the Roman Catholic faith that Basquette was raised instead of the Jewish faith (according to Basquette, she and Sam Warner agreed to raise any female children they had as Catholic and any male children as Jewish). Harry Warner and his wife offered Basquette large amounts of money to relinquish custody but she refused. She finally relented after Harry Warner promised her that Lita would receive a $300,000 trust fund. On March 30, 1930, Harry Warner and his wife were awarded legal custody of Lita.Eyman 1997 p.361 Basquette quickly regretted her decision and attempted to regain custody of her daughter.

In August 1930, Basquette left Marley in the hopes that she would regain custody of Lita. When custody was denied, she attempted suicide by drinking poison shortly after a party at her home on August 13. She was saved when a guest heard her screams. Marley and Basquette were divorced in September 1930. Basquette was never financially stable enough to regain custody of her daughter as the Warner family launched several legal suits against her to win back Sam Warner's share of Warner Bros. studio. She would only see Lita on two occasions over the next twenty years: in 1935, when Harry Warner and his family moved to Los Angeles, and when Lita was married Dr. Nathan Hiatt in 1947. Basquette and her daughter reconnected in 1977 when Basquette backed a lawsuit that Lita brought against her uncle Jack Warner's estate.

Basquette's third marriage was to actor Ray Hallam in 1931. He died of leukemia three weeks after they were married. On October 31, 1931, she married Theodore Hayes, the former trainer of world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey. After discovering that Hayes was still married to another woman, Basquette was granted a Mexican divorce on September 10, 1932."Lina Basquette Is Divorced From Business Agent." Zanesville Signal. September 11, 1932, Page 1. In her autobiography, Basquette admitted that while she and Hayes were separated she had an affair with Jack Dempsey. Dempsey ended the affair in July 1932 after which Basquette attempted suicide for a second time. She and Hayes eventually reconciled and were remarried in 1934. They had a son, Edward Alvin Hayes, in April 1934 and divorced in December 1935.

In April 1937, Basquette married British actor Henry Mollison in London. They separated in 1940 and divorced in October 1944. In 1947, she married Warner Gilmore, the general manager of the St. Moritz Hotel. They divorced in 1951. Basquette's final marriage was to artist Frank Mancuso. They married in 1959 and separated that same year but were never legally divorced.


On September 30, 1994, Basquette died of lymphoma at her home in Wheeling, West Virginia at the age of 87. She was survived by her half sister Marge Champion, two children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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