Peg Entwistle's Fallen Dreams and Tragic Life including Jumping to Her Death from the Hollywood Sign
For some aspiring actors, the Hollywood sign represents the beginning of an ambitious journey. For Peg Entwistle, it was where her dreams, career, and life ended.
Peg Entwistle’s life was short and out of the ordinary. Since her parents, Robert Entwistle and Emily Stevenson, were touring actors and worked in provincial theaters around the UK, they moved around frequently.
Robert and Emily tied the knot in Birmingham in 1904 and welcomed Peg in February 1908. She was born at her aunt Laura’s home in Port Talbot, Wales, but things started to complicate shortly after.
While Peg’s parents tried to earn some money in London, she stayed with her aunt and uncle in Wales. Unfortunately, Robert and Emily had a very public separation in 1913 after Emily rekindled her romance with Julius Shaw.
Shaw was a younger actor she’d been with before meeting Robert, and during the divorce process, she said she never loved Robert or their daughter.
If that wasn’t enough, Emily refused to take care of Peg and married Shaw instead. Their relationship was short-lived as Shaw sadly passed away in the second battle of the Somme in World War I.
Around the same time, Robert got a job as a stage manager in New York, so he moved there with Peg and his brother, a theatrical manager. Reportedly, Peg was told her mother passed away.
Robert and Peg’s lives improved in the States as he worked in different Broadway plays and found love again in Lauretta Ross. Peg reportedly loved Ross, too, but life had more tragedies prepared for her.
In 1921, Ross died of meningitis, and Robert passed away after being hit by a car. Since his will made clear that Emily could never have custody of Peg, the then-teenager was adopted by her uncle.
BECOMING AN ACTRESS
Peg began her career in Broadway when she was only 17 years old. She was so talented that her performance in “The Wild Duck” allegedly inspired Bette Davis to pursue acting as she wanted to be “exactly” like Peg.
Peg has been linked to numerous ghost stories regarding the Hollywood sign.
The New York Theatre Guild noticed how skilled Peg was, so they recruited her in 1926. The following year, she married Robert Keith, but they parted ways shortly after learning that her ten-year-older husband had been married before and even had a son already.
Eventually, Peg moved to Los Angeles to keep working with the Theatre Guild. Once there, she landed a part in “Thirteen Women,” her only credited film role.
Unfortunately, her performance was cut to only 15 seconds, but she could never watch it as she died by suicide only one month before it premiered.
PEG ENTWISTLE’S DEATH
On September 16, 1932, after RKO Pictures declined to renew her studio contract, Peg told her uncle she would visit some friends. Instead, she jumped to her demise from the H of the Hollywood sign. She was only 24 years old.
Ever since, Peg has been linked to numerous ghost stories regarding the Hollywood sign. In the 1940s, for example, people claimed her spirit was to blame after the H collapsed.
Then, in 1990, two hikers allegedly ran into a disoriented blond woman dressed in 1930s clothes. If that wasn’t weird enough, the woman supposedly vanished in front of their eyes. Ghost stories aside, Peg’s legacy is still remembered.
On the anniversary of her death in September 2014, almost 100 people got together in Beachwood Village – above the stone gates to Hollywoodland – to watch “Thirteen Women” and honor her memory. Rest in peace, Peg.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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