This is part of a series showing what the silent stars featured in the 1917 Kromo Gravure Trading Card set were up to at the precise moment in time covered in a 1932 Motion Picture Magazine article, Stars Who Have Vanished by Jack Grant.
I've been using the IMDb, Wikipedia, my physical bookshelf, and especially the NewspaperArchive.com database to search out the rest of the story for each of these old time stars in attempts to see what became of them from 1932 until their deaths.
Stars Who Have Vanished, 1932: Famous stage star and screen character actress announced her retirement from both stage and screen when she married millionaire Francis A. Gudger on November 10, 1931.
What I Dug Up: And a brief retirement it must have been as Rambeau was back on screen in three features as soon as 1933 and would continue to be a highly successful character actress for nearly 25 more years despite her share of personal tragedy.
Her millionaire didn't go anywhere either, Rambeau remained married to Gudger until his death in 1967.
She'd receive her first of two nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 1941 for playing Ginger Rogers' prostitute mother in The Primrose Path (1940). Around this same time she'd receive a ton of press coverage centered around her bringing Marie Dressler's Tugboat Annie back to the screen as the star of Tugboat Annie Sails Again opposite Alan Hale in the old Wallace Beery role with newlyweds Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman in support.
It looked like it could all be over when in 1945 she was involved a terrible car accident which tragically killed her sister and left Rambeau in a wheelchair with her legs crushed and doctors telling her she might never walk again. Two operations would leave one of her legs shorter than the other though she would walk again with crutches and she would return to the screen again as soon as 1948.
Just a few years later she'd receive her second Academy Award nomination in support for Torch Song (1953).
In an article Rambeau penned for a religious column in 1958 she said that the pain she suffered as a result of the accident had left her dependent on drugs and that despite her on-screen success she withdrew and became a virtual recluse.
She wrote that one night she hesitantly went to a party Jack Oakie threw at which she collapsed and woke up in a bedroom under the eye of Roy Rogers' wife, Dale Evans. It was in conversation with Evans that Rambeau was compelled to join the interdenominational Hollywood Christian Group which gave her the strength to get through her next film role in A Man Called Peter (1955).
She was active for the next two years on screen, but had all but retired by the time of this 1958 article by which time she and her husband had moved to Palm Springs.
Her obituary does say she appeared on film in the 1964 documentary Palm Springs Story where she guided viewers through life in the resort town. Her husband passed away at age 89 in 1967; Rambeau died in 1970, age 80.
Continue Reading the Where Are They Now, 1932 Series:
Next Entry: To Come
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diane byrnes says
It is a beautiful picture of her. I have often read about her famed
beauty but the only films I have seen her she is usually playing
an older woman who has seen better days.