Sidney Olcott, le premier oeil

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May 12, 2015





Dead in Mexico, Gene Gauntier is buried in Sweden

Gene Gauntier died Dec. 18, 1966, in Cuernavaca. I have long believed the fetish actress Sidney Olcott was buried in this tourist town in Mexico where Malcolm Lowry located his novel The Man Under the Volcano . Curiously the histories of cinema, websites are silent on the subject.

Informations about Gauntier's life after she left the cinema in the early twenties, are fragmentary. She moved in 1942 to Mexico where lived her sister, Marguerite Liggett, an opera singer who married Axel Wenner-Gren a Swede, one of the richest men in the world, owner of Electrolux, king of the vacuum cleaner and domestic refrigerator. The couple own in Cuernavaca Rancho Cortez, a superb property.

I found last week the burial place of the Kalem Girl, almost by accident. Far from Kansas City, his hometown and Cuernavaca where she expired. In Sweden! This deserves some explanations.

Wealthy, Axel Wenner-Gren and Marguerite have an apartment in Paris, an island in the Bahamas and a castle in Sweden: the Häringe. Superb residence located forty kilometers from Stockholm. Furnished with precious objects, works of art. It has the first private Olympic pool of the country, the first bowling. The couple stayed there in midsummer to October 15. He gets a lot: Greta Garbo, Josephine Baker, Zarah Laender, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Fejos, Danny Kaye, Jussi Björling ... And of course Gene Gauntier.

1961 Axel Wenner-Gren died suddenly in Sweden, after a short illness. The billionaire has suffered fortune setbacks. Marguerite is left without resources, almost cloistered in Cuernavaca. She died impotent in 1973. Her body was repatriated to Häringe. She was buried alongside her husband left the driveway leading to the castle. The tomb is topped with a large stone engraved with their names and a Viking ship. The two sisters were deemed inseparable. It is therefore natural that the urn of Gene Gauntier was placed alongside of Marguerite's one. Her name is not on the stone.

That's what I learned after spending a night at Häringe Slott, now a hotel, and looking, a few days later, at the website of the institution. It speaks from the grave and boasts the charm of Gene Gauntier room, located in a wing of the domain. I did not know when I booked my stay. Note that the photo used for illustration is not that of Gene Gauntier but Valentine Grant with her husband Sidney Olcott.

Sorry for my English
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©2009 Michel Derrien