Monday, January 16, 2017

Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, part five

A massive project which I have been working on (in between other projects) is Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985, a page on the Louise Brooks Society website. It is a work in progress.

Louise Brooks was 78 years old at the time of her death. All together, her life ran over the course of 28,758 days. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime, appearing in 24 films, writing a book, appearing on radio, and performing hundreds of times on stage as a dancer. She also taught dancing, and worked as a professional ballroom dancer. However, relatively speaking, little is known about what Brooks was doing on any given day.

From the mass of material I have gathered, Brooks' activities can be traced to approximately a thousand days throughout her lifetime. Best documented is the 18 year period – running from 1922 through 1940, a period of 6939 days – when Brooks worked as a dancer and actress and many of her activities were a matter of public record.

Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985 attempts a day-by-day account of Brooks' life. It contains entries both significant and mundane, and is based on multiple sources including, first and foremost,  dates and events found in the Barry Paris biography. I also contains entries recorded by Brooks in her notebooks (which she kept from the mid-1950s through her death); other dates were gathered from various magazines and newspapers (especially those published where Brooks was resident), along with other disparate sources, such as census records  and passenger manifests.

I encourage anyone interested to check out what I have so far accomplished at Louise Brooks: Day by Day 1906-1985. There is more to come. If you can suggest documented specific dates related to Louise Brooks, please contact the LBS. In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the sixties through to the end of Brooks' life.

Jan. 12, 1960
Lunch with Lillian Gish at Gish's apartment in New York City. Later, Brooks attends a screening of Prix de beaute at the Y.M.H.A, where she gives a well received 10 minute talk. In the audience are John Springer, Jimmy Glennon, Jan Wahl and old friends Peggy Fears and Leonore Scheffer.

March 27, 1960
Listens to radio program from 7:00 to 8:00 pm which features Mitch Miller, Bosley Crowther, Archer Winston.

April 16, 1961
Watches television program on the music of the civil war hosted by noted conductor Frederick Fennell (of the Eastman Wind Ensemble).

Feb. 12, 1962
Brooks escaped injury after a small fire broke out in the living room of her Rochester apartment. Careless smoking was blamed for the incident, in which chair was wrecked and the fire department called.

May 2, 1962
Begins broadcasting "Portraits of the Stars" on "Woman's World" program at 10:05 am on WHAM in Rochester, NY.

Nov. 6, 1962
Discusses Fatty Arbuckle on "Does Scandal Destroy the Stars?" at 1:15 pm on WHAM in Rochester, NY.

Dec. 12, 1962
Meets Buster Keaton and his wife at the Sheraton Hotel in Rochester, New York.

April 15, 1963
Delivers a feminist-themed speech, "The Influence of Movie Stars on the Freedom of Women," before an evening meeting of the Catholic Women’s Club of Rochester, New York.

Nov. 17, 1963
Henri Langois visits Rochester, and is quoted at length about Brooks.

Dec. 12, 1965
Roddy McDowell is quoted in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle regarding his visit with Brooks.

Dec. 27, 1965
Kevin Brownlow visits Brooks in Rochester.

July 12, 1966
Views The Wedding March at Eastman House.

Feb. 15, 1967
Reading Ethel Merman's Who Could Ask for Anything More? (1955).

July 4, 1968
Visits composer David Diamond at his Rochester home.

Jan. 30, 1971
WROC Channel 8 broadcasts Overland Stage Raiders in Rochester.

Feb. 23, 1972
Due to a "lame hip," declines invitation from David Rockefeller to serve on Salute to Chaplin Committee.

July 16, 1972
Watches Camera Three on television. This episode features an Alfred Hitchcock interview.

Feb. 28, 1974
Watches her brother Theo on the NBC news program Behind the Lines; the episode also featured "energy Czar" William Simon.

Oct. 7, 1974
Roddy McDowell telephones asking what Brooks thinks of his role on the Planet of the Apes television series.

April 18, 1979
Writer Jim Watters and photographer Horst P. Horst visit Brooks in her Rochester apartment on assignment for LIFE magazine.

Feb. 1980
Brooks is featured in Life magazine article, "What Became of Mary Astor and other Lost Stars?" by James Watters.

Oct. 30, 1980
Returns to her apartment after a week in the hospital after suffering a fall.

Sept. 19, 1982
The local newspaper reports that Brooks was disturbed by a local jazz musician, practicing their drums outside near Brooks' apartment. The musician was escorted to Brooks apartment, and spoke with the bed-ridden former actress. The musician took her drum kit indoors, and the next day received a phone call from Brooks.

Feb. 15, 1983
Rochester radio personality William Klein brings comedian Joan Rivers to Brooks' apartment, where they talk and enjoy croissants from the Strathallan hotel.

March 21, 1983
Brooks reports having received a phone call from director Robert Towne, and that they talked for more than an hour.

Feb. 15, 1984
Visiting actresses Peggy Cass and Susan Strasberg (on tour with Agnes of God) visit Brooks at her Rochester apartment.

Feb. 25, 1985
Due to ill health, Brooks declines an invitation from the International Women's Film Festival to serve on their awards jury.

Aug. 8, 1985
Dies in Rochester, New York.

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