Corliss Palmer was a beautiful starlet who struggled with alcoholism and died young.
She was born Helen Caroline Palmer on July 25, 1899 in Edison, Georgia. Corliss was one of six siblings and sadly her father died when she was ten. After high school she worked at a grocery store and a movie theater in Macon. In 1920 she won a contest sponsored by Motion Picture Magazine and was named “the most beautiful girl in America” She moved to Hollywood and made her film debut in the 1922 short From Farm To Farm. Corliss began having an affair Eugene V. Brewster, the married publisher of Motion Picture Magazine. He promoted her career in his magazine and helped her land numerous endorsements. Despite all the publicity she did not get another role until 1926 when she appeared in Her Second Chance with Anna Q. Nilsson. When Eugene filed for divorce his wife filed a $200,00 lawsuit accusing Corliss of alienation of affection. She married Eugene in December of 1926 and they moved into a palatial California estate. The dazzling redhead landed supporting roles in the dramas A Man’s Past, The Noose, and Into The Night. Unfortunately her promising career quickly stalled.
Her final film was the 1931 comedy Honeymoon Lane. Because of their lavish spending Eugene was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1931. Corliss left him soon after and started having an affair with Albert J. Cohen, a married film writer. His wife sued her for alienation of affection in 1932. By this time she was struggling with serious drinking problem. She made headlines again in 1933 when she caused a scene at a hotel and was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Then she worked at several low paying jobs including demonstrating make-up at a cosmetics counter. Corliss said “At heart I’m really a domestic sort of girl. I wasn’t made for all this stuff I’ve been through.” In 1939 she married William Taylor, a former rodeo performer. Her alcoholism continued to get worse and her mental health deteriorated. She entered a psychiatric hospital in 1950 where she was diagnosed with “alcoholic psychosis”. Tragically on August 27, 1952 she died from Chronic Myocarditis at the age of fifty-three. Corliss was buried in an unmarked grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, California. Her fans later paid for a headstone to be placed on her grave.
Southern Belle To Hollywood Hell is an excellent biography of Corliss