|Indiana Times, 10-September-1920|
100 years ago today, on 10-September-1920, beautiful actress Olive Thomas died in a Paris hospital, five days after she accidentally drank her husband's medication for syphilis. She was married to Mary Pickford's ne'er-do-well brother Jack. Some people did not believe that her poisoning was an accident. Some people lean towards attributing her suffering and death to murder or suicide.
PARIS. Sept 10.—Miss Olive Thomas, famous motion picture actress, died in the American hospital at Neuilly at 10 o'clock this morning of mercurial poisoning.
Her husband, Jack Pickford. brother of Mary Pickford, was at the bedside.
The sensational rumors that have grown up about the incident have been denied from all sources.
Dr. Joseph Choate of Los Angeles, who was chief physician for Miss Thomas, gave the following account of the incident :
“At 4 o'clock Sunday morning Olive Thomas, by mistake, took a large quantity of an alcoholic preparation containing twelve grains of bichloride of mercury. It is estimated that she received at least six or eight grains of bichloride. Realizing the mistake she called her husband. It was only through the heroic efforts of Jack Pickford in giving first aid that Miss Thomas lived as long as she did.
“The effect of the poison was most rapid because of the alcoholic solution. The usual nephritis occurred within twenty-one hours. The first specimen showed two and one-half grams of albumen per liter, and the second and third specimens each ten grams per liter, which constitutes a world’s clinical record. Thereafter it was impossible to make tests, there being a complete suppression for four days.
"The very best medical talent was called on the case, including Dr. A. A. Warden, the eminent English physician, and Dr. F. Widal, a specialist on poisons from the University of Paris.
Olive Thomas came from Charleroi, a suburb of Pittsburg, when she was 18 and made her stage debut in the Ziegfeld Follies.
She was the first of the "baby vamps,” appearing in such a characterization in the screen version of “Upstairs and Down.”
She was married to Jack Pickford in the latter part of 1916.
Her record as a beauty is fortified by the late Raphael Kirchner and by Harrison Gray Fisher.
Fisher in September, 1916, termed her the prettiest girl in New York state.
Kirchner gave her the title of the most beautiful girl in America.
|Evening Capital and Maryland Gazette, 30-September-1920|