Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Wallace Reid Succumbs in Fight Against Drugs -- January 18, 2023

Omaha Bee, 19-January-1923

Popular actor Wallace Reid died 100 years ago today on 18-January-1923. Back in 1919, Wally was riding a Southern Pacific train to Oregon to work on The Valley of the Giants, a feature film based on a Peter B Kyne story about lumberjacks. I have not been able to find any contemporary accounts, but sources say that the train had an accident and Wally injured his head. A doctor had to sew his scalp shut. Paramount wanted the movie to stay on schedule, so Wally received morphine to help him deal with the pain. Wally appeared in eight features in 1919, seven in 1920 and 1921 and eight in 1922. To keep up the grueling pace, studio doctors kept administering larger and larger doses of morphine. Wally appeared in eight features in 1919, seven in 1920 and 1921 and eight in 1922. To keep up the grueling pace, studio doctors kept administering larger and larger doses of morphine. Wallace Reid entered a sanitarium in an attempt to kick his drug habit. He died there on 18-January-1923.

His widow, Dorothy Davenport, became a director, screenwriter and crusader against hard drugs, who was usually billed as "Mrs Wallace Reid." A while back, I wrote an article about her career:
in Fight Against Drugs

Noted Movie Star Dies in
Hollywood Sanitarium --
Unconscious for Two
Days Before End.

Los Angeles. Jan. 18. -- Wallace Held, hero of romantic film plays, lost his life in fighting to overcome the drug habit, the end coming this afternoon at a sanitarium near Hollywood, where he had been under treatment for more than a month. He had been unconscious for nearly two days, during all of which time his wife, Dorothy Davenport, was at his bedside. The direct cause of the death, according to Mr Reid's physician, Dr. G. S. Herbert. was congestion of the lungs and kidneys, which resulted from the actor's collapse when he endeavored to break off the use of narcotics.

Reid, who was six feet tall, and whose normal weight was 185 pounds, lost 60 pounds before the end came. Up to about a week ago relatives said he was improving and would be able to resume work in the studio of the Famous Players Lasky corporation by July at the latest.

"I’m Winning Fight."

"I'm Winning the fight, mamma." was his invariable greeting to his wife when she called on him. Mrs. Reid said her husband contracted the drug habit during an illness nearly two years ago. He was working on a picture early in November when he suddenly collapsed. He was advised to take a long rest and started on a mountain trip with Mrs. Reid, Teddy Hayes, his trainer, and H. H. Muller. On his return to Los Angeles his condition showing no improvement, he went to the sanitarium.

Shortly before Christmas his family made public the cause of his breakdown. Mrs. Reid declaring she believed the information might aid in arousing the American people to the necessity of suppressing the narcotic traffic.

Reid was born in St. Louis in 1892 and educated in New York. His stage career began in vaudeville with his father in "The Girl and the Ranger" and later he entered the motion pictures in the early days of this industry, associating with Selig, Vitagraph and Universal.

Started as Utility Man.

His entrance was as a general utility man and he wrote, acted and directed. He was later employed by D. W. Griffith in the production of "The Birth of a Nation" and entered the Lasky employment in Geraldine Farrar's "Carmen."

His ascendancy in the motion pictures was then rapid and he became one of the best liked actors in Hollywood and New York.

Reid was remarkably versatile. He was a deep student and lover of books. He was deeply interested in chemistry and psychology and was an accomplished musician, the Violin and stringed instruments as well as the saxophone ranking among his favored interpretative instruments.

He was married to Dorothy Davenport. motion picture actress, whom he met years ago when she was starring at Universal City and he was an assistant director and utility man. They had one child and adopted a second.
Motion Picture News, 08-November-1913

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