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Helen Gilbert


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(Helen Amelia Gilbert)

4 July 1915 is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Warren, Ohio, to Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn Gilbert, nee Scheff. Her sister will become actress Mari Finley.

inspired by Pablo Casals, she starts studying the cello and wins a scholarship to the Curtis Institute

becomes a concert artist and plays at the Hollywood Bowl, where she's discovered by Herbert Stothart and given a place in his MGM orchestra

28 November 1936 marries the assistant musical director at Columbia, Mischa Constantine Bakaleinikoff, in Tijuana, Mexico. He's 46; she's 21.

Early 1939 is discovered by test-director Fred Wilcox when a cellist in the recording orchestra at MGM / by W. S. Van Dyke II while directing Sweethearts

1 October 1939 she and Bakaleinikoff separate

9 October 1939 declares in Hollywood that she will file suit for divorce from Bakaleinikoff. "It was an amicable separation," she says when friends disclose that they had parted.

18 November 1939 wins an uncontested default divorce from Bakaleinikoff in Los Angeles on charges that he was rude to her friends and relatives. She claims her husband not only was rude but would argue and bicker with her after she returned home from work at the studio. Bakaleinikoff will die at age 69 in 1960 in Los Angeles.

February 1941 Parsons tells that "rumor is very strong that Helen Gilbert, movie actress, is the secret bride of Billy Marshall..."

December 1941 Fidler tells that pals think she will re-wed Bakaleinikoff in January

1942 moves to RKO, then to Paramount, Monogram, and finally to Lippert

March 1942 she and Seymour Chotiner "local attorney, are telling friends they'll be married in June"

30 March 1942 marries Seymour J. Chotiner in Las Vegas, Nevada. He's 31; she's 26. Chotiner is a Hollywood attorney and member of a wealthy Los Angeles theater and real estate family.

October 1942 she and Chotiner part after five months of marriage

November 1942 Parsons thinks it looks like "a definite reconciliation between Helen Gilbert and Seymour Chotiner..."

Parsons tells that Chotiner, "who denied any trouble with Helen Gilbert, his wife, is about to be divorced. Maybe she did not take him into her confidence. They were at Slapsy Maxie's the other eve talking over divorce plans..."

Early December 1942 Chotiner obtains an uncontested divorce from her in Los Angeles. He complains that "during five months of marriage, I had only one meal at home."

she and Chotiner reconcile before the decree becomes final

5 February 1945 she and Chotiner part again

7 February 1945 files for divorce from Chotiner in Los Angeles, asserting that "careers and marriages don not mix." She charges extreme cruelty without provocation. Chotiner will die at age 70 in 1981 in Los Angeles.

marries Victor A. Makzoume, Syria-born owner of Victor's Cafe on Sunset Strip and ex of stage and screen actress Claire Alexander. He's about 12 years her senior.

6 June 1946 she and her husband, Makzoume, hit the news when reporting to the police that their Hollywood home was burglarized of jewelry and clothing valued at $15,000. She says the burglary apparently took place while she and her husband were away from home the last night. She lists as missing $1,000 in cash, a three carat diamond ring, numerous bottles of expensive perfume, other jewelry and clothing.

8 June 1948 her husband dies at age 45 of a heart attack at the Grand Hotel in Rome, Italy. She is at his bedside. Makzoume was returning from a visit to his family in Lebanon.

30 July 1948 is granted a family allowance of $650 a month from the $500,000 estate of her late husband in Los Angeles Superior Court. The court makes the award pending distribution of the estate, half of which is to go to Makzoume's mother and sister, the rest to Helen.

9 February 1949 marries Johnny Stompanato, Mickey Cohen’s bodyguard and moneyman, at the home of her parents in Las Vegas, Nevada. The press tags him a "Los Angeles ceramic manufacturer." Stompanato is a Marine war veteran, who converted to Islam when he married Sarah Utish, a Turkish girl, in 1946 in China. He's 23; she's 33.

12 February 49 phones from Las Vegas to tell about her marriage to Stompanato. She tells a reporter that she and Stompanato

intended to keep their marriage secret.

8 July 1949 divorces Stompanato and testifies: "Johnny had no means. I did what I could to support him." He will marry actress Helen Stanley in 1953 and hit the news after being murdered by Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane, in 1958.

26 September 1949 the press claims she married James E. Durant, Flamingo hotel casino manager, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He's 43; she's 33. The ceremony is performed by Justice of the Peace A. G. Blad. The press claims this to be her sixth marriage and lists her first five husbands as Mischa Bakaleinikoff, Bill Marshall, Seymour Chotiner, and Victor Makzoume, and Johnny Stompanato.

February 1950 marries Durant in Coolidge, Arizona

15 July 1950 files for divorce from Durant in Hollywood after four months of marriage. She charges cruelty.

31 August 1951 is sued in Los Angeles by Charles A. Hubbard, 31, heir to a Bahamas Islands plantation fortune, who claims she broke off her engagement to him and failed to return his $17,000 diamond ring. Hubbard claims he gave her the six-carat ring on Christmas Day, 1949, with the understanding they soon would wed. But she terminated the romance a month later. Court records show that she is still married to James E. Durant and that they were married in 1950 in Coolidge, Arizona.

she and Durant reconcile

20 December 1951 she and Durant part again

28 March 1952 files from divorce from Durant in Los Angeles

4 June 1952 asks for $750 monthly alimony from Durant, now a Phoenix, Arizona, restaurateur, along with an order restraining him from molesting her. She claims Durant tried to throw her from the window of an 11th-floor apartment last May. Durant demurs, claiming he already divorced her in Phoenix, with her consent. Judge Lewis Drucker takes the case under advisement. The press heralds they can't decide if they are married or not.

marries H. O. Bryant

6 September 1952 becomes the owner of her late husband's restaurant when a decree of distribution is issued in Los Angeles court in the $161,000 estate left by Makzoume. "Miss Gilbert, now residing with her seventh husband, H. O. Bryant, holds the controlling interest in the restaurant."

December 1952 drops her divorce suit against Durant in Los Angeles after claiming for a time their Phoenix, Arizona, divorce was invalid. He's 48; she's 35. Her attorney says she has married a seventh husband, M. O. Bryant, associated with her in a Hollywood cafe. Durant will die at age 81 in 1987 in Phoenix, Arizona.

23 October 1995 as Helen Gilbert, she dies at age 80 in Los Angeles, California, of cardiac arrest









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