Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Helen Vinson

Helen Vinson, born Helen Rulfs, was a Texas native and the daughter of an oil company executive. From an early age she had a passion for horses, but it wasn't until her family relocated to Houston that the desire to begin acting struck Vinson. As a teen, she married a man a decade and a half older than herself and began attending the University of Texas. Though the stock market crash ruined her husband's business and ended her marriage, Vinson spent her time acting in local theatre productions. Eventually, she made her Broadway debut in a production called "Los Angeles". From there, she starred in "Berlin" and "The Fatal Alibi" on Broadway before being discovered by Warner Brothers talent scouts and recruited to Hollywood.

In the pre-Code film era, Vinson was versatile, playing lead and supporting roles. Described as self-involved and unsympathetic, she often played characters who were typically wealthy or trying to recapture lost fortune. She was also prone to being typecast as the "other woman" or the "loose woman", roles audiences were not supposed to like. However, Vinson played these roles so convincingly at times that audiences found themselves sympathizing with her in spite of their better judgment. A perfect example of this feat was her successful role in "The Wedding Night".

Vinson married twice more, first to a British tennis player and finally to a socialite. After marrying her third husband (the socialite), upon his wishes, she retired from acting. She spent out the rest of her days traveling around the country with her husband and being a supportive wife. Upon her husbands death, she lived out the last of her days enjoying Broadway shows and caring for horses, dying of natural causes at the age of 94.

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