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Silent personality Jack McDermott updated

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Oct 30, 2005, 12:11:00 PM10/30/05
Some time ago I asked for info about a silent film writer-director named
John W. "Jack" McDermott. I thought I'd update the group about what I've
learned. During the 1920s and 1930s Jack built an incredible cliffside
house from movie sets and props. It sounds like it was quite a hot
spot. Newspaper articles I've found mention partygoers including Bebe
Daniels, Dolores Del Rio, John Barrymore, and Gene Fowler. He also
traveled with Harold Lloyd. The house featured tunnels, secret passages,
huge domes, and towering minarets. In the 1920s he showed up on the
society pages with Hollywood's A-list.

Jack's movie career seems to have dwindled after talkies came in.
Efforts as a playwright in the 30s and 40s did not really pan out for
him. He died in 1946 and his house mostly burned down in 1947 (some of
it survived uuntil 1962). Facts were sketchy; no obit was found. Later
articles talked about his house but not his fate, making me ownder about
the circumstances. (To add to the mysterious atmosphere, reports
mentioned director Jacques Jaccard, who had "lived with" McDermott
before Jack's death.)

I recently unearthed an old newspaper article that shed some light on
the demise of happy-go-lucky Jack McDermott, the host with the most,
"the greatest jokester in Hollywood," who died at age 54 in 1946.
According to the jaded vernacular of the article, Jack one day "got
tired of living, curled up on his huge Oriental bed and gulped 28
sleeping pills."

I still would like to know more about this fascinating character, so
please keep your eyes and ears open on Jack's behalf. He deserves to be
better remembered. I think maybe his could be added to the list of lives
ruined by talkies.


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