charles farrell

Charles Farrell

Charles Farrell was an incredibly effective actor during the silent era (and his hair looked friggin' amazing when it was blowing in the wind), but his career as a leading man dwindled considerably with the introduction of sound, as his voice had a certain Mickey Mouse quality that seemed oddly out of sync with his good looks. But he had a very likeable quality about him and people say he was a wonderful man without a trace of vanity. He eventually moved to Palm Springs where he opened up the Palm Springs Racquet Club together with fellow actor Ralph Bellamy, and he even became the mayor of Palm Springs! The picture is undated, but I'm estimating it's from the early 30s, and it comes with a snipe that says: "A solitaire star: Charles Farrell whiles away a few idle moments in his new home at Malibu". It's quite eerie, since Farrell would spend his later years as a recluse, feeling forgotten and unloved, so him playing solitaire feels like a sort of foreshadowing. What's super special about this particular picture is that it came from the collection of Ed Diamond who ran an entertainment memorabilia store in Palm Desert, who obtained this picture from Farrell's personal estate, meaning that this picture actually belonged to Charles Farrell! It's super exciting to hold this in my hands and think that he must have held it in his hands at one point, too. 

* I actually got to talk a little bit about the history of the picture to the seller, a lovely man named Randall, and this is what he told me. "When Mr. Farrell passed away, or possibly before, much or all of his memorabilia went to Ed Diamond who was fairly well connected with movie stars at the time and had a store in Palm Desert, not far from the Farrell household in Palm Springs. Ed Diamond passed away about 1992 and everything was willed to a woman in Kelowna, Canada. It was a large collection and it was put in storage until three years ago. I think she passed away and all was sent to a local auction here in Vancouver. I sold many of my Farrell pieces but still have more. I had a rare Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell signed photo that I sold too cheaply. You have an interesting photo. I think I had twelve originally from the photo shoot but only have two left."