It seemed like Peg Entwistle had everything going for her – until she threw herself from the Hollywood sign.
Peg Entwistle was a beautiful, young actress whose career was tragically cut short when she took her own life at the age of just 24 — by jumping from the Hollywood sign.
Born in Wales, she immigrated to New York City in 1913, where she began a promising career on Broadway. In 1926, she was recruited by the New York Theatre Guild and performed in many Broadway shows, including The Man from Toronto, The Uninvited Guest, and her longest-running and most-remembered performance as Sidney Toler in Tommy. Her performances were positively received, and she remained on tour with the New York Theatre Guild in between Broadway shows.
Despite her career success, she had a troubled home life. She married actor Robert Keith in 1927, but the marriage soon fell apart. She filed for divorce in 1929, citing abuse and domestic cruelty. She also claimed that Keith had secretly been married before and had a six-year-old son she had never been told about.
Then, her Broadway career ended rather abruptly in 1932 when her show Alice Sit-by-the-Fire closed unexpectedly and paid Entwistle far less than she had been promised. Following her initial success on Broadway, she decided to move in with her uncle in Los Angeles and attempt to begin a Hollywood acting career. However, she found only a small supporting role in the film Thirteen Women.
Finally, on September 16, 1932, Peg Entwistle told her uncle she was going for a walk to see friends — but did not return. Two days later, a woman hiking below the Hollywood sign (which then read “Hollywoodland”) discovered her body below the sign’s “H”, along with her purse, shoes, and jacket.
Inside the purse was Entwistle’s suicide note, which read: “I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.”
News coverage of her death was widely sensationalized due to the circumstances, and the press largely reported that the motivation for her suicide was her inability to cope with the failure of her acting career.
Soon afterward, Peg Entwistle was cremated and her ashes were sent to Ohio, where they were interred next to her father’s grave in Glendale.
Some say that just a day or two after her death, a letter offering her a part in a play at the Beverly Hills Playhouse was sent to her home. The part was that of a woman who committed suicide not long before the final curtain.