Q-What is the purpose of this website.
A-To help increase the public’s awareness of Mary Astor, her work and her life while giving a full dynamic of this actresses’ 45 years as an actress and her 11 years as a writer.
Q-Why did you put this site together?
A-While writing The Purple Diaries I not only amassed an enormous amount of material about the actress but also became an expert on the subject. Consequently, the site seemed a logical progression. I also wanted to bring her film and TV work into greater focus by presenting illustrations for each and every one of them.
Q-Where did you find the scans used on the site.
A-Most come directly off the web, some from the Astor-Roh family and others that I collected to illustrate my book, The Purple Diaries. Also of note is the fact that this site has been established for study and educational purposes and thus, it comes under the section 107* fair use clause and is an exception to the copyright infringement provisions.
Q-You have included an assortment of Film and TV clips. Where are they from?
A-There is a small sampling of Mary Astor’s Film and TV work in the CLIPS section. These full length films, clips and trailers come from a variety of web sources—mostly YouTube. The quality varies from awful to decent. This collection is limited—a few silents, mostly 1930s, a bit of her work in the 40’s and just a few of her nearly 50 TV shows. Nevertheless this material will provide a quick look at her progression as an actress during a 45 year film and TV career. If anyone is interested in purchasing any of these films or TV programs, they are available at Amazon.com and several other on line dealers. Covers of the these DVD’s are below.
Q-What can a copyright holder do to receive recognition that they are the copyright holder of any material on this site?
A-If anyone is indeed the copyright holder of material included here and want to be recognized as such all they need do is send me the original Library of Congress Catalog Card number, it’s renewal notification where applicable and a note from the United States Copyright office that these numbers are valid and the persons or organization writing are indeed the legitimate copyright holder.
Q-Can anyone donate Scans to the Mary Astor Collection?
A-If you have any scans of material—photos or documents—that you might want included on The Mary Astor Collection website, all you need to do is fill out the contact form on the right.
Q-What about the Astor Estate and Roh family material?
All this photographic material is copyrighted and I have been given explicit permission to use it. But if anyone else wants to use it they must contact the Roh family at Elbowfork@gmail.com and request permission. For the photographic material this shouldn’t be a problem as they simply want to ensure that when it is used it is noted that’s use comes through the courtesy of the Roh Family. All these photographs have a copyright notice on them. As for The Henrietta Log and Mary Astor’s 1959 autobiography, My Story, the family will allow portions to be used if requested and they are not used to misrepresent either Mary Astor or her writing. Again they must be contacted and permission requested.
Q-What about your interview with Mary Astor’s daughter?
A-That interview is also copyrighted and what applies to the books also applies to anything in the interview. Permission must be requested. I just want to add that, as I intend to add additional links to this site regarding Mary Astor, I regularly scan the web. If I find that any of this material is being used without permission I will request that the site owner remove it. If that is not done, I will contact their provider indicating that there is a copyright infringement and request and that the site be removed. The same goes for the Purple Diaries Writing Journal on the Purple Diaries website. All you need do is ask for permission to eliminate any problems with me or the Astor/Roh family. Again, permission shouldn’t be a problem.
Q-Why Is “My Story” included on the site?
A-Since this is basically an illustration site, the Roh family allowed me to include My Story as it will allow anyone interested in learning about Mary Astor’ Life to read about it in Mary Astor’s own words.
Q-How did Mary Astor Feel about “My Story” as a book?
A-Astor had mixed feelings; pride in being an author as it has always been her dream to become a writer. (“I had seen my name on a hard-cover book and I found it a bigger thrill than seeing it in marquee lights”) On the other hand she felt that the book concentrated far too heavily on her alcoholism which in the late 50s proved a commercial decision based on the success of both Lillian Roth’s I’ll Cry Too Morrow and Diana Barrymore’s Too Much Too Soon; books dealing with their subject’s alcoholism. Mary Astor wanted to do more with her book but as she wrote in her second autobiography, A Life In Film, “Personally I thought that the confession-type document was one of the more boring types of entertainment.” About her own writing, “Finally it got mauled and changed and cut down to book size and all that seemed to remain was booze and sex. But, it did open that unexpected door. During the final drafts” her editor ”would say, ‘I need four pages here—‘ “Can you give me five hundred words that expand the situation and let me have it on Friday.” It’s this editor who suggested that she try fiction and her second career as a writer was kick started. Fortunately, in 1971 Astor had a second go-around at Autobiography with A Life On Film and finally gettingit right, wrote the book that she wanted to write. A Life On Film remains one of the finest books on Hollywood’s Golden written by someone from the inside and is a must for any student of film.
Q-How do you feel about “My Life” as a book?
A- I see it as three books. A superb piece of memoirist writing; the early sections of the book—her childhood, break into movies and affair with John Barrymore are absolutely first rate. Then, at a certain point in the book after her marriage to Franklyn Thorpe, the book seems rushed, making me feel that a 600 page book had been stuffed into a 300 page book. The feel and reflective nature found in the early part of the book is missing. The third part of the book dealing with Astor’s break-down in the 1950s due to a score of personal problems as well as her heavy drinking and the enormous difficulties she encountered in order to resume her acting career is awesome in its honesty. It is an inspiration as well as a clear indication of the fundamental strength of this woman. I also found the final chapter a brief but sound look at psychotherapy and the steps necessary steps once therapy is completed to regain control of one’s life.
Q-Does the book suffer from certain limitations?
A-Because of the libel laws of the time, to prevent any possibility of a lawsuit, many names were changed, incidents telescoped or altered and some individuals combined. Also, since most of the book was written from memory there are certain inaccuracies regarding film shoots and other things. Much of this was corrected in A Life On Film.
Q-What is the book’s importance.
A-It provides a comprehensive outline of Astor’s life which will allow any potential biographer the necessary springboard to thoroughly research her life by digging through primary sources that will allow them to write a well deserved and powerful book about a remarkable woman. In The Purple Diaries I only covered a small period of her life in depth and needed to telescope the rest.
Q-What about out the illegally printed editions of “My Story.”
A-My Story is copyrighted by the Roh family. It was copyrighted in 1959 and the copyright renewed in early 1987. Thus the three publications of the book shown below being sold on Amazon.com and eBay as well as other outlets are illegal and a blatant example of copyright infringement. In addition a website titled “The Open Library” is illegally making the book available on their website without the consent of the copyright holder with the proviso “Some of the content available through the Archive may be governed by local, national, and/or international laws and regulations, and your use of such content is solely at your own risk.” And, more specifically”In using the Archive’s site, Collections, and/or services, you further agree…not to act in any way that might give rise to civil or criminal liability… not to infringe any copyright, trademark, patent, or other proprietary rights of any person.” In other words the readers are also participants in an illegal copyright infringement. Unless these publishers and this website cease and desist from printing and/or distributing My Story, the family will obtain legal regress both monetarily and, if possible, criminally. This is also being done by the website Bookyards.com which, like “The Open Library” is breaking the law.
In order to make a legal copy of My Story available to the public, as mentioned in the My Story Gallery, the family is in the process of assembling a lavishly illustrated eBook edition of the book with hundreds of family photographs never seen before by the public.
Q-Why did you include the Henrietta Log?
A- I wanted someone interested in Mary Astor to read her diary writing so they might compare it to her later commercial writing. Much of the writing in the Henrietta log resembles the writing in the famous Purple Diaries if less personal and far more discreet.
A-Why is the interview with Mary Astor’s daughter, Marylyn Roh Thorpe also included?
A-To tell you the truth so much of this material was not included in The Purple Diaries and I found it extremely interesting and I thought readers would as well. It’s also a look at Mary Astor from someone who was closer to her than than most anyone and I thought her insights fascinating.
Q-You also have groups of Movie Programs on the site. Why are they here?
A-These programs were either sold in theaters or distributed to the press and, in some cases, theater owners to promote a film’s release. I’ve included them to as they give a sense of how these films were seen at the time of their original release. With some I’ve also included photos of the New York theaters in which they played as well as the four page hand-out programs given to patrons of the film when road-shown on a reserved seat, two screenings a day basis. For some of these films I also included are their foreign programs.
Q-If I have any questions about Mary Astor or The Purple Diaries, can I contact you?
A-All you need do is use the contact form on this page, leave a message and I will to answer any and all questions.
Q-Are there any other Mary Astor sites/pages I might want to review?
A-A lot. What follows is an assortment of Mary Astor webpage links. Be warned, most of the material on the Astor/Thorpe Custody battle is fairly inaccurate and I can not attest to the webpages’ accuracy regarding dates and facts. In short, buyer beware.
§ 107 . Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
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(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.