December 8, 1900 - November 15, 1962
new and beautiful makes one think beautiful thoughts.”
One of my duties here, is to dispel myths - untruths
about Hollywood deaths that are perpetuated because of their outlandish
circumstances. These are usually referred to as "Angerisms"
after Kenneth Anger, who is responsible for two works of fiction, Hollywood
Babylon 1 & 2. Though good picture books, Anger made up a lot of
stories, stories which are unfortunately repeated as fact. James Dean the
human ashtray? Angerism. Lupe Velez drowning in the toilet?
Irene Gibbons was known by only her first name, and was one of
the most successful costume designers in
motion picture history. She took over from Adrian at MGM, and went on
to establish her own company, Irene, Inc. Interesting Irene career
information available here.
Now, I have heard several stories about what drove her to
suicide. Some say she was in love with Gary Cooper who died in 1961.
I don't buy this story. First off, and I might catch some shit for this,
but I see her picture, and I think lesbo. She was also very close with
Doris Day, which is what supports that theory for me. Officially, her
husband was quite ill, and she was upset over his condition. He had
several strokes and was paralyzed. She lived with her husband in this sweet
little house in Beverly Hills.
On the 15th of November 1962, at 2 a.m., Irene checked into room
1129 of the
She was hitting the Smirnoff, as they
found 2 pint bottles, one empty and one in the bathroom with 2 shots left in
it. During those few hours, she penned a two page suicide note mentioning
her husband's illness, and apologizing to hotel guests for any inconvenience her
death may cause. At
3:12 that afternoon she pushed the screen of her window and jumped.
A Mr. Lombardo was staying in room 429 and heard the crash on
the roof, and contacted the hotel manager, Mr. Tozzi, who discovered Irene on
the 3rd floor roof, 9 feet in front of room 329.
She was found immediately
(not several days later) and her wrists were not cut. She did have a sore
on her hip which was bleeding, and they found a bloody bandage in the room
In her purse, which was also left in the room, there was $1.62
in cash, cosmetics, 3 credit cards and a drivers license.
She was 60 years old.
She was cremated and is located in Forest Lawn Glendale
The Knickerbocker is now a retirement home, the former home of Larry Fine of the Three Stooges, and where Frances Farmer was arrested and William
Frawley pronounced dead in the lobby, and director D.W. Griffith collapsed
in the lobby and died. The residents of the hotel are
foreign and unfriendly.
Thank you to Craig for your help.