Ethel Shannon ~ The Alcoholic Baby Star

Ethel Shannon

Ethel Shannon was a popular silent film actress who struggled with alcoholism.

She was born Ethel May Shannon on May 22, 1898 in Denver, Colorado. Her parents divorced when she was a child and her mother, Agnes, got a job as a housekeeper. After high school she moved to Los Angeles, California. A friend suggested they should start working as film extras. In 1919 the lovely redhead co-starred with Bert Lytell in the comedy Easy To Make Money. Then she was cast as Hoot Gibson’s leading lady in the western Roarin’ Dan. Ethel was signed by producer BP Shulberg who gave her a starring role in the drama Maytime. She was also chosen to be one of the 1923 Wampas Baby Stars along with Evelyn Brent and Pauline Garon. On August 9, 1923 she married Robert Cary, a broker. The couple split up two years later. Her success continued with the films Lightning Romance, Stop Flirting, and The Phantom Express.

Ethel ShannonEthel Shannon

Ethel married screenwriter Joseph Jackson in 1927. The following year their son, Joseph Jr, was born, Soon after she decided to quit acting and become a full-time housewife. Tragedy struck in May of 1932 when her husband Joseph drowned while swimming at Laguna beach. She was devastated by his death and began drinking heavily. In 1934 she announced her engagement to Louis Grau, secretary to the Cuban consulate, but they broke up soon after. Ethel returned to acting with a small role in the 1935 film Backfire. She spent the next decade out of the spotlight while she raised her son. Sadly she also continued to struggle with alcoholism. On July 10, 1951 she died from a pulmonary edema caused by cirrhosis of the liver. Ethel was only fifty-three years old. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Ethel ShannonEthel Shannon
Ethel Shannon Death Certificate

Ethel’s Death Certificate

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