Happy Birthday, Gladys Walton! Did you really …….?

I raise a toast to Gladys Walton!  She would have been 110 today!

The original photo used for the cover of Dangerous Curves.

The original photo used for the cover of Dangerous Curves.

I have special memories of this fascinating woman and actress of the silent screen.  I interviewed her for Broken Silence: Conversations with 23 Silent Films Stars and once spent an afternoon with her at Glad’s Castle in Morro Bay, California.  Glad’s Castle was her unique home.  It had Gladys Walton written all over it. If you wanted to know Gladys, you only needed to pay her a visit.

Gladys designed and made the door that welcomed guests into Glad's Castle.

Gladys designed and made the door that welcomed guests into Glad’s Castle.

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Gladys was proud of her work in Hollywood. She poses with a screen she had made from some of her portraits.

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Gladys was proud of her work in Hollywood. She poses with a screen she had made from some of her portraits.

Gladys with her feathered friend.

Gladys with her feathered friend.

I prided myself in knowing just about everything there was to know about Gladys Walton.  Wrong, Michael!  Remember, no matter how good of an interview you do with your subjects, you can’t come away with the whole tapestry that makes up a life.

Gladys received star billing almost from the start.

Gladys received star billing almost from the start.

Just this afternoon, I learned of a book her son, John Walton, wrote about his mother.  Check out the website:  www.gladyswalton.com.  The stunning revelation is that she carried on a 10-year affair with gangster Al Capone.

Come on, Gladys, you held out on me!  I had no clue.

Who would have thought to ask her about a romance with the most infamous criminal of his day?

A lobby card from one of Gladys Walton's first films, Pink Tights.

A lobby card from one of Gladys Walton’s first films, Pink Tights.

Is it true, or just a claim made  to sell a few books?  After all, she was married (and having babies) during the time she supposedly carried on with Capone.  The clue, for me, is that the family eventually moved to Chicago, where  her husband, Henry Herbel, worked for Universal. Perhaps she found time to play around with Al. John further says that his grandson bares a remarkable resemblance to Al.

Could Gladys have bore Al Capone a son? Enquiring movie buffs and historians want to know. However, according to his mother’s wishes, John writes, that skeleton will remain in the closet.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Gladys!

Who's on the cover?

My favorite photo of Gladys Walton. The publisher used it on the cover of Dangerous Curves.

I treasure this little vase that Gladys gave me on my visit  to Glad's Castle.

I treasure this little vase that Gladys gave me on my visit to Glad’s Castle.

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