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