Rudolph Valentino by Tom Tierney, 1979. Tom was a fashion illustrator when he put together a book of paper dolls for his mother featuring stars from the 1930s. It was a hit with her and others who saw it--including a literary agent. And so in 1976 "Thirty from the '30's" was published by Prentice-Hall for a wider audience. A star was born! And the King of the Paper Dolls was on his way. Soon Dover Publications came calling, and they have published his books ever since.
Regarding "Thirty from the 30's": The art was black and white, another tribute to the era, and Tom scattered trivia questions throughout. If you see this oversized book anywhere, grab it. Highly collectible, hard to find.
Marie Dressler, just one of the stars in the book. You'll also find Cary Grant, Fay Wray, Tyrone Power, Jeanette MacDonald, Fred Astaire, Anna May Wong...
You can read more about Tom Tierney and his paper dolls, on his web site .
Dover has a full line of Tom Tierney books, of course. And you can find many other classic movie star paper dolls at Paper Studio Press.
Tom Tierney has inspired many others. Ralph Hodgdon, Gregg Nystrom, Marilyn Henry, David Wolfe, Brenda Mattox, Jim Howard, Sandy Vanderpool and Norma Lu Meehan are just a few of the current artists who study classic films and bring the stars and their costumes to life via paper dolls. I'll post more of their work in the days leading up to the Academy Awards.
Joan Crawford by Gregg Nystrom
Also highly collectible but hard to find are the movie star paper dolls that appeared during the stars' heyday. The movies of many of these stars are lost to us, and their names are only faintly remembered.
UPDATE: Lila Lee may not be well known to most people, but here's a strange coincidence: She starred opposite Valentino and Nita Naldi (see above) in Blood and Sand. But more fantastically, she had a son, James Kirkwood Jr., (his father, Sr., was also a silent film star). Young Kirkwood wrote the play, A Chorus Line, for which he was awarded the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize in 1976. That is some fantastic show biz legacy. Also, Jr. wrote books that I read in high school (Good Times/Bad Times, There Must Be a Pony) that I will have to revisit. What would we do without Wikipedia?
UPDATE: Helen Mack was Molly Malloy in His Girl Friday. One of my favorite movies. Once again, Wikipedia sets me straight.
Other stars have endured...no Wikipedia research necessary for the Garbo.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center has an excellent exhibit up, now extended through March 10, about film promotion in the silent era. Here's the front page of the exhibit brochure, actually a broadsheet.
Here's a video preview of the exhibit:
For more fabulous flickers, click the logo below. The gentleman pointing the way is a young Claude Rains!