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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spooky Saturday ... Virginia Rappe

Who was Virginia Rappe? I normally would not spend much time going over the life of who I am profiling, but as there was not much dealing with her as far as her ghost stories go, it seems to warrant it.   

Virginia, like many of the stars and starletts that I have done research on for my series of  spooky ghost tales, had a most unfortunate life and one that like the others was cut short in a most tragic of ways. The daughter of  Mabel Rapp, Virgina was born in  New York City. Unfortunately for Virginia, her mother Mabel died when Virginia was 11. From what I was able to gather reading what little I could find on young Virginia, she was sent to be raised by her grandmother in Chicago. When she reached the age of  14 she began working as a commercial and art model in Chicago. She must have lead a life of needing love and putting herself in situations to receive it, as it is reported that Rappe had at least two abortions by the time she was 15.


In 1916, she headed west to San Francisco in efforts to further her career as an artist's model. Once there, she met dress designer Robert Moscovitz, and soon after they became engaged. Tragedy again touched young Virginia's life.  Not long after the couples engagement, Moscovitz was killed in a streetcar accident. Unable to stay in the city where she had found her true love she moved onto Los Angeles. In the early part of  1917 she found work as an actress, a step up in her career. 
Director Fred Balshofer gave Virgina a  role in his Paradise Garden opposite popular screen star Harold Lockwood...Balshofer would employ Virginia in one other film.
Things seemed to be going positively for her. However not even a year later, in 1918, she gave birth to a child; she gave the child up for foster care. No longer out of the loop of actresses that could be hired, Balshofer  hired her again to costar with an early drag performer by the name of  Julian Eltinge as well as then  newcomer Rudolph Valentino in Over the Rhine 

Virgina was to be awarded the title  "Best Dressed Girl in Pictures". *The film was not released until 1920 when Balshofer recut it and released it under the title An Adventuress and later in 1922 as The Isle of Love.

  Later in the year 1919, she met and began a relationship with a director/producer by the name Henry Lehman. She once again had found love. She appeared in four of his films , however as all of his work seem to be lost to the world there is not a single shred of evidence to this fact.

 The beginning of the end.

There seems to be a gap after the information I was able to gather, however it is known that Fatty asked his friend Bambina Maude Delmont to bring Virginia to the party he was throwing to celebrate his 3 million dollar contract. The party occurred on Labor Day 1921 at the St. Francis Hotel (now known as the Westin St. Francis). Virginia would die in San Francisco. In one of the rooms rented out for the party (1219/1220)the beginning of the end happened.

 Where there seems to be only a small amount of details of Virginia's early life, and a bulk of it filled with heart ache, there is ample amounts of information about her death....and who was accused of her death. It was and still is one of the biggest scandals to rock Hollywood. 

The cause of death is listed as a ruptured bladder after a short illness.The scandal portion comes in the form that Fatty Arbuckle was reported to have raped poor Virgina while he was in a drunk rage. No one truly knows for sure, but you can read more HERE...if the whispering reports are true, it was a savage and despicable act indeed.But it was never proved and eventually Fatty was found innocent. No matter how it happened, it was truly tragic and very untimely as she was only 26 years of age and just beginning on her Hollywood journey. Not only was Virginia in many ways blamed for her own death, as she was reported to be a party girl, famous for taking her clothing off and therefore asking for trouble, which in itself is so tragic to have said about you after your passing, even though it appears from many reports to be true, but it also ruined the career of Fatty. 

A plain wooden coffin, within the Hollywood Cemetary was the final resting place of Virginia.
Obviously someone cares enough to leave tokens for Virgina.

 I wish I could say that Virginia finally found happiness on the other side of the grave, but that sadly is not the case. Virginia's ghost is said to wonder around the area she is buried and weep. Loud sobs are heard, broken hearted over her lost life and career. One could hardly blame her. 

To read more about the story of the happenings leading up to her death, the trial of Fatty and the outcome...follow these links...

A slide show of photos of Victoria Rappe

The mini biography of Fatty Arbuckle


  1. I think Virginia was adorable. I know how hard it is to find info on her as I tried once many years back. When I was at the Forever Hollywood Cemetary I looked for her grave marker and felt a sadness when I stood there looking at it. Her life was so sad it seems and her reputation always connected to gossip. I hope she has moved on spiritually and has found peace.

  2. Such a sad life story ... you're right, she has reason to moan, I'd say! Loving your spooky stores! ;) xoxo

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou

  3. Hi Ruby! As always I learn something new when I visit your blog. Always enjoy. After reading about Virginia Rappe, I truly felt sorry for this girl. Constant heartache, then to die like that, and possibly not be resting in peace. Sad.

    Thank for sharing your stories,

  4. I've visited her grave. It's such a sad story! Kori xoxo

  5. Hi Ruby,

    Her story breaks my heart on so many levels. It was pure injustice how they handled the whole thing, party girl or not, nobody deserves to have suffered the way she did. It also breaks my heart on how society can portray that it's the woman's fault in a rape case. Virginia Rappe was a beautiful woman. A beauty who had such a wonderful future ahead of her. Her soul shines on. I'm going to visit her at the cemetary and bring her flowers :)

  6. Very well put last reader that commented...I hope you will put a flower there for me as well!

  7. The topmost photo is not Virginia Rappe, but Margarita Fischer.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Thank you Bob for clearing that up. The photo used was one attached to a web site all about Virginia so I could only go by what was posted. Often it is hard to tell who is who in the earlier photos. I have removed the photo from this post.

  10. I just noticed the other site. Let's keep it our secret ;-}

  11. Ruby, you and your readers may be interested in listening to Frank Thompson's interview with researcher Joan Meyers talking about Virginia Rappe:

    I've also been interviewed by Frank (about other movie-related things) at:

  12. The links seem not to have made the trip.


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