The sad life of famous Twenties model Audrey Munson

Nude_Audrey_Munson_-_Heedless_Moths

Audrey Munson was fifteen when she was began her modeling career as a nude model for sculptors and painters. From 1906 until 1921, she was the preferred model for so many artists she became famous. She starred in several silent films and has the dubious distinction of being the first woman to appeal fully nude in an American film. 220px-Audrey_Munson1(Inspiration, 1915–a lost silent film; Purity 1916 is her only film that still exists) Both films were semi-autobiographical, about a model who poses for artists. 

Star,_for_the_%22Colonnade_of_Stars,%22_Court_of_the_Universe_building,_1915_Panama_Pacific_International_Exposition,_San_FranciscoA scandal involving a lover and murder brought her negative publicity and ruined her film and modeling career, and she tried to kill herself with mercury bichloride, a poison used by other famous people in the film world. Her attempt failed, but she declined into mental illness. In 1931, a judge sentenced her to a psychiatric facility where she remained until 1996–she died at the St. Lawrence State Hospital for the Insane at the age of 104.

$(KGrHqZ,!owF!F0PPH!IBQI+UncFng~~60_3Mourning_VictoryI became interested in this sad story because it was yet another example of a famous silent movie actor using mercury bichloride to kill themselves. I use that poison in several of my books. Sunset-FC-October-1915

 

 

 

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Published in: on April 24, 2016 at 6:41 pm  Comments (7)  
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  1. She was not the first, in January of 1915 in Lois Webers Hypocrites Margaret Edwards appeared fully nude frontal, Inspiration was not released until later in the fall.

  2. In January of 1915 Lois Weber’s film Hypocrites was released with Margaret Edwards who was the first to be in film fully frontal nude Inspiration by Thanhouser was not released until the fall of that yr..

  3. Her life reminds me of Evelyn Nesbit and her husband – Harry Thaw. Thaw was a spoiled little mad-man who killed architect Standord White over the later’s affair with Evelyn. Became the movie (though greatly sanitized for the time period) “The Girl On The Red Velvet Swing”. Another young and famous beauty whose life was so severely damaged by the men she attracted. Are you working on a story about Munson? Thanks for posting this.

    • No, I;m not working on a story about Munson; I came across it and was interested in the connection to mercury bichloride. However, knowing the story makes it possible that I could work into my next book a character who is a nude model.

  4. Weirdly enough, I recently listened to an episode of the podcast 99% Invisible that featured her. I live near Audubon Park in New Orleans, where one of Isidore Kanti’s sculpture fountains is located, and I tried to find out if she was the model for it. In the end, I don’t think she was, but I always think of her when I walk past it now.
    http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/miss-manhattan/

    I love your Roaring 20s series, by the way. I’ve listened to The Impersonator multiple times!

    • thanks for the compliment, Brenda. #3 in the series comes out this August.


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