Sheila Terry Profile

Sheila Terry
Sheila Terry
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(Kathleen “Kay” Mulheren Clark)
5 March 10 is born in Warroad, Minnesota. She is a direct descendant of John Wycliffe, who translated the Bible. Shortly afterward, her family moves to Toronto, Canada, where she is educated at the Canadian branch of the Royal Academy of London.
? trains in a Toronto stock company for seven months under the stage name Sheila Terry, where she plays important roles at the Empire Theatre for several months.
27 goes to New York, where she will remain for six months, and gets the lead in the hit play The Little Racketeer. She does not struggle finding a job. The fact of the matter is, she asked for a job and got it. She eats regularly, lives comfortably, and her shoes are always in good repair/is so confident on securing a theatrical job, which she had been informed was open, that she gambles her last two dollars on fare to the theater. After a tryout, however, she is informed she will not do for the part. Discouraged and blue, she is leaving the theater when Max Arnow, casting director for Warner Brothers studio, sees her. He recognizes her screen possibilities and offers her a screen test. The test is made in New York, where she breathlessly waits while it is shipped to Hollywood, where a decision will be made.
27 understudies Queenie Smith in New York and studies under John Hutchins
returns home to Minnesota to claim an inheritance. She inherits from a rich uncle only if she teaches for two years. She will later say: "One of my very earliest desires was to go on the stage. But my folks had me trained to become a school teacher on the insistence of a rich uncle who was that way about education. I certainly do not regret the training, nor the later experience of teaching, for it gave me an understanding and appreciation of many things which I would otherwise have missed. Books and music—especially books—are my chief sources of enjoyment."
27-29 teaches in country schools in Minnesota
16 August 28 marries Major Laurence E. Clark, New York banker
29 the stock market crashes. She later says: “I had really decided to stick to teaching, both because I came to like it and out of respect and gratitude to my late departed uncle. But with the stocks wiped out and no dividends coming in to bring my salary up to anything that a person could live on, I decided to take what I had saved and take another stab at being Sheila Terry. Besides, my two-year period of teaching was just about up and I had fulfilled the obligations of the will.”
15 August 30 separates from her husband, Major Laurence E. Clark
24 March 32 it’s the end of the line for the train at the Hollywood station, but for her it’s the beginning of a new career in films
12 May 32 caught between the devil and the deep blue sea—that is to say, between the Dickstein bill, which would ban the further importation of other than exceptional foreign players, and demands by established stars for increased salaries and the right to dictate vehicles—Hollywood's major studios today are engaged in an unprecedented talent-recruiting drive. Coupled with it, and perhaps of greater importance, is the almost universal decision by producers to train the more promising newcomers for future stardom. A telegraphic survey by the Herald resulted in the disclosure that there are no less than 63 actors and actresses regarded by the six major film companies as star material: Sheila Terry, Carole Lombard, Sylvia Sydney, Frederick March, Randolph Scott, Cary Grant, and Spencer Tracy, just to name a few
Dan Thomas dishes some gossip from Hollywood: “And now certain actresses are wondering what would be a fit punishment for one of their number who continually flaunts the fact that she doesn't have to diet. . . . Practically everyone likes potatoes. . . Yet, at least half our actresses don’t dare eat them. . . . So whenever she is around other actresses, young Shelia Terry orders potatoes.” In fact, her favorite food is mashed potatoes.
9 July 32 three New York girls now at studios in Hollywood have gone pajama in a big way. They are Betty Gillette, Gloria Shea and Sheila Terry. Each wears street costumes of pajamas and each is trying to top the other in the size of her collection.
14 July 32 models the very latest thing in swanky beach apparel
28 July 32 according to her, stripes are quite the thing for the summer wardrobe. She wears a washable rayon frock with a white kid-belt and a porky boutonniere of felt with contrasting colors
6 August 32 "Why is it," asks she, "that people always say you look like someone else in Hollywood?” "Whom do they say you look like?" asks David Manners. "Schnozzle Durante," volunteers Lloyd Bacon, their director, who hitherto had had no part in the conversation. Then he ran.
20 September 32 offers a beauty tip: “How many times have we seen an otherwise well-groomed woman whose smartness is marred by a sprinkling of black dust under her
eyelashes where the mascara has brushed off? To prevent this I dust liberally over my cheeks and around my eyes with powder before applying mascara. Then after the mascara has dried on, I brush the powder off with a small, soft brush, and the surplus mascara, which has fallen off into the powder, comes off with it.”
14 October 32 is photographed for papers across the country: “Wide eyes, full lips, high arched eyebrows—that's the new angle in Hollywood. And angle photography accentuates the angular chin line. Joan Crawford first set the wide-eyed style, and here Sheila Terry displays her angles of beauty.”
18 October 32 models a hand-made tweed suit in brown and orange, which matches the autumn colors out of doors. It has a high collar of galyak. The skirt is wraparound in style, and the short jacket has bloused sleeves and side closing. Accessories are brown.
22 October 32 Harriet Parsons announces: “B. P. Schulberg borrows Sheila Terry from Warners for the second lead in Madame Butterfly. I'm told Warners calls Miss Terry their Joan Crawford, but I'll keep an open mind in the matter anyway."

25 October 32 wears a charming street ensemble of black crepe. It features a shoulder cape fastening high, but without a collar, and banded in silk braid. Accessories include a black satin hat with tucked brim, black suede gloves, and black pumps.
27 October 32 a clotheshorse again, this time she wears a street frock black-banded with ermine. It has the well-liked bell sleeves and cape collar, both of which are embellished with the fur.
9 December 32 is photographed in a smart tailored evening gown that she will wear in her latest picture, Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing. It's of metallic silk tweed in tones of gold and brown.
16 December 32 no, it isn't a new hair curling device that’s shown in newspapers across the country. It's an instrument used in Hollywood to calibrate beauty. At the moment she is being tested. The device has revealed there are no perfect faces in Hollywood.
5 January 33 Robin Coons has noticed: “Sheila Terry, for whom a brighter movie future looms, has had the rather unusual experience of playing in 25 pictures during her nine months in the films. Of these, of course, only a few have had her in roles better than bits. She has the second lead in Madame Butterfly and has been featured in Scarlet Dawn and You Said A Mouthful. Nearly all her other appearances have been walk-ons—as secretaries usually, roles in which she had a line or two to say. In one film she began with a fairly good role, only to have it cut to one appearance and one line of dialogue before shooting began.
15 January 33 displays a black crepe frock with metallic sleeve trimming in nove design and an unusual shoulder effect
25 January 33 plays snowball polo with Eleanor Holm, Olympic swim champion and movie actress, at Lake Arrowhead. The idea is to cage as many snowballs as possible, or to provide as much good publicity at you can for your movie company.
5 February 33 thinks of going back to Minnesota while she flounders in Hollywood for one year, waiting for studio execs to do something with her career. They must like her, because they continue to pick up her option each time it comes due.
12 February 33 models a Paquin ensemble of brown and yellow, the coat being brown and yellow tweed trimmed with Russian galyak—a trimming that is much in evidence in the spring showings in Paris, and a brown felt hat
19 February 33 wears a navy blue sailor of shiny straw when she lunches at the Ambassador with her mother. Her street frock was of navy blue wool crepe with an Ascot scarf of white pique, very wide at the ends.
19 March 33 if she, who is John Wayne's leading woman in his latest Western melodrama Haunted Gold, has her way, she’ll never play in another ghost picture as long as she lives. "After spending a couple of weeks in an old deserted mining town and living in a house filled with sliding doors, secret passages, and ghosts that scurry up and down stairways, I needed a week's rest, so that I could get some decent sleep at night. It was a lot of fun working with John Wayne and I think Western pictures are tremendously exciting—but I'll take my excitement in less harrowing doses hereafter, if you please.".
7 April 33 we are told her name is pronounced Shy-la Terry
12 April 33 dances at the Cocoanut Grove with an unknown, wearing a midnight blue taffeta ensemble—the jacket like a man's Tux—topped by a white pique sailor, like her white pique vest
3 May 33 taffeta suits and dresses and taffeta little jackets for summer party frocks bring quaint charm to warm weather styles. She wears a black double breasted taffeta suit with white pique shawl collar, vestee and stock, white gloves and hat and carries a white purse with it. The pumps are black moire.
2 July 33 in the selection of the feminine members of the cast for the Warner Brothers picture Private Detective 62, William Powell, the star, insisted that they all be picked with an eye to curves. He appraised with the critical eye all the women selected to play with him in the film and finally approved the six who have important roles in the picture. Margaret Lindsay, his leading lady, is slender enough to meet the approval of the fashion designer, but she also has plenty of the curves he likes. The other five differ considerably in form, some being petite and others tall, but they all have the necessary curves. These five are Sheila Terry Natalie Moorhead, Ann Hovey, Renee Whitney and Ruth Donnelly. If a woman is tall with a large frame, she needs "plenty of meat"—his own words—to look her best, according to Powell. If small, she should have curves just the same. In Private Detective 62, five of the six ladies are of the seductive type used to fascinate men as a means for getting divorce evidence.
3 July 33 Warner executives are watching 13 embryo stars who have already appeared in recent productions. They are Barbara Rogers, Sheila Terry, Patricia Ellis, Alice Jans, Rena Whitney, Helen Mann, Maxine Cantway, Jayne Shadduck, Dick Powell Lyle Talbot, Preston Foster, Allen Jenkins, Harold Huber.
9 July 33 makes her debut as a full-fledged leading woman in The Silk Express. She has played in an even dozen Warner Brothers pictures the past year, but this is the first time she makes her bow in the chief feminine role. Her rise may not have been as rapid as some, but it was steady and even.
24 August 33 is 5 feet five inches tall, weighs 115 pounds and has blue eyes and blonde hair
19 October 33 Louella reports: “Dozens and dozens of long distance telephone calls received by Sheila Terry from Vincent Lopez, orchestra leader; Miss Terry blonde movie interest in Louder Please, local stage play, whispered as the favored one in Lopez' life.”
28 October 33 Harriet Hilliard, the songstress who asked an annulment of her marriage to Roy Sedley, comedian, first thought of going to Reno for the Nevada-style divorce. But Miss Hilliard, it so happens, sings with an orchestra whose leader is a full-fledged lawyer—Ozzie Nelson. When the blond singer told him her plans, Ozzie looked into an earlier marriage of Sedley to Sheila Terry, screen actress, and advised Harriet to stay right here in New York and ask for an annulment. That's what she did. You may have seen in the papers that Harriet maintained the Sedley-Terry divorce decree had a technicality that should have prevented his marrying again.
15 February 34 is awarded a divorce from Major Laurence E. Clark. The actress said her husband criticized her hands, told her that her feet were too large, that she was a rotten singer, a terrible dancer, and awkward as an ox. “Besides, he didn’t support me,” she said, although her husband was reported to be wealthy. Suit was filed under her family name Kathleen Mulheren Clark. Judge Douglas Edmonds granted the divorce on charges of mental cruelty.
25 February 34 Louella sees “Sheila Terry lunching with John Warburton: where has Warburton been for the last few months?”
27 August 36 elopes with William “Billy” Magee Jr., whom reports named as the probable bridegroom of Mrs. Muriel Vanderbilt Phelps.
29 August 36 Mrs. William A. Magee Sr., of Oakland, mother of William A. Magee Jr., wealthy San Francisco clubman, today denied reports that her son had eloped with Sheila Terry. "I am sure my son has not been married," said Mrs. Magee when informed eastern dispatches stated Magee had eloped. Magee was divorced in 1933 by Mrs. Edith Grant Magee, who later married Peter McDean, Hillsborough socialite. Magee’s name was romantically linked with that of Mrs. Muriel Vanderbilt Phelps, granddaughter of the late James Fair.
24 October 37 marries William Magee of San Francisco
26 October 37 Ted Apstein, lawyer, disclosed in Supreme Court yesterday that his client, Sheila Terry, had married William McGee of San Francisco Sunday night. The announcement was made at a hearing on her application for an injunction to prevent the use of her name in an act. "Where's Miss Terry?” asked the judge. Apstein replied that she was on her honeymoon.
? divorces Magee
9 December 37 Mrs. Barbara Moulton Hutton Phillips Gerstle Magee, whose third marriage was to Dr. Mark Lewis Gerstle Jr., of Hillsborough, today had been released from her fourth marriage by Nevada courts. Mrs. Magee was granted a divorce at Carson City on grounds of mental cruelty. Her latest husband, William A. Magee Jr., member of a socially prominent family of the bay region, is manager of extensive interests in ranching and livestock at Yerington, Nevada. The couple was married last March 14 at Carson City, just a few weeks after the bride had obtained a divorce from Doctor Gerstle, who is a noted psychiatrist. She was Doctor Gerstle's third wife. His fourth, Mrs. Katherine Chase Conrad Gerstle, is reported living in Reno in preparation for obtaining a divorce. Marriages of Mrs. Magee, in order, were to Douglas English Hutton, Grattan Phillips, Gerstle and Magee. Magee has been married three times. Other marriages were to Mrs. Joseph D. Grant, who later married socially prominent Peter McBean, and to actress Sheila Terry, from whom he was divorced shortly before marrying the then Mrs. Gerstle.
19 June 40 Winchell reports: “…the former Sheila Terry and H. Edward Manville, Jr., are rumored uniting when their divorces become final in September…”
11 August 41 Magee dies from a heart attack at his Oakland home The real estate executive and sportsman was vice president at the San Francisco firm Thomas Magee and Sons. Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Josephine Bernard Ritter Magee, daughter Edith, son John, and his parents.
42 starts working as a press agent
13 April 52 Winchell tells “Baron Henry Hennett is wooing Sheila Terry.”
24 December 52 so says Cholly Knickerbockers: “Lovely Sheila Terry, former actress and ex of the late William A. Magee of the very social San Francisco clan, and producer Tay Garnett have renewed their romance of some years back.”
13 June 56 Winchell found out: “Garbo's cousin Edward Gustave Jacobson and pretty publicist Shele Terry are enthralled. . .”
19 January 57 her body is discovered in the third floor apartment that serves as her home and office. A friend and neighbor, Jerry Keating, went to the apartment when he failed to reach her on the phone. The door was locked, and she did not answer the bell. Keating called the police; they broke in and found her body on the bedroom floor, her back leaning against the bed. Five capsules, contents gone, were on the floor beside her.
friends later tell police that she returned from a trip to Mexico a few days before her death and that she was ill when she came home.
is broke at the time of her death. Nobody claims her body, so she is buried on Hart Island, aka Potter’s Field, in New York City.
12 February 57 in his My New York, Mel Heimer sadly remembers: “This is a town full of hustlers and bustlers, of ham actors and conniving used-car salesmen, of mugs and thugs, and here and there somebody you wouldn't mind inviting to your house for dinner. This is a town full of everyone—and people like Shele Terry. Her name really was Sheila; a couple of years ago she came across an astrologer or numerologist or some such joker who told her she'd have great good luck if she changed it. So she made it Shele. When she first told me about it she kidded around, but I thought that underneath it she was half-serious, half-hoping the swami's advice would be right. She could have used some good luck. I first met her in the early 1940s. By that time her movie career was behind her. I never did get to know where she came from—and I guess even she didn't know where she was going exactly—but I did know that back in the middle 1930s she was a young Hollywood starlet. She squeezed out something of a living for it and I remember she said she once got $100 for three days' acting in something called Bars of Hate that years later began turning up on television amid the clutter of Mae Busch and Jack Holt spectaculars.
When I met her, she was a press agent in New York. She was beginning to fade a little but she still had a good part of her looks—she resembled a taller Tallulah Bankhead—and she dressed smartly, if a little gaudily. She was a nervous, taut woman but I liked her immediately, if only for the reason that she told me straight tales about her clients. If she was representing, say, a hair-dresser she couldn't stand, she said so flatly. At the same time she was professional enough to point out possible angles in the barber's life that might be newsworthy. She never represented anyone worth writing about, really. Most of the time she worked for other press agents—for a long time she was with a man named Ted Howard—and she seldom got anything as surefire, journalistically, as a Marilyn Monroe or Marlon Brando to peddle to the newsmen. I don't know why. Maybe she wasn't pushy enough. Or unethical enough. Honest press agents don't grow on trees. I think, but am not sure, that she was married once and it bad broken up. Whatever her past, when I met her she was uncertain and, I guess, a little fearful of where she was going to end up. She had nice, widely-spaced blue eyes and, because I dramatize, I thought I could see, behind them, a deep worry about whether she could keep body and soul alive. And, I fancied, a longing to be settled and happy and the humdrum mother of three. Sheila Terry nearly always was unhappy but not on purpose, the way Freud tells us some mixed-up, masochistic ladies are.
Here and there, there were men in her life. She stayed fairly attractive through the years. Once, after I had interviewed one of her ham-and-egg clients, I dropped by at her little west side apartment for a quick martini and while I was there, some clown pounded on her door heavily and said to let him in. he had to see her. "He'll go away," Sheila said calmly, and he did. It was kind of funny, except I guess it wasn't really. I saw her last about a month ago. I met her in the street and we walked for a while and she told me she had moved to an even smaller apartment because things weren't going so good. Also, she had begun a minor-league love affair with an editor around town and because he was married and was going to stay that way. It wasn't going anywhere for Sheila. "Except don't tell me to break it off," she said, “because that's easier to say than do."
In all the years she was in New York, she kept bucking the rough waters; the only thing that ever made her bitter was that television was using her old movies and she wasn't getting any money from them. A couple of days ago I picked up a newspaper and saw that Shele Terry, nee Sheila, had taken too many of the little pink pills and wouldn't awaken ever again. Chalk one up for the cold city.
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