A Woman to Know: Alla Nazimova

The actor should be an instrument played upon by the character he depicts. — Alla Nazimova

(image via Wikimedia Commons)

In the early 1920s, Alla's sprawling mansion on Sunset Boulevard (known as "Garden of Alla" to those in-the-know) enraptured Hollywood gossip columns. When the beloved silent actress wasn't stealing scenes in big-screen renditions of Ibsen and Chekhov classics, she was hosting elaborate parties -- always attended by "close female friends." Soon enough, Alla's "sewing circles" (yes, she originated the code-speak) spun at the center of the Hollywood rumor mill. People whispered her marriage was a sham (the couple ultimately divorced), her finances were in ruin (she later had to convert the "Garden" into a hotel to make ends meet) and her "close friends" were actually clandestine lesbian lovers (later Allah seriously said, yeah, duh).

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