10 Scandals That Shocked Hollywood To The Core

2. Fatty Arbuckle

Roscoe Arbuckle was one of the great actors in the silent movie era. He had great comedic talent and he mentored Charlie Chapin and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. One of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, he enjoyed great success until one fateful night in September 1921. Arbuckle was at a Hollywood gathering when a lady of ill repute called Virginia Rappe fell ill. Her friend told authorities that Virginia had been raped by Arbuckle. Rappe had a ruptured bladder and peritonitis, but there were no traces on her body of sexual violence. Rumours about the unseemly episode grew and grew until Arbuckle was thought to have used a glass bottle to violently simulate sex with Rappe. The trial was greatly sensationalised by the press, with all sorts of stories about Arbuckle's private life being bandied about - how he used his great weight to compromise young women. In reality, Arbuckle had a reputation for chasteness in Hollywood but the lurid claims of Rappe's friend Bambina Delmont led to Arbuckle going on trial for first degree murder. Two trials ended in deadlock. The third trial finally acquitted Arbuckle of the charge. Throughout each trial, Arbuckle spoke calmly in his own defence about his version of events, maintaining grace under pressure when cross examined. The third trial found him innocent and the Jurors wrote a note of apology to Arbuckle. Virginia Rappe had chronic cystitis which flared up when she drank alcohol (which was very frequently despite Prohibition being in place at this time). Her fatal injuries were probably due to a botched abortion - a procedure Rappe had undergone many times. Her friend Bambina Delmont had a history of blackmailing famous men and she was generally a rampant, exploitative liar. Arbuckle's films had been banned by the third trial, he was absolutely broke from legal fees. He found it difficult to get acting work despite his acquittal and obvious talent. Arbuckle sought refuge from the travesty that had wrecked his life in the bottle and died a young man at 46. Throughout his trials, several other scandals - such as Olive Thomas dying by drinking her matinee idol husband - Jack Pickford's -,preparation for his syphilis, came to notice. William Hays, chief censor, went on to do a clean up operation in Hollywood eventually issuing the infamous Hay's Code to give Hollywood moral standards to live up to. Tragically, due to Hay's interference, most of Arbuckle's work was burnt, so we will never be able to fully appreciate his contribution to the silent cinema era.
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My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!