Biography (1987– )
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Linda Darnell: Hollywood's Fallen Angel 

Linda Darnell had the looks and talent to be a great Hollywood leading lady, but never quite delivered on her potential. This is the story of her rather sad life and tragically early death.


Hillary Atkin


Monica Regal


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Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Graves ... Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dorris Bowdon ... Herself - Actress (as Dorris Bowdon Johnson)
Undeen Darnell Hunter Undeen Darnell Hunter ... Herself - Sister
Linda Darnell ... Herself (archive footage)
Ronald Davis Ronald Davis ... Himself - Biographer
Alice Faye ... Herself - Actress
Howard Hughes ... Himself (archive footage)
A.C. Lyles ... Himself - Producer
Joseph L. Mankiewicz ... Himself (archive footage)
J. Peverell Marley J. Peverell Marley ... Himself (archive footage)
Lola Marley Lola Marley ... Herself - Daughter
Roddy McDowall ... Himself - Actor
James Robert Parish James Robert Parish ... Himself - Film Historian
Richard Widmark ... Himself - Actor


Linda Darnell had the looks and talent to be a great Hollywood leading lady, but never quite delivered on her potential. This is the story of her rather sad life and tragically early death.

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Release Date:

24 August 1999 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bio documentary featured on the 20th Century Fox 2005 DVD release of A Letter to Three Wives (1949). See more »


Features Fallen Angel (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Monetta Eloyse Darnell Goes Hollywood
29 May 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Well, the first two reviewers do an excellent job of summarizing this Biography of Linda Darnell, so I'll just add a few more details....

Peter Graves narrates this account of the life and career of Monetta Eloyse Darnell, from her October 16, 1923, birth in Dallas, Texas, the second daughter of four children born to a timid, mild-mannered postal, clerk Calvin Roy Darnell, and an eccentric, aggressive stage mother, Pearl Brown, who also has two children from a previous marriage.

Now, we mustn't forget Rudy the Rooster, who play a role as a Darnell family pet. Mother Pearl sees to it that Rudy the Rooster has his own pillow and bed in the family residence, as well as a place service at the table during family meals.

When Monetta travels to Hollywood with two other movie ingénue hopefuls, stage mother Pearl naturally tags along, with Monetta's siblings, as well as Rudy the Rooster, who arrives on the 20th Century Fox lot along with the others.

Once Monetta becomes screen star Linda Darnell (after her second trip to Hollywood), Mother Pearl is eventually barred from the lot, after making many demands, and causing much interference with her eccentricity.

After Linda's film career peaks and parts grow fewer and farther between, Linda begins to shine on the stages of Las Vegas, Broadway and in nation-wide tours. This mentions very little, if anything, of Linda's later television career.

Linda's marriages are with J. Peverell Marley (1942–51), Phillip Liebmann (1954–55), and Merle Roy Robertson (1957–63). With Pev Marley, Linda adopts daughter, Charlotte "Lola" Marley.

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Undeen Darnell Hunter (Sister), Lola Marley (Daughter), Actresses Alice Faye and Dorris Bowdon Johnson, Actors Roddy McDowall and Richard Widmark, A.C. Lyles (Producer), Ronald Davis (Biographer), and James Robert Parish (Film Historian).

Archive footage includes Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Jean Rogers, John Payne, Rita Hayworth, Laird Cregar, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda, Cornel Wilde, Rex Harrison, Jeanne Crain, Kirk Douglas, Thelma Ritter, Connie Gilchrist, Sidney Poitier, Howard Hughes, J. Peverell Marley, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Phillip Liebmann, Merle Roy Robertson, and Bruce Cabot.

Film Clips include a screen glimpse of Linda Darnell through the years, in scenes from "Hotel for Women" (1939), "Day-Time Wife" (1939), "Star Dust" (1940), "The Mark of Zorro" (1940), "Blood and Sand" (1941), "The Song of Bernadette" (1943), "Buffalo Bill" (1944), "Hangover Square" (1945), "Fallen Angel" (1945), "Anna and the King of Siam" (1946), "My Darling Clementine" (1946), "Forever Amber" (1947), "Unfaithfully Yours" (1948), "A Letter to Three Wives" (1949), "Black Spurs" (1965), plus her screen test for "Wayward Bus" (1957), in addition to MovieTone Newsreel footage of Linda Darnell's hand and footprints ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theater (1940), and WWII era war effort coverage at the Hollywood Canteen.

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