Friday, January 27, 2017

Lila Leeds

    Lila Leeds (January 28, 1928 – September 15, 1999) was an American film actress.
    Born Lila Lee Wilkinson in Iola, Kansas, Leeds ran away from home as a teen. She worked as a dancer in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles. While working as a hatcheck girl at Ciro's, she met and married actor, composer, singer and conductor Jack Little. The marriage was annulled when Leeds discovered that Little was still married.
    After taking an acting course at the Bliss-Hayden School of Acting, Leeds signed with MGM and began appearing in film roles. Leeds appeared in the Red Skelton film The Show-Off (1946); Lady in the Lake (1947), based on a Raymond Chandler story; and in the Lana Turner vehicle Green Dolphin Street, where she played a Eurasian who drugs the leading man and rolls him for his money. She had a small part in So You Want to Be a Detective, which was part of the Joe McDoakes series of theatrical shorts.
    On September 1, 1948, Leeds gained notoriety for being arrested together with actor Robert Mitchum on charges of marijuana possession. She subsequently spent sixty days in jail.
    Considered a Lana Turner look-alike, Leeds was 20 years old and engaged to Turner's ex-husband Stephen Crane at the time of her arrest. Cheryl Crane, Turner and Stephen's daughter, wrote that Leeds first tried marijuana with members of Stan Kenton's orchestra and that she was introduced to heroin while in jail. After Leeds was arrested, Stephen Crane fled to Europe rather than become entangled in scandal.
    Although she starred in the Reefer Madness–style film She Shoulda Said No! (1949) following her release from prison, her acting career never recovered from the episode.

    Leeds left California in 1949. She moved around the Midwest where she worked in nightclubs, married and divorced twice, and had three children, Shawn, Ivan and Laura, all of whom live in Southern California. She eventually traveled back to Los Angeles in 1966 where she began studying religion and volunteered at local missions.

    According to the Social Security Death Index, Lila W. Leeds died on September 15, 1999.

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