Jean Wallace: Hollywood Starlet Gone Bad

  Jean Wallace was a 1940s film actress who led a troubled and wild life. She was born to Polish parents in Chicago, but after graduating high school she moved to Hollywood and married sleazy actor Franchot Tone. He was 36 and she was 18.

 They stayed married for 7 years and had 2 sons together, but the marriage was unhappy and rife with infidelity. In 1946, Jean attempted suicide with sleeping pills. She claimed Tone was “jealous and violent,” and he claimed she was having sex with mobsters. The following year, she would dye her hair opalescent pink.

Jean and Franchot in a rare moment of bliss

 In 1949, she attempted suicide by stabbing her abdomen with a 14 inch knife after Christmas shopping with her sons. When asked why, Jean said “I just did it for laughs.” Then on Christmas eve, Jean crashed her car because Tone did not invite her over. 

 Jean claimed that police at the scene told her, “If you had been a nice girl to us we wouldn’t have arrested you,” and requested sexual favors from her. The police in turn complained that Jean had flashed her “black lace panties” at them. Jean claimed they were incorrect and that her panties “were actually blue.” 

  After 2 additional failed marriages, she gave up on men and lived in Beverly Hills with her pets: two snakes, a Chihuahua, a parrot, two rabbits, a tarantula, and a duck. She died alone in her home in 1990, at the age of 66.

2 thoughts on “Jean Wallace: Hollywood Starlet Gone Bad

  1. It’s odd that you guys don’t mention her marriage to actor Cornell Wilde which resulted in her most remembered Hollywood roles – lead parts in Wilde’s pictures THE BIG COMBO, SWORD OF LANCELOT, BEACH RED, and dystopian ecological sci-fi, NO BLADE OF GRASS.


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