Ziegfeld Follies Showgirl Hazel Forbes

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Less than a year after the death of his first wife, wealthy cosmetics executive Paul Owen Richmond was introduced to Ziegfeld Follies showngirl Hazel Forbes, and they quickly agreed to marry. The son of Owen and Matilda (Hoyman) Richmond, of the family of Rev. John and Susanna (Sturtz) Hoyman, Paul was a native of Prospect, Marion County, Ohio and had left home at the age of 18 to work for R.L. Watkins Company. He eventually was promoted to vice president of the Cleveland-based firm and was considered by the press as a millionaire. At its height, the Watkins firm employed 1,000 people and produced 150 different brands of soap, medicines and cosmetics in 11 different U.S. cities.

The 46-year-old Paul and 21-year-old Hazel were joined in holy wedlock in April 1931 in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Kennedysville, MD following a cruise on his yacht, accompanied by her mother. Hazel was divorced from her first husband, an automobile salesman, and in agreeing to marry Paul, pledged to give up her career and become a “musical comedy prima donna.”

But fate cruelly intervened. Less than a year later, Paul was stricken with double pneumonia and treated in Harbor Sanatorium in Manhattan, NY. Hazel sat at his bedside throughout the ordeal until his death on Jan. 16, 1932. His remains were transported to his Ohio hometown for burial. Their marriage had lasted for a mere nine months. Said a newspaper, “Since Richmond’s death … she has refused to accept offers for parts in new Broadway shows, saying that she will continue to obey the wishes of her husband and never return to the stage.”

Hazel’s promise did not last. She inherited Paul’s millions in cash and Watkins stock and lived a long life. For a time, she tried to participate in Watkins management but the business world was not to her liking. She sold her stock and pursued movie parts with poor success. She got her break in 1934, when she was cast in the RKO Pictures comedy film Down to Their Last Yacht, starring Mary Boland, Polly Moran and Ned Sparks. The plot features a wealthy family turned poor in the 1929 Wall Street crash who become so desperate that they rent their yacht for a host of misadventures. This image is a publicity photograph to promote that film, showing her at the entrance to her Hollywood Hills home. Enlarge this image>>>

She married for a third time in Miami Beach in 1938 and then a fourth in the early 1940s. More>>>

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