Hollywood always asked their actresses to be very thin, sometimes at great prices. Patricia Farley is a great example of a girl who wasn’t really fat but was nudged by studio brass to lose weight very quickly – this type of yo-yo dieting this is never a good idea. She managed to lose the weight at a large cost, as she became sick and almost died later. Luckily she got out of the rat race and lived happily in California. Let’s hear more about her.
Zedna May Farley was born on September 27, 1914, in Toronto, Canada, to Harry Farley and Betsy Morgan. Her older sister Minnie was born in 1913. Her father was a draftsman (drafting technician makes detailed technical drawings or plans for machinery) for a telephone company. The family moved to California in in 1919, and Zedna grew up in Pasadena, where she attended high school.
Since she was a beautiful girl not adverse to public appearances, Zedna participated in a number of beauty pageants and talent contests while in high school. In 1928, she was one of the Court of the Queens of the Valencia Orange Show–the “Queens” were future starlets Mona Rico and Dorothy Day.
Zedna won A “Miss Canada” title (to be clear, this was a contest held by the Southern California Canadian Society, she was not a Miss Canada in the full sense, chosen in Canada) later, in 1929. In 1930, she ran away from home to get married at only 16 years old. She soon realized her mistake and going to Reno was the result. She liked the city and decided to stay there working as hostess and later as entertainer In a night club, where she began to put on weight.
Patricia moved to new York not long after and she was employed for a time by a New York club. She won the notice of Paramount studio officials because of the way she exchanged flip repartee with Mae West while playing the tiny role of a hat check girl in “Night After Night,”. But it wasn’t an easy road – an observing pair of eyes in Paramount’s New York office, however, took more than passing note of Patty. Certain photographs, “stills” from the production, were brought out, the one of that particular scene was produced, and an informal council of New York advertising men agreed that Patricia was a good screen prospect. This opinion was wired to Hollywood, along with the suggestion that studio executives give the girl further opportunity. In the end, she was awarded a contract. And off she went!
Pat m,ade a few comedic shorts in 1932, and her first movie was the Mae West Night After Night – quite a successful concoction of delightful ingredients – George Raft, Mae West and Constance Cummings, with gangsters, drama and comedy! It’s an interesting movie definitely worth watching! Pat’s second movie was the Tarzan rip-off, King of the Jungle, with Buster Crabbe in the lead. Crabbe was actually an okay actor who doesn’t get the credit he deserves, and his movies are mostly very much watchable, including this one.
Then came the George Raft/Sylvia Sidney movie, Pick-up. Sidney was, as one reviewer perfectly wrote, “princess of gloomy tragedy” and she works this movie like a charm. Pat than made tow low budget westerns, Under the Tonto Rim and Sunset Pass, and as you know I never write about such movie so skip.
Patricia rounded of 1933 with perhaps the weirdest movie she has made, Narcotic. How to sum it up? Here is a great review from IMDB: “While not as over-the-top as Dwain Esper’s MANIAC or as professionally made as his MARIJUANA: WEED WITH ROOTS IN HELL, NARCOTIC is a unique film experience. It has a jumpy, elliptical style–sometimes the next scene may be a few days after the prior scene, sometimes a few months or even years. Add to this the use of stock footage from silent films (in the first half) and stock footage of animals killing each other (in the last third).Also, the script mixes philosophy with medical jargon with drug slang with hard-boiled dialogue. And Esper’s preference for odd, off-putting camera angles and introducing characters by showing their shadow.The whole thing, in under one hour, has a grimy feel to it.” An unusual movie experience, that’s for sure!
Pat appeared in three movies in 1933. All of Me, a so-so PreCode drama where Miriam Hopkins, in the leading role as a spoiled heiress, is the least interesting part of the movie, and the laurels go to George Raft as a ex con who can’t get a steady job to support his pregnant girlfriend. We also have Frederic March, but he’s almost not quite interesting. Good Dame was a movie in a similar vein, a so-so movie with some strange stuff in it. We again have Frederic March, but this time he plays a con-artist thug and speaks in a weird accent that’s totally unbelievable, and Sylvia Sidney, as the girl who believes she can reform him. You see where this plot is going? Yep, you guessed it! And since this is Sylvia Sidney we are talking about, you know it’s not gonna end well. Pat’s last movie is 1934 was the best one, the witty, sparkling comedy The Merry Widow, with Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier. Now this one is worth watching!
In 1935, Patricia started strong in Naughty Marietta, the first of the famous Jeanette MacDonald /Nelson Eddy pairings, and a charming, fluffy movie to boot! Classic Hollywood at it’s best, what can I say! Another minor classic was Diamond Jim, The story of legendary gambler Diamond Jim Brady and his romance with entertainer Lillian Russell, with Edward Arnold and Jean Arthur in the leads and Jean doesn’t even play Lillian, Binnie Barnes plays her!). Pat then appeared in a minor classic, Barbary Coast, with the grand team of Miriam Hopkins, Edward G. Robinson and Joel McCrea. Pat’s last movie was the charming whodunit Grand Exit, about tracking down an arsonist, with Edmund Lowe and Ann Sothern.
That was it from Patricia!
Patricia was known in Hollywood as the gal who looked like Gloria Swanson. I can see a slight resemblance, but not that much I have to say. Patricia married her first husband, Thomas B. Hearn, on November 3, 1930, when she was just 16 years old. Thomas Baker Hearn was born on September 21, 1907, in Connecticut/Rhode Island to William Hearn and Margaret baker. He was an electrician by trade. The marriage lasted only a short time, ending in June 1932 (and Patricia went to Reno and the rest is history!). On August 21, 1937, Thomas married Marylynn Ruth Titus. He died on may 27, 1962 in Los Angeles.
When Patricia landed in Hollywood, movie scouts told her she was overweight and would have to reduce. A contract was written, contingent on her weight at the end of one month. She dieted, exercised, submitted to pounding and twisting on the massage tables and took off 15 pounds in 30 days. It was considered a record, even In the movie colony. So she got the Job. Here are bits and pieces from her journey:
Fruit juices and .on small salad these Items make up three meals a day for Patricia Farley, eighteen, who believes a movie contract Is worth heroic dieting. ‘ Patricia, Canadian-born Pasadena girl whose beauty attracted attention on a mpvl set where sh wa working as an extra, has won bar contract by taking off fifteen pounds In thirty days, and sh Is still dieting and reducing, not to cease until she ha regained her normal weight of 118. ‘I weighed 145 pounds that day they first noticed me,” sh says, “I weighed 130 the day I signed the promised contract. Today I weigh. By a strict -liquid diet composed mainly, of fruit Juice anal supplemented by water she pulled down from 145 and she say shell maintain the rigorous scheduled diet til she reaches 115 pound. 125 and am losing pounds at the rate, of four a wek!”
“I’m not afraid my diet will hurt me, even though it Is rather stringent and it might not be good for others,” sh says. For breakfast she ha orange Juice, for lunch more of the same and the salad, and for dinner Just orange juice. , Coffee sh takes cream-less and sugarless. But diet Is only a small part of her reducing program; Exercise does the rest. This is what she did: Thirty minute of rope-Jumping, bicycling, rowing and bending exercises, ten minutes In the electronic vibrator, fifteen minutes in a steam bath, five minutes in hot and cold shower, thirty minutes of massage.
“I didn’t mind it a bit,” she said “The first two or three days the most difficult. I was not accustomed to so much exercise i my muscles became stiffened i sore. The diet didn’t bother m. all, for actually my menu was reasonable and adequate. I now convinced that the average woman eats far too much food today. Exercise is very important in reducing, and, in my case found it well to avoid too much sleep. Inactivity adds pounds, of course, adequate rest is essential.” Patricia Farley, weighing around 118 pounds, seems destined for a very happy and fortunate H wood career.
I don’t know what to say about this story – it’s heartbreaking and sad. This healthy young woman had to undergo extreme dieting conditions to be given a contract – while she did have a choice to just let it all go and give up Hollywood, we are well aware that she, in real life where stuff are grey and not black and white, was more or less pushed into it. And you think this just flows by without any serious damage to the person doing it? Not a chance, and it was pretty obvious that something was going to pop, sooner or later.
And that something came just a few short years later. Patricia was seriously ill with pneumonia for a few weeks in 1935. Several days before she was Injured in an automobile accident. In convalescence she took pneumonia. It was very much close to the edge for a time, and nobody knew for sure she would make it. The moral of the story: don’t do yoyo dieting. It truly doesn’t’ pay and get back at the user tenfold. Being slim/fit/not fat is a long and rhythmical process where a person must change her whole set of habits to integrate balance into his or her lifestyle. Otherwise it just wont’ yell. To some people it’s easier, to some it’s more difficult, but it’s always the same method (finding a middle road), just with a million different ways of achieving the goal.
Patricia’s illness changes her life drastically. She gave up Hollywood, and started playing a guitar at evangelistic services. Patricia married for the second time to Reuben B. Deweerd on March 9, 1938, long after she left Hollywood. Reuben was born on May 22, 1913 in Holland, Michigan, to Bert Deweerd and Sadie Waterman, the oldest of four children. His mother died in 1921 while giving birth to his youngest sister, Sadie. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1930s and became a professional cook. Sadly, this marriage did not last and they divorced in about 1940. Reuben later returned to Holland, Michigan, remarried to a local, Ruby Helena Weighmink, and died there in 1984.
Patricia married her third husband, Larry Morey, on March 7, 1942. Here is a short bio of Larry from IMDB;:
American lyricist and author Lawrence L. ‘Larry’ Morey was chiefly noted for co-writing (with the composer and songwriter Frank Churchill) the musical numbers for Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), including “Heigh-Ho”, “I’m Wishing” and “Whistle While You Work”. He also worked on the picture as a sequence director. His second claim to fame was adapting Felix Salten‘s 1923 book, “Bambi, a Life in the Woods”, for the screen (as well as co-writing the score with Churchill). Assisted by Perce Pearce, he is further credited with devising the characters of Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk, primarily to lighten the mood of the picture. One of the musical numbers from Bambi (1942), “Love is a Song”, was nominated for an Oscar, as was “Lavender Blue” (sung by Burl Ives) for So Dear to My Heart (1948). This piece was adapted from a popular folk song.
Morey worked for Disney from 1933, following stints at Paramount and Warners. He joined ASCAP in 1938.
It seems that third time was the charm for Patricia, as she hit the marital jackpot. The Moreys lived happily in Los Angeles until Larry’s death on May 8, 1971.
Patricia married Jack Winnett on 24 January 1973. Jack J. Winnett was born on may 2, 1917, in Los Angeles, to . He worked as an order clerk for a sporting goods wholesale store. The couple separated and divorced in 1977 and it was made final in 1979. Jack died on April 24, 1981.
Patricia married for the fifth and final time to Joe Paysnick on May 23, 1984. Saul Joseph Paysnick was born on December 14, 1922, in Massachusetts, to Abraham Paysnick and Rose Bore. He served in the US army during WW2 and continued working for the army after the war ended. He married Mavis Pauline Neibs on 26 Nov 1947 but they divorced in the 1950s. IMDB claims that Joe and Patricia divorced, but I couldn’t find any proof so let’s assume they remained married.
Zedna died on July 25, 2001, in California. Her widower Joe Paysnick died on February 17, 2007.