The tragedy of the “loveliest woman in America”

© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporationIn 1923, Rosamond Pinchot was a 19-year-old with lots of opportunities in life.

Tall and golden-haired, she lived in a townhouse on East 81st Street and attended exclusive Miss Chapin’s School.

Then, on a ship, she had a fateful encounter. She was returning to New York from a trip to Europe with her mother when theater bigwig Max Reinhardt spotted her.

Reinhardt wanted her as the lead in a play he would be directing on Broadway, The Miracle, about a nun who leaves her convent.

With no dramatic experience, she accepted the offer, skipping her official debut into society in favor of the stage.

Later that year, the play opened at the Century Theater on Central Park West. Rosamond blew everyone away.

Dubbed the “loveliest woman in America,” Rosamond became an It Girl of the 1920s and the toast of Hollywood.

Rosamondpinchot2She played the part for three years and took roles in other productions, until 1926, when she quit acting to do “serious” work.

She tried her hand at a variety of things: She studied history in college, sold real estate, then returned to the stage several times and made her only film appearance in 1935’s The Three Musketeers.

She also got married in 1928 to the grandson of a former Massachusetts governor and had two sons.

The marriage didn’t last—and her separation from her husband in 1936 “deeply affected” her.

Rosamond made her last theatrical appearance in 1937. The next year, at age 33, she committed suicide by poisoning herself with carbon monoxide in her garage on her estate in Long Island.

A note was left behind, but the contents were never divulged.

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5 Responses to “The tragedy of the “loveliest woman in America””

  1. Lady G. Says:

    Wow, that’s a sad end for her. She was truly a natural beauty. I never heard of her before.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    It is a sad end. Her granddaughter actually wrote a biography about her recently, for a more in-depth portrait:

  3. Alan Glaze Says:

    Interesting detail that’s never included in her biography. She was born and lived in the building located at 2 Gramercy Park West. Next door to where John Garfield died of a heart attack. Also, at the time she committed suicide, she was involved with Producer Jed Harris while they were having tryouts for “Our Town”, which she most probably saw in many incarnations, but never lived to see the premier on Broadway.

  4. cattychick Says:

    I loved Bibi Gaston’s book, “The Loveliest Woman in America.” Gaston creates a portrait of a family filled with equal amounts of success and tragedy. There is a huge amount of New York history in the book. A few paragraphs that describe the early days of Rosamund Pinchot’s marriage and life in New York are absolutely enchanting. Thanks for spotlighting this fascinating woman.

  5. The fourth day of Christmas: Ephemeral New York « Books Can Save A Life Says:

    […] a bittersweet tale, as well:  “The Tragedy of the Loveliest Woman in America” and “Notes Pinned to Babies at the Foundling […]

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