Fairchild, Wisconsin, USA
Place of Death
Pacific Palisades, California, USA
Cause of Death
Suicide- overdose of Seconal
Claim to Fame
One Million BC (1940)
Actor/Actress, Soundtrack, Writer
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Landis was born Frances Lillian Mary Ridste in Fairchild, Wisconsin to a Norwegian father, Alfred Ridste, and Polish mother, Clara Stentek Ridste. Her father abandoned the family before Carole was born. Author E. J. Fleming reported that Alfred Ridste may not have been Carole`s birth father and that her biological father was most likely Charles Fenner, Clara Ridste`s second husband. Carole was the youngest of five children. Two of her brothers died in childhood – Jerome was burned by scalding water and Lewis was accidentally shot. She had an unhappy childhood filled with poverty and sexual abuse. She blossomed into a stunning teenager and began winning local beauty contests. She was also an early feminist who tried to form an all-female football team in high school. Landis married a Irving Wheeler, a neighbor, in January 1934 but this marriage was annulled in February 1934. They later remarried on 25 August 1934, but divorced in 1939. She quit high school at age 15 and set herself on a path towards a career in show business.
Landis worked as a nightclub singer and a hula dancer in San Francisco before her 1937 film debut as an extra in A Star Is Born. She dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to "Carole Landis" after her favorite actress, Carole Lombard. Carole landed a contract with Warner Brothers and had a high profile engagement to choreographer Busby Berkeley. She continued appearing in bit parts until 1940 when Hal Roach cast her as a cave girl in One Million B.C. The movie was a sensation and turned Carole into a star. She was nicknamed "The Ping Girl" (which was supposed to be short for purring) and "The Chest" due to her impressive 36 DD inch bust. Although she desperately wanted to be taken seriously as an actress she was willing to pose for endless cheesecake photos if it helped her career. Carole`s trademark was a gold cross she always wore around her neck, which had been a gift from her friend Diana Lewis.
Tall, lean, glamorous and with a strong singing voice, Landis appeared in a string of successful films in the early forties, usually as the second female lead. In a time when the singing of many actresses was dubbed in, Landis`s own voice was considered good enough and was used in her few musical roles. Landis landed a contract with 20th Century Fox and began a sexual relationship with Darryl F. Zanuck. She had roles playing opposite fellow pin-up girl Betty Grable in Moon Over Miami and I Wake Up Screaming, both in 1941. When Carole ended her relationship with Zanuck, her career suffered and she was assigned roles in B-movies.
Her marriage to second husband, yacht broker Willis Hunt Jr., lasted just four months. She then married an Army Air Corps captain named Thomas Wallace in 1943, but this marriage also ended in divorce. Her many boyfriends included Franchot Tone, Gene Markey, Charlie Chaplin, and George Montgomery. Landis became a popular pin-up with servicemen during World War II. In 1942, she toured with comedienne Martha Raye, dancer Mitzi Mayfair and actress Kay Francis with a USO troupe in England and North Africa. Two years later, she entertained soldiers in the South Pacific with Jack Benny. Landis traveled more than 100,000 miles during the war and spent more time visiting troops than any other actress. She nearly died from amoebic dysentery and malaria she contracted while traveling overseas.
Besides being an actress, Landis was also an accomplished author. She penned several newspaper and magazine articles about her experiences during the war, including the 1944 book Four Jills in a Jeep, which was later made into a movie. She also wrote the foreword to Victor Herman`s cartoon book Winnie The WAC. In 1945 she starred on Broadway in the musical A Lady Says Yes with Jacqueline Susann, with whom she evidently fell in love and had an affair.Jacqueline purportedly based the character Jennifer North in her book Valley of the Dolls on Landis. In 1945, Landis married Broadway producer W. Horace Schmidlapp, who had been introduced to her by Jacqueline. She desperately wanted to become a mother, but according to numerous biographies, she suffered from endometriosis and was unable to have children.
Landis was plagued by depression her entire life and attempted suicide in 1944 and 1946. By 1948, her career was in decline and her marriage with Schmidlapp was collapsing. She entered into a romance with actor Rex Harrison, who was at the time married to actress Lilli Palmer. Landis was reported to be crushed when Harrison refused to divorce his wife for her and, unable to cope any longer, she committed suicide at Pacific Palisades, California, by taking an overdose of Seconal. She was 29 years old.
Her final night alive that 4th of July had been spent with Harrison. The last person to see her alive, he discovered her body the next morning. Harrison claimed he felt a pulse, but instead of immediately calling an ambulance he left the house. By
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Frances Lillian Mary Ridste
Page Display = 2 (Legacy)
Clara Stentek Ridste
Lawrence Ridste, Jerome Ridste, Lewis Ridste
Dorothy Ridste Ross
Cesar Romero, Marguerite Haymes (mother of Dick Haymes), Diana Lewis, Dorothy Kilgallen, Patsy Kelly, Dorothy Dandridge, Don Loper, Linda Darnell, Sonja Henie, Martha Raye, Kay Francis, William Powell, Pat & Eloise O' brien, Williard Parker, Margaret Roach, Eddie Sutherland, Van Johnson, Billie Burke, Burgess Meredith, Norma Koch, Rudy Vallee, Peggy McKenna, Barry Wood, Phyllis Brooks, Dick Haymes, Ann Sheridan, Dorothy Lamour, Florence Jones, Virginia Field
Donner (Dog - Great Dane given by boyfriend Gene Markey) [1941-1943], Gina (Dog - French poodle), Lucky (Dog), Jinx (Dog), Skeezix (Dog), Miss C (Cat - siamese)
Big Rings, Pins
Four Jills and a Jeep 
Carole Landis: A Tragic Life In Hollywood  (E.J. Fleming), Fallen Angels: The Lives and Untimely Deaths of Fourteen Hollywood Beauties  (Kirk Crivello)
Martha Tilton, Jinx Falkenburg, Buff Cobb, Louise Allbritton
Carole Landis (January 1, 1919 – July 5, 1948) was an American film and stage actress, who worked as a contract-player for Twentieth Century-Fox in the 1940s. Her breakthrough role was as the female lead in the 1940 film One Million B.C., with United Artists. Landis was known as "The Ping Girl" and "The Chest" because of her curvy figure.