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Lot #904
1940s Hollywood

Hollywood's biggest stars—over 100 signatures on a lampshade from the Players Club

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Estimate: $3500+
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Hollywood's biggest stars—over 100 signatures on a lampshade from the Players Club

Outstanding 19.75 x 8.75 multi-signed lampshade from the trendy Players Club restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, a popular hangout for the Hollywood elite throughout the 1940s, which was owned by Oscar-winning screenwriter Preston Sturges. This lampshade derives from Sturges’s private table and is completely filled with over 100 signatures belonging to a wide variety of famous actors, actresses, filmmakers, and Tinseltown notables, including:

Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Charlie Chaplin, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Chico Marx, Harold Lloyd, Veronica Lake, Shirley Temple, Gene Tierney, Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Frank Capra, Jimmy Durante, Hedy Lamarr, Anthony Quinn, John Garfield, Tommy Dorsey, Dana Andrews, Walter Houston, Charles Laughton, Lana Turner, Ronald Colman, Howard Hawks, Mary Pickford, Reginald Owen, John Carradine, Robert Young, Pat O’Brien, Ida Lupino, George McManus (who adds a sketch of Jiggs), Ernst Lubitsch, Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, Susan Hayward, Betty Hutton, Gracie Allen, Nancy Kelly, Jack Holt, Harlen Logan, Andre DeToth, Anna Sten, Deanna Durbin, George Raft, Wheryl Walker, Maggie Ettinger, Ale Know, Martha O’Driscoll, Ely Culbertson, Ed Wynn, Louella Parsons, Alex Cassini, Frank Moran, Sally Eilers, Futon Lewis, Charles Coburn, Oscar Serlin, John Loder, Beans Reardon, Don Duryea, Joan Thorsen, Harry Rosenthal, Frances Langford, Ludwig Bemelmans, Charles Boyer, Danny Danker, Susanna Foster, Odette Myrtil, Louis Verneuil, Jean Hersholt, Herman Shumlin, Jane Withers, Lloyd Bacon, Rudolf Friml, Thornton Delehanty, Bill Boyd, Jackie Oakie, Antonio Moreno, Barney Balaban, Ruth Ford, Jan Kiepura, Robert Benchley, Miriam Hopkins, Estelle Taylor, Arturo de Cordova, Turban Bey, Jose Iturbi, Pare Lorentz, Frank Freeman, John Charles Thomas, Clair Trevor, John Carroll, Jinx Falkenburg, Colleen Moore, Dorothy Manners, Ken Muray, Edmund Lowe, Lloyd Nolan, Max Ophuls, Leslie Fenton, and, of course, Sturges himself. Framed to an overall size of 20.75 x 10.75. In fine condition.

The lampshade originates from the estate of Joan Dixon, an actress for RKO Pictures whose early career was handled by famed producer Howard Hughes, and to whom Dixon was romantically linked. Among the various Hollywood hotspots Dixon frequented was the Players Club, a nightclub owned by Hughes’ business partner Preston Sturges, and the employer of her legal guardian, Alex Pillet, who worked as the restaurant’s maitre d’ and then later as Dixon’s personal chauffeur. When the Players was sold in 1953, Pillet gave Dixon the lampshade from Sturges’s private table, and Dixon, after years of keeping it safely stored in her personal Bible, gifted the lampshade to her closest friend, Barbara Wells.

Accompanied by a wealth of material relating to Dixon, her career, and her relationship with Pillet, including: over 30 vintage photos of Dixon, glossy and matte-finish, with several showing her in films like Pistol Harvest, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, Bunco Squad, and Law of the Badlands, and one signed and inscribed in green fountain pen, “To Carolyn and Angela—my friendship—my loyalty and my God, what food!! Always, Joan Dixon”; several photos of Pillet, his wife, and a few of Dixon spending time with the couple; a group of letters addressed to Dixon, as well as a copy of an emotional nine-page letter written by Dixon and addressed to Pillet, regarding finances, the recipients of his will, and the status of their friendship, in part: “In 1950 you were 65 years old. Not many years of earning left for you…Dear one…I asked Howard to let you be my driver, no one else and believe me Howard would never have asked if it had not been for me…I only want you to know I’ve never taken anything from you and never would. I love you and have only felt as a daughter and a good friend”; various legal documents, including: two relating to the employment of Dixon with Hughes Productions, a final judgment of divorce for Dixon and William Driscoll, a copy of Dixon’s handwritten last will and testament, in which she leaves “all house and personal possessions to Barbara Wells,” and a document signed by Pillet affirming the emending of his will; a folder containing various pages to a hand-edited partial script for the 1950 film Experiment Alcatraz, as well as the apparent first chapter to an unnamed story, entitled “Swamp Girl”; and a group of promotional material relating to Dixon’s career as a singer and actress, which features articles, programs, a 45 RPM record, and two magazines. A remarkable keepsake from the Golden Age of Hollywood signed by many of cinema's brightest stars.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: August
  • Dates: #527 - Ended May 09, 2018