Home » Today In Charleston History » #Today In Charleston History: April 30

#Today In Charleston History: April 30


 The Richmond arrived at Charles Town carrying a group of forty-five French Huguenots. Their voyage was subsidized by King Charles II for the purpose of introducing people “skilled in ye manufacture of silks, oyles, wines.” Among the new settlers were farmers, wheelwrights, grape growers, weavers saddlers, smiths, coopers, sailmakers, goldsmiths, brick makers and one doctor. One of the Huguenots,Judith Giton, the mother of Gabriel Manigault, wrote of her Carolina early experience:

After our arrival in Carolina, we suffered every kind of evil. In about eighteen months our elder brother … died of a fever. Since leaving France we had experienced every kind of affliction – disease-pestilence-famine-poverty-hard labor. I have been for six months together without tasting bread, working the ground like a slave.

Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler died. She was born in Charleston, South Carolina on February 1, 1906. She began her acting career in New York at the age of nine and was on Broadway two years later in 1917. Her early performances include Arthur Hopkins’ 1920 production of Richard III, which starred John Barrymore, Macbeth in 1921 with Lionel Barrymore; Hedvig in Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck in 1925 and Ophelia in the 1925 modern dress version of Hamlet starring Basil Sydney. By the time of her first film she had been in over twenty Broadway productions.

She made her film debut in 1927 in the silent film The Music Master and in 1930 joined Leslie Howard, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Beryl Mercer for the film version of the stage success Outward Bound. The unusual story told of a group of passengers on an ocean liner who gradually realize that they are all dead and will soon face the Last Judgment. Chandler, with her blonde hair and ethereal quality, was considered to be perfectly cast, and she received critical praise for her performance.

Chandler and Bela Lugosi in "Dracula".

Chandler and Bela Lugosi in “Dracula”.

Chandler is probably best remembered by movie fans as the fragile Mina, pursued and nearly vampirized by Bela Lugosi in the original “Dracula” (1931). In 1937 Chandler left Hollywood to return to the stage, but a dependency on alcohol and sleeping pills haunted her subsequent career, and in 1940 she was committed to a sanitarium. Ten years later she was disfigured in a fire, apparently caused by smoking in bed.

Helen Chandler died (following surgery for a bleeding ulcer) on April 30, 1965. Her body was cremated, and as no relative ever came forward to claim the remains, her ashes now repose in the vaultage section of the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.

2 thoughts on “#Today In Charleston History: April 30

  1. My ancestors, the Tauvrons, arrived from France, sometime before 1692. They did quite well, in Charleston.


  2. Mark
    Thank you for contributing all that you do. I try to follow your postings daily. I am interested to know more about Helen Chandler. Where did she live here? Where did she go to school? etc. Perhaps, you could give me a little guidance as to where I might research. I hope to hear from you.


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