VERONICA LAKE d1973. American film actress and pin-up model. She received both popular and critical acclaim and for a short time during the 1940s was one of Hollywoods most popular box-office draws, especially when paired with actor Alan Ladd. Her breakthrough film was "I Wanted Wings" (1941), a major hit in which Lake played the second female lead and was said to have stolen scene after scene from the rest of the cast. This success was followed by Hold Back The Dawn later that year. She then had starring roles in more popular movies including ; Sullivans Travels / This Gun For Hire / I Married A Witch / The Glass Key and So Proudly We Hail. A stray lock of her shoulder-length blonde hair during a publicity photo shoot, led to her iconic "peekaboo" hairstyle which was widely imitated. During WW2 she changed her trademark image and encouraged women working in war industry factories to adopt more practical safer hairstyles, although doing so may have damaged her career. Although popular with the public, she had a complex personality and acquired a reputation for being difficult to work with. Lake's career stumbled with her unsympathetic role as Nazi spy Dora Bruckman in The Hour Before The Dawn (1944). During filming, she tripped on a lighting cable while pregnant and began hemorrhaging. She recovered but her second child William was born prematurely on July 8th 1943, dying a week later from uremic poisoning. By the end of 1943, her first marriage ended in divorce. Nonetheless, Lake was earning $4,500 per week under her contract with Paramount Pictures. She had begun drinking more heavily during this period and people began refusing to work with her. Paramount then cast her in a string of mostly forgotten films ; a notable exception was The Blue Dahlia (1946). However the studios decided not to renew her contract in 1948. Her career collapsed in the early 1950s and she was forced to file for bankruptcy. After breaking her ankle in 1959, she continued to drink heavily, her physical and mental health declined steadily and she suffered with paranoia. She died aged just 50 on July 7th 1973 of hepatitis and acute renal failure (caused by alcoholism). A rumour still persists that she died in Montreal and her body was smuggled across the border to Vermont. However, Vermont State death records supposedly confirm that she died in Burlington Vermont. As she requested, her ashes were scattered off the coast of the Virgin Islands. A memorial service was later held in Manhattan, but only her son and a handful of strangers attended. In 2004 some of Veronica Lake's ashes were reportedly found in a New York antique store ......
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