Adrienne Ames

Adrienne Ames
Paramount Pictures


Adrienne Ames
Film: East side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Born Adrienne McClure on Aug. 3, 1907 in Fort Worth, Texas
Died May 31, 1947 of cancer in New York, NY

Adrienne Ames' Hollywood career began in the late 1920s and lasted only a decade. Her time in the spotlight included a high-profile divorce and a tax battle over the cost of the wardrobe and personal needs that she said were required of actresses of the day.

She left her second husband, a wealthy New York stockbroker, for actor Bruce Cabot. But that marriage, her third, didn't last. Wed in 1931, the couple divorced in 1937 with Ames telling the court that Cabot was much too fond of liquor and had an uncontrollable temper.

The following year, the couple had to appear together before the United States Board of Tax Appeals. With a war looming in Europe and the country still in the throes of the Depression, Ames attempted to explain a $9,053 wardrobe allowance for her 1934 tax filing, the equivalent of about $146,000 today.

She told the federal judge overseeing the proceedings that she had to use her own clothes in "filthy still galleries" long before films went into production.

"I must have a maid to help change me during the taking of stills," Ames said. "It's impossible to hook my dress in the center of my back when I'm in a hurry." Furthermore, she explained, each outfit could only be worn three to a dozen times, depending on its "distinctiveness."

She said her daily living expenses, which included hotel, taxis, food, flowers, tips, massages and beauty work, totaled $50 a day while she was in New York and $35 a day when she was in London.

At the end of her life, Ames worked as a radio commenter. When she died at 39, a short death notice in The Times noted that she had been in ill health for some time.

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