Calvary Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri 64131, Stati Uniti
Jeanne Eagels (June 26, 1890 – October 3, 1929) was an American stage and film actress. A former Ziegfeld Girl, Eagels went on to greater fame on Broadway and in the emerging medium of sound films. She was posthumously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her 1929 role in The Letter after dying suddenly that year at the age of 39. That nomination was the first posthumous Oscar consideration for any actor, male or female.
Eagels was married twice. Her first marriage was to actor Morris Dubinsky whom she married when she was a teenager. The couple reportedly had a son who either died (causing Eagels to have a nervous breakdown) or who was given up for adoption after the couple separated. Eagels and Dubinsky eventually divorced. In August 1925, Eagels married Edward Harris "Ted" Coy, a former Yale University football star turned stockbroker. They had no children and divorced in July 1928.
During the peak of her success, Eagels began abusing drugs and alcohol and eventually developed an addiction. She went to several sanitariums in an effort to kick her dependency. By the mid-1920s, she had begun using heroin. When she entered her 30s, Eagels began suffering from bouts of ill health that were exacerbated by her excessive use of drugs and alcohol.
In September 1929, Eagels underwent eye surgery at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City. At the time, she was also suffering from breathing problems and neuritis. After a ten-day stay, she returned to her apartment on Park Avenue. On October 3, 1929, Eagels and her secretary walked to the Park Avenue Hospital where Eagels had an appointment. While talking to the doctor, she began having convulsions and died shortly thereafter. The assistant chief medical examiner who performed Eagels' autopsy concluded that she died of "alcoholic psychosis". The medical examiner stated that while Eagels had not consumed alcohol in the two days preceding her death, she had been "acting strangely" and suffering from hallucinations three or four days before she died. Toxicology reports revealed that Eagels still had alcohol in her organs when she died in addition to heroin and chloral hydrate (a sedative that Eagels regularly took to sleep). Her death was attributed to an overdose of the chloral hydrate.
After services in New York at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, Eagels received a second funeral service when her body was returned to Kansas City on October 7, where she was buried in Calvary Cemetery. She was survived by her mother Julia Eagles and several brothers and sisters.
Eagels was posthumously nominated for the second annual Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Letter. She lost to Mary Pickford for the film Coquette.
In 1957, a mostly fictionalized film biography, titled Jeanne Eagels, was made by Columbia Pictures, starring Kim Novak as Eagels.