Partner Robert Kalloch
4329 Agnes Ave, Studio City, CA 91604
Joseph Desmarais (July 15, 1905 - October 19, 1947) was the longtime partner of Robert Kalloch since at least 1931.
Desmarais' parents were French Canadian immigrants to the United States, and he grew up very poor in Tiverton, Rhode Island, the youngest of five children. In his teens, he worked in the local textile factory before relocating to New York City to become an artist. By the late 1920s, Desmarais was sharing an apartment with other struggling artists. It is unclear when Kalloch and Desmarais met, although there is evidence to suggest that they both worked for Madame Frances & Co. Desmarais relocated to Los Angeles in February 1932 to be with Kalloch.
In 1939, Kalloch and Desmarais jointly purchased a home at 4329 Agnes Avenue in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles for $10,000. The two decorated the house with antiques and paintings. After his move to MGM, Kalloch put Desmarais on the studio's payroll as his own secretary at a salary of $950 a year. Desmarais, an alcoholic, entered a residential sanatorium for alcoholics for the first time in 1941. His stay was brief, but he returned to the facility numerous times over the next five years. During this period, Kalloch's professional output declined dramatically.
Kalloch suffered from arteriosclerosis, and died of cardiac arrest at about 6:00 AM at his home on October 19, 1947. His lover, Joseph Desmarais, died of alcoholic fatty liver disease at 3:15 PM the same day. With Desmarais' death coming so soon after Kalloch's, a suspicion of foul play arose. Autopsies on both men confirmed a natural cause of death in both instances.
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