Los Angeles, CA

Peg Entwistle: Her Tragic Suicide at The Hollywood Sign

Herbie J Pilato


According to Grunge.com, "the Hollywood sign is one of the most recognizable monuments in Los Angeles, California. Located on Mount Lee, the sign was erected in 1923 but it did not initially read Hollywood. Instead, it spelled out 'Hollywoodland' to advertise a housing development nearby. The sign is also famous for supposedly being a haunted site." As one jogger said to Vanity Fair, she saw a "woman with blond hair and she seemed to be, like ... walking on air."

"Those who believe in ghosts," Grunge.com continued to report, "say that a young woman who died on Mount Lee still haunts the area where she died. Perhaps, that's who the jogger saw. There is no proof of the Hollywood sign being haunted, but it is certain that a woman — Peg Entwistle — died there."

As documented on IMDB.com, when police found Entwistle's body, they believed that she "had climbed up a workman's ladder that had been leaning up against the back of the letter 'H' and she jumped head-first to her death. The note found in Peg's purse read: 'I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.' (the initials of her name). An autopsy was performed showing the cause of death was internal bleeding caused by 'multiple fractures of the pelvis.' No alcohol was present. Because no identification was found in her purse, it took two days for her uncle to recognize the details from a newspaper report and to come forward to identify her body."

Grunge.com says the actress was born Millicent Lilian Entwistle in Wales in 1908. She emigrated to America with her father, a theater stage manager, when she was only 4 years old. Because of her father's line of work, little Peg was exposed to the theater at a young age. Per Town & Country, Peg's father died when she was 14 years old, and she was left in the care of an uncle.

Entwistle pursued a career in theater at 17 years old, and she was eventually accepted into the New York Theatre Guild, an esteemed organization with demanding requirements. She was then able to perform in a number of theater productions and her career soared.

As chronicled on BuzzFeed.com, Entwistle traveled to Hollywood in 1932 to try to make her way into movies. She soon was signed by RKO Studios and made her film debut in the thriller Thirteen Women. Unfortunately, much of her performance was cut from the final film, and, adding insult to injury, RKO declined to renew her contract. So, on the night of Sept. 16, 1932, Entwistle left her uncle’s home, climbed to the top of the Hollywood sign, and leaped to her demise.

Entwistle’s tale has become the stuff of Hollywood legends, what Buzzfeed.com called "a perfect embodiment of the disappointment and struggle so many who have come to Hollywood have experienced."

However, according to the biography Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide, the actress had experienced several career low points and she probably did not commit suicide due to her most recent developments in Tinseltown. The reasons for her suicide were more complex and hinted at in her suicide note found at the scene: “I am afraid. I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.”

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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