Hidden Hollywood: Mary Nolan July 13, 2017 by Robert J. Avrech 2 Comments Mary Nolan (1902 – 1948) b. Mary Imogene Robertson, was a Ziegfeld girl at the tender age of 15. Her nickname was Bubbles — which gives some insight into young Mary’s reputation. She gained notoriety for a very public affair with Frank Tinney, a popular vaudeville star who was married. She was fired from the Follies and moved to Germany where she worked in the film industry. In 1927, she returned to America and made her way to Hollywood where she adopted the stage name Mary Nolan. In 1928 she co-starred in West of Zanzibar, directed by Tod Browning. The film stars Lon Chaney and Lionel Barrymore, with Nolan cast as Chaney’s defiled daughter Maizie. The film was a hit and Nolan’s performance is superb. In 1929, Nolan starred in Desert Nights opposite John Gilbert. Once again the Kentucky born Nolan turned in a finely calibrated performance. Unfortunately, Nolan had a taste for abusive men. She carried on an affair with MGM fixer Eddie Mannix, who allegedly beat Nolan to a pulp when she threatened to expose their relationship to Mannix’s wife. According to a lurid 1941 memoir penned (ghost-written) by Nolan for Hearst’s American Weekly, “The Real Life Follies of Bubbles Wilson,” she was hospitalized for six months and endured fifteen surgeries. Because of drug abuse and a reputation for being a difficult actress Nolan’s career was over except for small parts in B movies. Unable to find work in Hollywood, Nolan put together a nightclub act. She sang, she danced, she told stories of her glory days as a Ziegfeld girl and a Hollywood star. She was also a heroin addict. This picture was taken in 1937 when Nolan was but 35 years old. In 1948, Nolan’s body was discovered in her shabby Los Angeles bungalow, dead from an overdose of Seconal. It was never determined if death was accidental or by design. She was 46 years old.