San Francisco & Hollywood

Carole Landis 1935

"Of all the decisions I've made in my career, making up my mind to come to Hollywood in the first place was the one unqualified good decision" ~ Carole

When Carole was sixteen years old she dropped out of high school so she could pursue her dream of becoming a star. She said "Although I avoided dramatics - and everything else - in school. I wanted to be a success on the stage, the screen, or the radio. So I saved my money and when I had bus fare and $16.82 over, I told my mother Clara I was going to leave home. She was heartbroken, but she believed in me." Carole left San Bernardino and took a bus to San Francisco in the Spring of 1935. She went from one nightclub to another looking for a job. After a few weeks she was hired to dance at the popular Royal Hawaiian nightclub located at 960 Bush Street. In an interview she said "The manager of the Royal Hawaiian club in San Francisco was interviewing girls to sing and dance in the floor show and when he asked me if I could sing and dance I blithely said 'Of course, I'm great!' when actually I was a greenhorn at both. Luckily the chorus was learning a new hula routine and in the resultant confusion no one noticed I didn't know my right foot from my left.".

Carole Landis 1935
Sixteen year old Carole

Carole Landis Club Royal Hawaiian 1935Club Royal Hawaiian Brochure
Carole danced at the Royal Hawaiian in 1935

At the Royal Hawaiian she earned $40 a week and lived in a tiny apartment above the club. Carole worked there until she found a full-time singing job. Almost all of her biographies claim that she sang with Carl Ravazza's band but this is not true! Although she auditioned to sing with Ravazza he didn't hire her. Instead he helped her get a job singing at the Rio Del Mar Country Club Inn. She would later tell people that Carl Ravazza discovered her as a way to thank him. While living in San Francisco she spent her evenings performing on stage and went to the beach every afternoon. She also took singing lessons three times a week. Carole said "I sang twice a night and slept the rest of the time when I wasn't lying on the beach. If I make a million bucks a week in pictures I still wouldn't have a better life than that." It was during this time that she began using "Carole Landis" as her professional name. She said "One day I just sat down and wrote 200 names and I decided that Carole Landis was the best of them."

Carole Landis 1936
Seventeen year old Carole

Carole Landis Dorothy Ross 1935Carole Landis Dorothy Ross Clara Ridste 1937
Carole with her sister Dorothy                                                 Carole with her mother Clara and sister 

There have been rumors that Carole worked as a prostitute in San Francisco. We know these stories are NOT TRUE because she always had a steady job when she lived there. Carole even kept her old wedding ring on so men wouldn't bother her. These malicious rumors haunted her throughout her life. We believe they were started by actresses who were jealous of her success. In the Fall of 1936 she quit her singing job at the Rio Del Mar and moved to Hollywood to become an actress. Ken Dolan, Frances Langford's manager, signed her as a client. She worked as an extra in the films A Star Is Born, The Emperor's Candlesticks, The King And The Chorus Girl, and Broadway Melody Of 1938. While appearing in A Day At The Races she started dating dance director Dave Gould. Carole had a group of close friends that included actor Lyle Talbot and make-up artist Evelyn O'Brien. She moved into a modest apartment at 1933 North Bronson Avenue. Her mother Clara, who had recently divorced her third husband, moved in with her.

Judy Garland Carole Landis Broadway Melody Of 1938
Carole (left) with Judy Garland in Broadway Melody Of 1938

Carole Landis Ken Dolan 1937 Clipping

Carole Landis Carl Ravazza ClippingCarole Landis Singing Lessons Clipping