Lilyan Tashman

Lilyan Tashman was a vaudevillian film and stage actress who starred in 66 film throughout her career. Tashman is famous for her “lavender marriage” to openly gay actor Edmund Lowe from 1925 until her death. She was the youngest of ten children in her family that resided in Brooklyn, NY.  Tashman’s film debut was in the role of Pleasure in the 1921 film Experience.  Although she never grew to be a big star, she always had work, and throughout her career performed in around 5 films a year. Tashman had an appendectomy in 1932. She was weak after her surgery and only made 5 more films.  She was in and out of the hospital and wrapped her last film Frankie and Johnny, before dying two weeks later in New York City in March 1934. The film was released in May 1936 and her role was cut to a cameo.

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Tashman protected her career by marrying Edmund Lowe. Lowe and Tashman were longtime friends and their marriage allowed them to become the darlings of Hollywood reporters as an example of “the ideal marriage.” Tashman and Lowe’s relationship allowed each to pursue their own true interests in regards to their sexuality. Tashman was known to have numerous backstage liaisons, and was even known to go as far as pulling some women into public restrooms. Her most famous relationship was with Greta Garbo, whom she met in 1928. Garbo and Tashman dated until 1932, when Garbo was fed up with Tashman’s jealousy. It is said that Tashman was heartbroken.  Some sources claim that Tashman was a lesbian while others say she was bisexual.