Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ula Holt was in reality Florence Watson.

I recently received a letter from Joy Jones, granddaughter of erstwhile serial starlet Ula Holt. Ms. Jones asked me to update my rovi all movie guide capsule bio for Ula Holt's husband, Ashton Dearholt with interesting new (to me at least) information. First, here is what I had originally submitted:

"A veteran of Universal melodramas of the mid-1910s, American actor/director/producer Ashton Dearholt later worked mainly outside the studio system. Having learned how to cut corners and save a dollar on a 1923-1924 series of Westerns starring Edmund Cobb, Dearholt would remain a presence in low-budget movie making through the 1930s. Occasionally accepting acting roles as Richard Holt, Dearholt became rather more famous for his long association with author and occasional film producer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan. The Burroughs-Dearholt relationship certainly had its ups and downs, however. Filming the serial The New Adventures of Tarzan (released 1935) on location in Guatemala, Dearholt fell in love with the leading lady, a local girl he himself had named Ula Holt. When Dearholt returned to Hollywood with Miss Holt in tow, Mrs. Dearholt, silent screen actress Florence Gilbert, was granted a divorce and quickly married longtime family friend Edgar Rice Burroughs! None of this offscreen melodrama seems to have seriously damaged the Burroughs-Dearholt partnership, which also spawned The Drag Net (1936) and Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1937), a re-edited feature version of the old Tarzan series."

And here are Ms. Jones' corrections:

"[Ula Holt] was born here in the States and was [in Guatamala] shooting a movie called Adventure Girl with [documentary filmmaker] Joan Lowell at the time.

"I have also read that she was an olympic swimmer. Although Herman Brix did help her with her swimming and she was a very good swimmer she was not an olympian.

"Her actual name was Florence Eugene Watson. She changed it after she married my grandfather to Jewel Watson Gleason. She passed away in 1982."

I thank Ms. Jones for her valuable information and it is with regret that I am no longer with AMG and therefore unable to make the corrections. The best I can do today is post in this little blog.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. As a life long Burroughs fan and publisher (The Jasoomian) J am interested in anything connected with him (Ula Holt). Nice to know all of this. I'm interested in finding an autograph of Ula Holt maybe you know where I can find one. My E-Mail address is: Hope to hear from you.