Hollywood victim. Olive Young aka ‘Yang Aili’
“Born Olive Young in St Louis Missouri on June 21, 1903 or 1907, In Chinese film credits she was billed as “Yang Aili” 杨爱立, a Sinocized version of her actual name. Olive’s original trip to China came at the age of 16, when her parents sent her to Hong Kong to complete her education. The record doesn’t tell us specifically how she got into acting, but two years later she was in Shanghai, where she appeared in two films for the Anglo-American Tobacco Company’s Film Department in 1925. The following year, she moved to the Great Wall studio, and quickly became one of its leading stars, acting the lead or a major supporting role in seven silents made between 1926 and 1928. In 1929, Olive Young had the lead in one more Chinese film, with the Minxin Film Studio, after which she returned to the U.S. She had a brief career in Hollywood, appearing in three early sound movies, in one of which, the 1930s Western “Trailin’ Trouble” starring Hoot Gibson, she had a major supporting role. During this time, she seems to have been a favorite on the Hollywood party circuit, as her name turns up in several gossip columns of the day.
Her last film role was an uncredited part as a maid in 1931, after which the record of her life is blank until the end. At the end of the 1930s, Olive was a New York-based nightclub singer, and on the evening of September 29, 1940, after appearing in a floor show in Bayonne, NJ, she collapsed and was taken to the hospital. She contracted pneumonia, and died on October 4, 1940.”
Fascinating story - I’d love to see more work done on her, as it sounds like there’s a rich vein to research there. Would love to know what happened in her “missing years” before her death.