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Booth, Edwina, 1904-1991



  • Existence: 1904 - 1991


Edwina Booth (1904-1991) was a film actress from Provo, Utah.

Edwina Booth was born September 13, 1904. She is best known for her role in the 1931 film Trader Horn, and for the illness she contracted during production.

She got her start in show business in 1926, shortly after moving to California with her family. She took small parts in films and starred in theater productions like "Ghosts" and "Sun Up" until she finally landed the lead female role in Trader Horn- the "White Goddess" Nina T. Filming for Trader Horn began in 1929, and as the first non-documentary motion picture filmed in Africa, it received ample publicity in the United States and abroad. Conditions on set were difficult for Booth; she noted that her costume did not provide adequate protection from the sun and disease-carrying insects, and she and other crew members suffered through malaria. After Trader Horn's release in 1931, Booth starred in three serial films in 1931 and 1932: "The Vanishing Legion," "The Last of the Mohicans," "Trapped in Tijuana." However, she had become increasingly ill with an undiagnosed illness since her return, and it effectively ended her movie career. Booth sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios for $1,000,000 in 1934, claiming that mistreatment on set had resulted in her illness, and the studio settled out of court for $35,000. She went to Europe seeking a cure, and was diagnosed with sleeping sickness. In total, she spent five years of her life suffering from the illness, and refused to speak of her time as a movie star for the rest of her life.

In the years that followed her recovery, Booth became active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and worked in the Los Angeles California temple. She married three times in her life, lastly to Reinold Fehlberg, whom she married on February 17, 1959. She died of heart failure May 18, 1991, in the Medallion Convalescent Hospital in Long Beach, California, at age 86.

Daily Herald, May 10, 2012: The sun sets on a falling star (Edwina Booth; started film career in 1926; starred in "Ghosts" and "Sun Up"; starred in 1931 and 1932 in "The Vanishing Legion", "The Last of the Mohicans", and "Trapped in Tijuana"; diagnosed with sleeping sickness in Europe; married three times in her life, lastly to Reinold Fehlberg on February 17, 1959; died in Medallion Convalescent Hospital in Long Beach, California)

The Salt Lake Tribune, June 9, 1991: pp. A1-A2 (Edwina Booth; born Josephine Constance Woodruff; sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $1,000,000 and settled out of court for $35,000)

The San Diego Union, May 23, 1991: p. A-37 (Edwina Booth; confined to bed by illness for more than five years; became active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and worked in Los Angeles, California temple; died of heart failure at age 86)

Utah History To Go, May 10, 2012: Edwina Booth (Edwina Booth; b. September 13, 1904; d. February 17, 1959; costume provided inadequate coverage from insects and sun; endured malaria)

Found in 14 Collections and/or Records:

Edwina Booth souvenirs, circa 1929

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2383 Series 4
Scope and Contents

Contains Edwina Booth's souvenirs from Africa, acquired in 1929 while filming Trader Horn. Includes a variety of carvings, jewelry, musical instruments, and other wooden and metal works.

Dates: circa 1929

Newspaper and fan magazine clippings, 1929-1930

 File — Box 4: Series 1; Series 2, Folder: 32
Identifier: MSS 2383 Series 2

Helena Stewart collection on Edwina Booth

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8362
Scope and Contents

Materials include newspaper tearsheets, photographs, and TRADER HORN (1931) motion picture program. All items are related to the actress Edwina Booth. Dated approximately 1890-1936.

Dates: approximately 1890-1936

Trader Horn publicity papers, 1929-1993

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2383 Series 2
Scope and Contents This subseries contains newspaper and magazine articles, Trader Horn pressbooks, opening night programs, photographs, and other advertising materials. The newspaper and magazine articles are primarily concerned with the production of Trader Horn as the first non-documentary film shot in Africa, and with introducing the director and actors through pictures, interviews, and reports. The pressbooks examine the background and plot of the movie, and introduce the actors. The opening night...
Dates: 1929-1993

Additional filters:

Archival Object 12
Collection 2
Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.) 10
Photographs 10
Motion pictures -- Africa 8
Letters 7
Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States 7