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Iowa History Daily: March 3 - Juanita Hansen

Iowa History Daily: On March 3, 1895, silent film star Juanita Hansen was born in Thor, Iowa. A "Sennett Bathing Beauty,” Hansen’s career took her from small town Iowa to the silver screen.

Her acting career began when she was only sixteen years old, first appearing in a minor role for “The Patchwork Girl of Oz.” By 1916, she appeared in six films, including a starring role in “The Secret of the Submarine.” In 1919, she moved to Universal Studios where her career took off as she starred in serials including “The Brass Bullet” and “The Lost City.”

Derailed professionally following a 1928 scalding accident in a bathroom at the Hotel Lincoln in New York City which ultimately resulted in a $109,269 ($1,796,535.72 in 2022 $) settlement, the actress went on to struggle with addictions after being forced into retirement from the silver screen.

Her writings about her struggles, including “The Conspiracy of Silence” argued for rehabilitation in specialized centers for individuals addicted to drugs over punishment in the prison system. Her second career is credited with helping to develop new understanding of addiction, and her foundation, charitable work, and speaking tours helped expose the dangers and difficulties of drugs. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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