"Of all the decisions I've made in my career, making up my mind to come to Hollywood in the first place was the one unqualified good decision" ~ Carole
When Carole was sixteen years old she dropped out of high school so she could pursue her dream of becoming a singer. She said "Although I avoided dramatics - and everything else - in school. I wanted to be a success on the stage, the screen, or the radio. So I saved my money and when I had bus fare and $16.82 over, I told my mother, Clara, I was going to leave home. She was heartbroken, but she believed in me." Carole left San Bernardino and took a bus to San Francisco in the Spring of 1935. She went from one nightclub to another looking for a job. Carole was hired to dance at the popular Royal Hawaiian nightclub on Bush Street. She later explained "The manager of the Royal Hawaiian club in San Francisco was interviewing girls to sing and dance in the floor show and when he asked me if I could sing and dance I blithely said 'Of course, I'm great!' when actually I was a greenhorn at both. Luckily the chorus was learning a new hula routine and in the resultant confusion no one noticed I didn't know my right foot from my left.".
Carole at the Royal Hawaiian
Carole in 1935
Eighteen year old Carole
Carole with her sister-in-law Helen
There have been rumors that Carole worked as a prostitute in San Francisco. We know these stories are NOT TRUE because she always had a steady job when she lived there. She even kept her old wedding ring on so men wouldn't bother her. These malicious rumors haunted Carole throughout her life. We believe they were started by actresses who were jealous of her success. In the Fall of 1936 Carole quit her singing job at the Rio Del Mar and went to Hollywood to become an actress. She was signed by Ken Dolan, Frances Langford's manager. One of her first jobs was being an extra in the MGM film The Emperor's Candlesticks. She had a group of close friends that included actor Lyle Talbot and make-up artist Evelyn O'Brien. Carole moved into a modest apartment at 1933 North Bronson Avenue. She invited her mother Clara, who had recently divorced her third husband, to move in with her. In 1937 Carole had bit parts in several movies including A Day At The Races and The King And The Chorus Girl.
Carole, Lyle Talbot, and Evelyn O'Brien
Carole wrote this description
Carole with her friends in 1935
Carole on the MGM lot in 1937