It was 105 years ago this evening that Jane Alice Peters was born in the Fort Wayne, Ind., house above...although most of us know her as Carole Lombard, who would gain renown on-screen for her skill in screwball comedy and other roles, and off-screen for being one of the film community's most beloved (and vibrant) personalities.
Today marks the first time since "Carole & Co." debuted in 2007 that the anniversary of her birth falls on a Sunday. (Note I didn't use the term "birthday," for the simple reason I've always deemed it a bit trite to assume someone would live that long; if you reach 100 and get a complimentary greeting card from the president of the United States -- something issued to all American centenarians -- frankly, you've won the actuarial lottery. Take it from someone whose mother turns 93 later this month.)
Anyway, some of you may be disappointed that Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. isn't running any of Carole's films today...but to those of you who follow that channel's programming policy, it's little surprise. Unless it's someone's centenary, in which case TCM often runs a 24-hour marathon, it almost never has birthday festivals on Sundays. (So don't feel slighted -- Janet Gaynor fans are in the same predicament.)
So how to celebrate? A few ideas:
If you're in southern California, travel to Glendale and visit her burial site. In fact, leave a flower in her memory:
Lombard is at the Great Mausoleum, specifically in its Sanctuary of Trust. Here's how to get there:
Please remember to treat this area with respect and reverence its eternal residents deserve -- do not act like a tourist. In the past, Sundays tended to have less security on hand, but that may have changed in recent years.
What if you're not nearby? Well, you can celebrate Carole in another way -- make one of her recipes. Lombard gave several culinary ideas to cookbooks and magazines of the era, and you can arrange an entire meal based on them. Start off with soup:
Accompany it with an appetizer:
For the main course, you either can make chicken mousse...
...or barbecue spareribs:
Bon appetit...a wonderful way to celebrate the 105th anniversary of her birth. Her journey was comparatively brief, her impact long-lasting.