Cora Sue Collins had made her screen debut at the tender age of 5 and also left the industry at a very young age.
There are countless child stars in Hollywood who have faded into obscurity over time but one such child actress, Cora Sue Collins chose to step away from the limelight at an early age voluntarily. Many of her fans questioned her abrupt decision to quit show business since she was one of the rising young talents back in the 1930s. According to Fox News, Cora Sue even rivaled another notable child artist Shirley Temple back in the day and appeared in over 30 films from 1932 to 1945. For decades, she kept mum about her reason for quitting Hollywood until 2020 when she finally make a shocking revelation.
Collins, who is now 95 years old allegedly opened up to author Carla Valderrama, who wrote the 2020 Turner Classic Movies book, This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories. The former actress revealed that she endured a #MeToo moment in her life which led her to make the hard decision of leaving the industry. As per her claims, 50-year-old screenwriter Harry Ruskin offered a then 15-year-old Collins “a project he had written” in exchange for “sleeping with him.” When a horrified Collins reported the incident to MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer, he told her, "Darling, you’ll get used to it." Louis also threatened her that she will never find any work after this and Collins decided to close her showbiz chapter in 1943.
"I went to Harry’s office and he was the only one there," she recalled. "I thought it was odd. Then he said, ‘I wrote a synopsis for you, and I wanted you to read it alone.’ I read it and I loved it. I would’ve given my right arm for that job. It was written just for me. But then he said, ‘The part is yours, but you have to sleep with me.’" According to Valderrama’s book, Ruskin was furious at Collins’ refusal to sleep with him and he allegedly told her that "there are dozens of girls in this town who would love to play that part."
The screenwriter died in 1969 at the age of 74. Collins admits that “it was the single best decision of her life.” "It’s a rotten business. It was then, it is now. And it’s not going to change," she added. Her last onscreen appearance was on 1945s Week-End at the Waldorf and she decided to star in it with her “buddies.”
"I made the film and I decided that this isn’t what I wanted to do," she said. "I made the right decision. My mother never believed me. She believed I misunderstood Harry Ruskin. But his request was so succinctly phrased that it would be hard to misunderstand it. I spoke to other girls who were in films at the same time as I was. And they too had similar experiences. Their mothers didn’t believe them either."
Along with Collins, other stars like Shirley Temple had also previously alleged that the producer of Singin’ in the Rain, Arthur Freed exposed himself to her in his office. Judy Garland also made allegations against Louis B. Mayer who apparently made her sit on his lap and groped her. She has been leading a quiet life since then and has also shared her experience while working with Jean Harlow for Darrell Rooney and Mark Viera’s book, Harlow in Hollywood.
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