Anita Evelyn Pomares, better known as Anita Page, was an American film actress who reached stardom in the last years of the silent film era. She became a highly popular young star, reportedly at one point receiving the most fan mail of anyone on the MGM lot. When Page died in 2008 at age 98, she was the last surviving “famous” film star of the silent era except for child actresses such as Baby Peggy and Baby Marie. A few silent leading ladies who did not achieve wide fame survive her. She was referred to as “a blond, blue-eyed Latin” and “the girl with the most beautiful face in Hollywood” in the 1920s.
Page was born in Flushing, Queens to Helen and John Pomares. She had one brother, Marino, who later worked for her as a gym instructor while her mother worked as her secretary and her father as her chauffeur. Of Spanish ancestry, Page’s grandfather was a consul from El Salvador.
Page entered films with the help of friend, actress Betty Bronson. Page’s picture was spotted by a man who handled Bronson’s fan mail who was also interested in representing actors. With the encouragement of her mother, Page telephoned the man who arranged a meeting for her with a casting director at Paramount Studios. After screentesting for Paramount, Page also tested for MGM. After being offered a contract for both studios, Page decided on MGM. Page’s first film for MGM was the 1928 comedy-drama Telling the World, opposite William Haines. Her performances in her second MGM film, Our Dancing Daughters opposite Joan Crawford, and The Broadway Melody opposite Bessie Love were her greatest successes of the period, and her popularity allowed her to make a smooth transition into talking pictures.
She was the leading lady to Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Robert Montgomery, and Clark Gable and during the early 1930s, she was one of Hollywood’s busiest actresses. She was involved briefly with Gable romantically during that time. At the height of her popularity, she was receiving more fan mail than any other female star, with the exception of Greta Garbo, and received multiple marriage proposals from Benito Mussolini in the mail.