Henry Lehrman & Virginia

Henry Lehrman Was Engaged To Virginia Rappe

Henry Lehrman was a director, screenwriter, and actor. He was also the great love of Virginia's life. They were together for more than four years but sadly they broke up shortly before her death.

Henry was born on March 30, 1881 in Vienna, Austria. He emigrated to the US in 1906 and worked as a trolley conductor. In 1908 he started his acting career at Biograph Studios. He quickly moved on directing comedies for Mack Sennett and Charlie Chaplin. Henry started the L-KO production company in 1914 and later created Sunshine Comedies at Fox. He was nicknamed "Mr. Suicide" because he often forced his actors to do dangerous stunts. When he met Virginia in 1918 he told her he wanted to make her a star. She gave him a pair of cuff links engraved with "To Henry, my first and last sacred love". A friend said "her love for him was an intense and beautiful devotion". Henry built his own studio in 1919 where he produced independent films. The couple worked together on numerous movies including His Musical Sneeze, Twilight Baby, and The Punch Of The Irish. By 1920 he and Virginia were living together but their relationship was rocky. She was unhappy because he didn't want to get married. Virginia left him in the Summer of 1921.

Henry Lehrman Charlie ChaplinHenry Lehrman
               Henry with Charlie Chaplin                                                                                                                                         

She told friends she believed they would get back together. Tragically she died on September 9, 1921 leaving Henry devastated. He arranged a lavish funeral for her and asked the undertaker to whisper "Henry loves you" in Virginia's ear. On her casket there was a note from him that said "To My Brave Sweetheart". When Fatty Arbuckle was charged with her murder Henry told reporters that Virginia always had an aversion to him. He said "I do not want to face Arbuckle now. I would kill him. If he wants to live he better be punished." In April of 1922 he impulsively married actress Jocelyn Lee. The couple's constant fighting got them evicted from their home. After two years of marriage they divorced. Henry was arrested twice in 1926 - for public intoxication and disturbing the peace. By 1933 he had quit directing and filed for bankruptcy. He briefly worked in the script department at Fox. Then in December of 1938 he was arrested for drunk driving. On November 7, 1946 he died from a heart attack at the age of sixty-five. He was buried next to Virginia at Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles.

Virginia Rappe Henry Lehrman Fatty Arbuckle

Henry Lehrman Jocelyn Lee