1959-1962 – Pola Negri at the Menger Hotel, San Antonio Texas

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Pola Negri’s story from rags-to-riches-to rags story reads like an E True Hollywood Story. Pola was a wealthy woman when she arrived in America in the early 1920’s.  In 1927, she married a fake prince named M’Divani who stole all her money and ended up dead broke like her fellow silent actress Mae Murray.  In the 1930’s -1940’s would see Pola touring Vaudeville circuits to earn money to pay for her medical bills.  She would return to Germany and continue making motion pictures there.  After WWII Pola came back to America and did whatever work she could to continue to survive.  In 1950, she turned down Billy Wilder’s invitation to play Norma Desmond in the movie Sunset Boulevard.  Pola’s saving grace was a wealthy Texan named Margaret West who was from a prominent family in San Antonio, Texas. Both Margaret and Pola became friends in the early 1930’s.  Margaret who was not hurting for money did what she could for her friend while both were living in California.

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In 1959, both mutually decided to travel to Margarets hometown of San Antonio Texas.  Upon their arrival they lived at the Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Texas.  The Menger Hotel, is one of the state’s oldest and best-known hotels, was opened by William Menger on Alamo Square in San Antonio on January 31, 1859.  They stayed there for 2 years while Margaret’s home in Olmos Park was under construction. Pola fell in love with the city.   Eventually both friends traveled between her Rafter S ranch in Zavala County and her San Antonio home until her death in 1963.  Margaret West left her estate to Pola who lived in the city till her death in 1987.

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