Peg Entwistle, the actress at the centre of Ryan Murphy's latest show, Hollywood, has a tragically true story that goes beyond what was mentioned in the Netflix hit. While the British actress who jumped to her death from the Hollywoodland sign was the main character in Archie's (Jeremy Pope) screenplay, aptly titled Peg and then completely revamped into a different story, we never quite learned exactly what happened to this actress in real life.
British actress Millicent Lillian Entwistle was born on Feb. 5, 1908. After her parents split up when she was little, Entwistle and her father moved to New York. Growing up in the city, she fell in love with Broadway and after seeing Peg O' My Heart, she renamed herself Peg. Her father was killed in an accident shortly after that, and Entwistle and her half brothers relocated to Ohio and then LA with family. However, Entwistle ended up back on the East Coast, in Boston and New York, shortly after and got her big acting break break in 1925's The Wild Duck. Even a young Bette Davis was reportedly in the audience at that show and later said that it was part of her inspiration for her own career.
Entwistle did a few more shows on the East Coast but ultimately relocated to LA to become a movie star in 1932. What Entwistle thought was her big break in film — RKO's Thirteen Women — ended up being her last. Though she filmed a significant amount for the role, much of it was edited out due to censorship. RKO also ended up not renewing her contract with the studio.
At this point, Entwistle was reportedly depressed, as noted in an episode about her on the You Must Remember This podcast. After things with RKO fell through, James Zeruk Jr., who wrote Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide: A Biography, said Entwistle told her uncle, whom she was living with at the time, that she was going to the drugstore, but she never came back.
On Sept. 18, 1932, a hiker found Entwistle's things, including a note that read, "I am afraid I am a coward. I am sorry for everything," Entwistle had written. "If I had done this a long time ago it would have saved a lot of pain. —P.E." The hiker also reported seeing a body below the Hollywoodland sign.
It's assumed that Entwistle climbed a workman's ladder to the top of the "H" of Hollywoodland and jumped to her death. Authorities ruled it a suicide, and she was just 24 years old. She was laid to rest by her dad in a cemetery in Glendale, OH.