Thanksgiving Day in 1923 was a working day for silver screen star Martha Mansfield. She was on location in Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, Texas, shooting a Civil War drama called The Warrens of Virginia. After a take, she went to her car to relax with some colleagues. But what happened next would be as horrific as it was unexpected.
Mansfield was born Martha Ehrlich on July 14, 1899, in New York City. Her parents were Maurice and Harriet Ehrlich. Her father abandoned the family when she was just 13 and left her mother to support Mansfield and her younger sister Edith.
Mansfield is said to have had a burning ambition to take to the stage from an early age. She started on the boards in 1912 with a minor part in a Broadway version of Little Women. She then had a part in a musical the following year. Supporting roles followed and she played famous New York theaters of the day such as the Winter Garden and The Globe.