#J75 Among many Hollywood’s Firsts, Warner Baxter

  • Warner Baxter was the first American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor.
  • He was the first actor to portray the character of Jay Gatsby on-screen in The Great Gatsby (1926).
  •  By 1936, Baxter was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, earning a record $284,000.

His best role is that of the doctor who treated Abraham Lincoln‘s assassin, in The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936). Sorry, cannot find that one. But the one below was directed by the great Frank Capra.  This one is rather amusing as Baxter had a fear of horses — Uranus (which rules the Equines btw)  20 Libra 25 in the twelfth house, large corporations, self-imprisonment and self-undoing,  conjunct his ascendant at 23 Libra.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lEfBSWPKVA

Baxter was born on March 29, 1889, in Columbus Ohio but when his father died when he was nine, his mother moved the family West to San Francisco. Things according to his account were going well when in 1906, the Great Quake struck Frisco, and the Baxter family found themselves living in tents. They were lucky it was Spring. 

      His ascendant at 22 Libra 22 gives some hint to his later success: the Chanticleer mounts the corner post of the fence and lets the world know a new day was born.  It is a degree highlighting one’s pluck and great faith.  Other actors, like wisecracking Carole Lombard, Jones 587, and the circus trainer Wallace Beery turned infamous pirate in Stevenson’s Treasure Island, had this degree but for their Jupiter. 

Where ever the loud cock shows up, it gives such hopefulness as the native thinks everything is going their way, but Saturn in Leo foretells that not everything is going his way because the Moon wants more freedom than the moguls of the fifth will allow,  and Mercury chafes under the strain of creative demands.  

 

           A Cardinal Grand Cross

It is his Cardinal Grand Cross that literally does become Baxter’s cross to bear.  It starts in the third and Capricorn, goes to the sixth and his Sun in Aries and at the top get s the Midheaven as a planetary proxy.  Next top it ends up with Uranus in the twelfth.  Thus we have a Square of Gold, where one’s focus on the prize of success blinds the person to all else, and for Baxter that was true. He ignored Jupiter in the third house trine Venus in Taurus but n third leg to make a grand trine, not even counting points.  This seems to be Baxter’s overriding problem, all these near misses, as though foretelling his time on top of the Hollywood Parade will be short and bittersweet. 

Perhaps he was working so hard that he never saw the inevitable fall, when Jupiter overtaxed and overworked, found only Venus in greedy Taurus where she is exalted but in the seventh, who would hang out him out to dry for a dollar.  Unfortunately the green queen is the only stabilizing earth sign in his chart.

Nonetheless, the great fall came, helped along by his Part of Fortune in Scorpio in the second, that told him to work through it and everything will be fine, but that was a mistake and his tough as nail image betrayed him and Baxter feel swiftly from his perch among the Hollywood elite and suffered a nervous breakdown.  This was not odd, that the Film Tycoons demanded more and more out of their stable of stars. 

  • Judy Garland was kept on a studio-mandated diet consisting of soup, coffee, and cigarettes to stay thin and was regularly given an alternating diet of amphetamines and barbiturates to make it through long working days.
  • Her first husband Mickey Rooney was forbidden to marry Ava Gardner as she exuded too much sex appeal and he had a wholesome image,
  • Jean Harlow died of bleach poisoning to keep her hair that lustrous platinum,
  • Barbara LaMar, the Silent screen beauty for whom Hedy Lamarr named herself, had a nagging cough that eventually killed her just before it was diagnosed as tuberculosis and doctors were recommending bed rest and a visit to sunny New Mexico.
  • Rudolph Valentino complained of stomach pains and was given milk of magnesia and saw no doctor.

Warner Baxter PDF chart

So the abuse that Baxter suffered for long hard and nerve-wracking hours was not so strange, it is nonetheless horrific.  His Moon in Pisces in the fifth next to Mercury suggests his dedication to his craft could go too far, but the South Node in the ninth in Cancer told him not to worry, things would be alright.  In the end, it all depends upon how you define the terms, and it seems that Baxter, ever hopeful with his Sun exalted in Aries but in the sixth house but again missing that the sixth house is not particularly welcoming to the Ram, perhaps misled him, or just did not have the heart to tell him the truth– his career was over.

His Sun, which so identified with his work–the sixth is trine the dreams of the Midheaven– became obsessed with his health in the eighth and how it was making him age faster, and slowing him down more, so the more he obsessed the worse it got. Baxter was never the strongest of men, his chart is dominated by female signs, and in the end, Baxter died of pneumonia after a lobotomy to relieve the pain of his arthritis that he could not bear. 

His mother, heartbroken, outlived him by 12 years and died on his birthday, based on his chart, she had been his greatest cheerleader.  Perhaps that’s why Chanticleer sang so loud and clear, he had a worshipful audience, if only he had had a stronger constitution.

 

 

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