Elaine's Top 9 Matches
About Elaine Kays (Hammerstein)
Between 1915 and 1926, American actress Elaine Hammerstein appeared in many Hollywood melodramas and other films. The granddaughter of Oscar Hammerstein I and daughter of stage producer Arthur Hammerstein, she got her start in theater. After 1926, Hammerstein left films and married an insurance executive. She died in a auto accident in Mexico along with her husband, James W. Kays and two other prominent Los Angeles residents.
Hammerstein graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1913, at the age of 17. She appeared in her first Broadway production the same year. This was a musical entitled High Jinks, which featured actor Snitz Edwards. After school she was given a position in production work by her father. In 1915 she performed on Broadway a second time, in the The Trap. In the drama she acted opposite actor Holbrook Blinn.
From this work Hammerstein went into motion pictures. She appeared in forty-four movies from 1915 until 1926. Among her film credits are The Girl From Nowhere (1921), The Drums of Jeopardy (1923), Reckless Youth (1922), Broadway Gold (1923), and The Midnight Express (1924), opposite William Haines. With the latter film, the studio tried to promote Hammerstein and Haines as a couple, however, in real life, Haines was a gay man.
Hammerstein was married to James W. Kays in 1926. He was a noted Los Angeles insurance broker. Kays was a former finance director of the Democratic Party in southern California and a former city fire commissioner. In the same year, she made her last film appearance in the drama Ladies of Leisure (no relation to the Frank Capra film made in 1930 with Barbara Stanwyck).
Hammerstein and Kays were killed in an automobile collision twelve miles south of the Mexican border town of Tijuana, in August 1948. They were returning from Playas de Rosarito in Baja California. The Kays left Los Angeles a few days before on a trip to Tijuana. The crash claimed three more victims. One was Richard Garvey Jr., son of a pioneer southern California family and a retired real estate operator and lawyer. Garvey was thought by officers to have been driving the car. The auto rounded a curve on a hill near the hamlet of La Goria. It struck a car containing six Mexican citizens. None of the Mexicans were killed.