Alexander Kirkland

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William Alexander Kirkland

Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico
Death: 1986 (84-85)
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Gowland Kirkland and Charlotte Kirkland
Husband of Greta Hunter-Thompson-Baldridge-Kirkland
Ex-husband of Gypsy Rose Lee and Phyllis Adams
Father of Alexandra Kirkland

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Immediate Family

About Alexander Kirkland

William Alexander Kirkland (September 15, 1901 – 1980s) was a leading man in Hollywood during the early sound era, as well as a notable actor in Pittsburgh theatre. He was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He married entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee in 1942. They separated after three months.[1] They were divorced in 1944. Little is known about his later years, but there have been no sources indicating his death, save from a source on IMDB, claiming his death sometime in the 1980s.


Actor, producer, screenwriter. Born William Alexander Kirkland in Mexico City, the son of Robert Gowland Kirkland and Charlotte Megan and the grandson of rear admiral William Alexander Kirkland and Consuela Gowland. He lived in Mexico through his childhood, leaving for the U.S. with his parents at age 15, and not being able to speak English. He later attended the Taft School, a prep school in Watertown, Connecticut, and later the University of Virginia.

He began his acting career at the historic Hedgerow Theatre in Media, Pennsylvania, and later became associated with Group Theatre, the brainchild of Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg. He would go on to appear on Broadway, summer stock and in films. As a freelance writer Kirkland had contributed stories to a number of popular national magazines of the day. He left for Hollywood in the late 1920s to expand his acting potential and scored an immediate hit as Tallulah Bankhead's leading man in the film Tarnished Lady (1931). His other film acting credits include Charlie Chan's Chance (1932), Social Register (1934) and A Face In The Crowd (1957).

Kirkland is probably best remembered today for his two year marriage to Gypsy Rose Lee (December 6, 1942 - October 7, 1944), although they separated after only three months. Their son Eric was born three months after they divorced and just a few hours before Kirkland married socialite Phyllis Ann Adams on December 12, 1944. It would later come out that Eric's real father was director Otto Preminger. In March of 1971, almost a year following Gypsy Rose Lee's death, Preminger officially adopted Eric. Kirkland's marriage to Adams ended in 1950, several years after the birth of their daughter Alexandra. By the time of his marriage to Greta Hunter-Thompson Baldridge on December 6, 1959, Kirkland was the owner of an art gallery in Palm Beach, Florida.

In 1945 he purchased Villa del Sarmiento, an oceanfront Palm Beach estate, to in part showcase his antique and fine art collections. Kirkland and his wife Greta also maintained houses in Fairfield, Connecticut and Cuernavaca, Mexico. Greta was a former Ziegfeld Follies girl from Toronto, who at the time of her marriage to Kirkland was the recent widow of a co-heir to an estate connected to the National Steel Corporation. She passed away after several years of ill health on June 17, 1972 in Mexico City. A few years later Kirkland would be linked in the press to British actress Margot Grahame. At the time of his death, Kirkland was living in Cuernavaca, where eleven years earlier his estate was used in the filming of some scenes for the Vietnam War film, Who'll Stop the Rain (1978).

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Alexander Kirkland's Timeline

September 15, 1901
Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico
Age 84
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico