Did John Gilbert’s Voice Translate So Poorly to “Talkies” That His Career Was Ruined?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: John Gilbert’s voice translated so poorly to “talkies” that his career was ruined.

As established in a previous installment of Movie Legends Revealed, John Gilbert was one of the major male sex symbols of the silent movie era.

However, once films began having dialogue in them, Gilbert’s star waned, and by the time he died of a heart attack in 1936 (not even 40 years old) his time as a matinee idol was over.

For years, the story goes that in his first “talkie” (a film with spoken dialogue), His Glorious Night, in 1929, his light tenor voice made him sound like a squeaky kid, and not the red-blooded Lothario his fans all expected him to be.

Is the story true?
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