Toni Mannix was an American actress and dancer who lived from the 19th of February 1906 to the 2nd of September 1983. She died at the age of 77 in Beverly Hills following complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
If you have seen Hollywoodland, the 2006 neo-noir period drama film written by Paul Bernbaum and directed by Allen Coulter, Toni Mannix is the character Diane Lane portrayed in the movie that fictionalized the circumstances surrounding the death of George Reeves, a famous actor in the 1950s with whom Mannix had an extramarital affair.
While Toni was a decent performer, the clout she weighed in the industry mostly came from her beauty, flamboyant lifestyle, relationship, and what is often described as a legendary sexual appetite. It’s been decades since she passed yet she is still remembered for her notoriety with several unsubstantiated claims suggesting that she was involved in some ways in the death of Reeves in June 1959.
Toni Mannix Died from Complications of Alzheimer’s Disease at The Age of 77
Toni Mannix was so full of life and that’s probably why people have continued to wonder what happened to her decades after she passed. The late actress and dancer died when she was 77 years old in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.
As you would easily find, she died on the 2nd of September 1983 following complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Reports had it that she developed a neurological condition characterized by cognitive decline and memory loss in her seventies.
Mannix was known to be living alone when she passed. She had no kids and as of when she died, she had already lost the two men dear to her heart: Eddie Mannix who died of a heart attack on the 30th of August 1963 at the age of 72; and George Reeves who died from a gunshot on the 16th of June 1959 at age 45.
Toni was survived by her older brother Eddie Forman who died on the 31st of May 1992 and her other siblings. She was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Los Angeles County, California.
Toni Mannix Was Born Into A Large Family of French Ancestry
Born on the 19th of February 1906, Toni Mannix was named Camille Bernice Froomess by her parents, Charles Bernard and Elizabeth Babin Froomess, who had her in New York. She was raised in Rochester, New York, alongside 10 siblings. Yes, her parents had a total of eleven children: seven boys and four girls.
Her large family is mostly of French ancestry. From what we gathered, her father Charles was of Russian-French Jewish heritage whereas her mother Elizabeth was born into a French Canadian Roman Catholic family. Toni and her siblings were raised as Catholics like their mother who was a homemaker. It is said that her father worked as a store window decorator.
Her oldest brother, Emanuel Joseph Bernard Froomess, was professionally known as Eddie Forman in Hollywood; he worked in the industry as a comic writer.
The Late Actress Was Mostly Known for Her Unconventional Love Life
Toni Mannix’s most significant work as a performer was as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl. In fact, the only credit she has on IMDB is an uncredited role in 1936’s The Great Ziegfeld, a musical drama film based on the life of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. who was an American Broadway impresario.
However, she was seen as Camille Lanier in various Ziegfeld and Broadway productions in the 11920s. Be that as it may, what gained the actress most of the attention she received was her unconventional relationships, first with Eddie Mannix and then with George Reeves.
Toni Mannix Was Married to Jesse Livermore Jr. When Her Extramarital Relationship With Eddie Mannix Began
Mannix’s first husband was Jesse Livermore Jr. He came from a famous family as he was the son of Jesse Livermore, an infamous Wall Street speculator. The younger Jesse made news headlines in 1935 when he nearly lost his life. It was said that he was drunk when he dared his mother who was also drunk to shoot him after she complained about his excessive drinking.
That’s a story for another day, we are only concerned with the fact that Jesse Jr. got married to Mannix in May 1937. While working on the 1936 movie, The Great Ziegfeld, the actress met Eddie Mannix who was the MGM studio manager. Eddie was married to Bernice Fitzmaurice who died in an accident on the 18th of November 1937.
As Jesse and Toni parted ways shortly after they got married, the actress moved in with Eddie after the death of Fitzmaurice and they eventually got married in May 1951. Even though she soon started having an affair with George Reeves, Eddie, and Toni Mannix remained married until the MGM manager died in August 1963.
Eddie Mannix Approved Her Relationship With George Reeves
What left people in awe of Toni Mannix is the fact that she sustained a good relationship with Eddie Mannix while having an affair with George Reeves whom she met shortly after she got married to Eddie.
Reports have it that Eddie Mannix was not only aware of Toni’s affair with Reeves but approved of it. Some accounts have suggested that they had an open marriage and that Eddie also had a series of affairs. Whatever the case, it seemed that was on the same page, Eddie left the bulk of his wealth to Toni when he passed.
Toni and George Reeves had what they had until sometime in 1958 when the Adventures of Superman actor ended the relationship. It happened that he met Leonore Lemmon whom he later engaged. They never got married as Reeves was found shot to death at his home in Hollywood on the 16th of June 1959.
Did Toni Mannix Have a Hand In George Reeves’ Death?
George Reeves, as you would easily find, died from a gunshot wound to his head in his bedroom. His death was officially recorded as a suicide but it remains a controversial subject to date with speculations that he was murdered.
Some reports have it that his death devastated Toni so much that she turned her home into some sort of shrine to honor the memory of the actor. Nonetheless, it has been suggested in several quarters that Reeves’ death had something to do with her.
For instance, the aforementioned movie, Hollywoodland, considered the possibility that George Reeves was murdered by a hitman sent by Eddie Mannix, Toni’s husband who was quite a notorious fixer.
Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger’s book, Hollywood Kryptonite, also presented similar speculation. These speculations have never been substantiated in any meaningful way.