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Netflix's Hollywood: meet Peg Entwistle, the actress who 'haunts' the Hollywood sign

Find out more about Peg Entwistle

peg entwistle
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
May 1, 2020
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Ryan Murphy's latest series Hollywood is finally available on Netflix, and tells the story of a group of young filmmakers determined to make it big in 1950s La La Land - no matter what the cost. In it, they make a film based on the life of one Peg Entwistle, a real-life actress who took her own life by jumping from the then-Hollywoodland sign, which some people are now determined to believe is haunted. Find out more here...  

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Peg jumped from the Hollywoodland sign

In Hollywood, Peg is described as a young, aspiring actress who decides to take her own life by jumping off the 'H' in the then-Hollywoodland sign, while her boyfriend watches from below, powerless to help her. In the show, Peg's motivations are that she is heartbroken from being cut from her new film after struggling to become a successful actress. 

In real life, Peg was a young British actress who had moved to the US with her family, and eventually located to LA in 1929 with her sights set on making it big. While acting in the theatre, Peg met her husband Robert Keith, who she wed in 1927 before divorcing two years later, citing domestic cruelty.

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Hollywood's Camille eventually plays 'Meg', a version of the real-life actress

Peg would often perform in her uncle's plays in Boston while she was growing up. She performed opposite Humphrey Bogart in a play called The Mad Hopes, with a Los Angeles Examiner review reading at the time: "In the cast Peg Entwistle and Humphrey Bogart hold first place in supporting the star and both give fine, serious performances. Miss Entwistle as the earnest, young daughter of a vague mother and presents a charming picture of youth." In her career, she only appeared in one film, Thirteen Women, which was released one month after her death. 

WATCH: The trailer for Hollywood

Unfortunately, like in the Netflix show, much of Peg's screen time in the film was cut down due to the nature of the film, which hinted at a lesbian romance. Since she had broken a theatre contract to appear in the film, she was blacklisted in the world of theatre, before her studio contract for RKO Pictures was also dropped. 

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In September 1932, Peg's body was found by a woman hiking near the Hollywoodland sign after the actress, aged 24, had been missing for two days. The hiker had found a suicide note in an abandoned handbag which read: "I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E." Her uncle claimed that she had told him she was going out to meet with some friends, but failed to return, instead going to Mount Lee instead.

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Since her death, hikers have reported mysterious occurrences surrounding the sign, with many believing that it is haunted by Peg's ghost. Jogger Megan Santos told Vanity Fair that she was once running by the sign when she saw an apparition, explaining: "There was this woman with blond hair and she seemed to be, like . . . walking on air. I immediately ran the other way." Meanwhile, another young couple also claimed to see a young woman in old fashioned clothes disappear in front of them, and park rangers around the area have claimed to have seen "the ghost of the Hollywood sign". 

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