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Former ’30s Child Star Cora Sue Collins Shares Why She Quit Acting

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Cora Sue Collins was a popular face during her days in Hollywood. She appeared in over 30 movies from the 1930s through to the 1940s. She got her first major career at age five, playing the character Pudge in the 1932 movie The Unexpected Father.

Collins enjoyed quite a good run in the entertainment industry. She was often cast in major roles until she suddenly ended her career at age 15. This decision shocked most of her fans because she gave no reason to justify her action at the time. However, in 2020, the 95-year-old, for the first time, revealed the reason behind her choice to end her growing career.

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Cora Sue Collins alleged that she left acting on the grounds of attempted sexual assault

TREASURE ISLAND, Cora Sue Collins, 1934

The actress shared her experience with Carla Valderrama, who detailed it in her 2020 book, This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories. According to the story, screenwriter Harry Ruskin, who was 50 years old then, offered her a role in his movie in exchange for sex with her.

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“I went to his office, and he was the only one there; I thought it was odd,” Collins explained. “He would bring food from some good restaurant in Culver City, and we would all stand around in his office, eating off of bookshelves, sitting on the floor, and so forth. But this time, I was the only one there.”

“Then he said, ‘I wrote a synopsis for you, and I wanted you to read it alone.’ I read it, and I loved it. He knew me so well,” she continued. “I would’ve given my right arm for that job. It was written just for me. But then he said, ‘The part is yours, but you have to sleep with me.’”

TREASURE ISLAND, Cora Sue Collins, 1934

Cora Sue Collins says that Hollywood is a rotten business

Shocked by Harry Ruskin’s demands, she questioned herself on what might have led him to make such a horrid request from a 15-year-old. The teenager immediately proceeded to the office of Louis B. Mayer, the co-founder of MGM, to make a report, but she was more disappointed in the response she got.

“I then put myself together and headed to Mr. Mayer’s office, I didn’t have an appointment, but I told his secretary, ‘I can wait.’ I sat down, and I waited. Mr. Mayer was a short little man and his desk was raised, so he would be taller than everybody…,” she disclosed to the news outlet. “[I remembered] he lunged across his desk with his short little fat finger, waggled it under my nose, and said, ‘You’ll never work again on this soundstage as long as you live.’ I told him, ‘Mr. Mayer, that’s my heartfelt desire.”

WEEK-END AT THE WALDORF, Cora Sue Collins, 1945

After her experience, she vowed never to continue with the Hollywood dream, ending her career abruptly. “It’s a rotten business [Hollywood],” she claimed. “It was then; it is now. And it’s not going to change.”

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