The E! True Hollywood Story series dates back to 1996; even then they weren’t overly interested in C-list performers who came to an unfortunate end unless they could get lots of file footage, which they couldn’t for someone who died in 1948. Mary Imogene Robertson, who began her career as a Ziegfeld Girl under the name Imogene “Bubbles” Wilson, moved to Germany in the wake of a scandal and changed her name, then came back to the States and changed it once more. As “Mary Nolan,” she made a number of pre-Code pictures, but by 1933 her career was over.
Nolan was only 31 when she faded; she’d had a history of unfortunate romantic involvements and occasional bouts with opioids, perhaps a result of a long hospitalization in 1929 in which she was introduced to the wonders of morphine.
Then again, ex-starlets in trouble were good copy long before E! The American Weekly, a Sunday-newspaper supplement published by Hearst, ran a serialized version of Nolan’s life in 1941. You may be certain that none of the saucy pictures for which she posed in the pre-Code era appeared in the Sunday paper.
And in 1948, Nolan was found dead in her home; she had been suffering from a gall-bladder ailment, but the subsequent autopsy indicated an overdose of Seconals and no sign of foul play. Hard luck, indeed.