In June 1943, while pregnant with her first child, Gene Tierney contracted rubella during her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Her daughter, Daria, was born prematurely in Washington, D.C., weighing only three pounds, two ounces and requiring a total blood transfusion. Because of Tierney’s illness, Daria was also deaf, partially blind with cataracts, and had severe mental retardation.
Tierney’s grief over Daria’s condition led to many years of depression and is believed to have triggered her bipolar disorder. Some time after Daria’s birth, Tierney learned from a fan who approached her for an autograph at a tennis party that the woman had sneaked out of quarantine while sick with rubella to meet Tierney at her only Hollywood Canteen appearance.
In her autobiography, Tierney related that after the woman had recounted her story, she just stared at her silently, then turned and walked away. She wrote, “After that I didn’t care whether ever again I was anyone’s favorite actress.”
Originally published in 1935, Dr. Hans Killian created this photographic study of the faces of patients awaiting death for doctors and physicians. This powerful and disturbing document sensitively captures the beauty and fragility of the human condition.
"Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them."