Holm, Eleanor

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Holm, Eleanor

(1913–  ) swimmer, entertainer; born in Jamaica, Long Island, N.Y. She began swimming off Long Island, N.Y., at age 13; at 15 she competed in the 1928 Olympics (placing 5th in the 100-meter backstroke); in the 1932 Olympics she won the gold in the 100-meter backstroke. Under contract to Warner Bros., she appeared in a few minor roles but quit when the studio asked her to swim in movies (which would have compromised her amateur status). She married the bandleader-singer Keith Jarrett and toured with him as a singer, all the while training for the 1936 Olympics. On the ship to Europe with the Olympics team, she was already a celebrity and spent much of her time socializing in 1st Class; when she was reported to have been drinking champagne and staying up late, she was dropped from the U.S. team by Avery Brundage, head of the American Olympic Committee. She went on to Berlin and covered the Olympics for Hearst's International News Service (although her articles were largely ghost-written by other reporters); she also met Hitler, who expressed disbelief that she had been banned for such a minor infraction. On returning to the States, she was an even bigger celebrity than before. She turned professional in 1937, appeared in Tarzan's Revenge (1938), and swam in Billy Rose's "Aquacade," first at Cleveland's Great Lakes Exposition and then at the New York World's Fair (1939, 1940). Divorcing Jarrett, she married Billy Rose in 1939; they were divorced in 1954 and she took up with Tommy Whalen, a Texas entrepreneur, marrying him in 1974.
References in periodicals archive ?
Then, on the trip, the leading American female backstroker, Eleanor Holm Jarrett, was kicked off the team for drinking.
This was a pity because young Eleanor Holm Jarrett, whohadmarried the band leader Art Jarrett, was rather partial toaglass or two to ease the course of life.
The Swiss-style chalets, uncommon to Southern California, are now in disrepair, but in their prime 52 years ago, they housed such athletes as Eleanor Holm, Babe Didrikson, Buster Crabbe and other Olympic contestants from around the world come in quest of Olympic gold.