Lillian Woods

born: 27 October 1902
died: 30 June 1968
Oviedo, Florida,
United States of America
(age 65)

Records show that Lillian Woods was born in Hungary as Anna Karina (Karena) of Austrian parents. It's not clear when she or her parents immigrated to the USA. She said that she was married at age 14. By 1920, she was dancing in the Ziegfeld Frolics in New York City. A cohort suggested she adopt an American name. As Lillian Woods, she toured with Ziegfeld as a dancer and was noticed and received good reviews. Late in 1923 she joined a vaudeville tour which took her to California where she remained until 1930. An October of 1925 newspaper blurb says she was in the Roach Studio casting office as F. Richard Jones and H.M. Walker passed through on their way to lunch and saw her and immediately cast her for the Clyde Cook movie they were working on.
She continued touring in vaudeville with a dancing partner to good reviews but few movie offers. About 1928 she noted that foreign born actors with foreign names were getting good movie offers so she went back to her birth name, Anna Karina, and started getting film offers again, the last being "Tanned Legs" released in late 1929. She is quoted as saving up her money to buy a dress shop. Ironically, in 1940 she was working as a "millinery model" in the New York City garment district.
In 1931 (NYC) she married Jay Liebman Jr. About 6 months later she was filing for divorce saying that she thought he was wealthy but it turned out that all he had was a rich imagination.
The 1950 Census has her working (NYC) as "showroom head for a hat factory"; born "Austria": divorced, living alone: aged 47. In New York City on January 16, 1956 she was granted US Citizenship as "Anna Karina". She died in Florida in 1968.
There was another prominent vaudeville performer with the same name but she died in 1917.
ANM's LILLIAN has 3 birth places in newspaper blurbs: Cincinnati, Toronto and Hungary. Cincinnati is given as a photo caption. Toronto is part of a blurb interview about her upcoming marriage to a wealthy scion from Pittsburgh that never took place. Toronto, OH is 50 miles from Pittsburgh, PA.
Hungary along with a name change from KARINA / KARENA to WOODS and back to KARINA is documentable.
The newspaper narrative snips (at the end) are links in the "sources". Only one photo snip is linked in the "sources".
Real name: Anna Karina
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


Starvation Blues

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: (Moving Picture World, 24 Oct 1925) (Exhibitors Trade Review, 14 Nov 1925) (1930 Census LA: bc 1903 Hungary: dancer Mot Pic: Divorced: Parents b.Austria) (1940 Census NYC: bc 1903 Austria-Hungary: "model---millinery") (1950 Census NYC bc 1903 Austria)
(1956 NYC Citizenship: b.1902 Oct.27) (1968 Jun: SSDI: b. 1902 Oct.27 Anna Karina: Oviedo, Seminole County, FL) (1968 July 1 obituary) (1920 dancer Midnight Frolics) (1921 Jul: Photo: caption says "of Cincinnati") (1922 Aug 14 "NY Eve Telegram" p4: from Toronto: to marry wealthy Park Alan Grundy: wrong ages in her bio) (photo: to marry childhood sweetheart) (Park Alan Grundy (1900-1966): grave w/bio) (1925 Oct 10 LA : accidental discovery at Roach Studio) (1926 Apr 19 New Orleans: w/Anton Yarotaky)
"San Francisco Chronicle" 1926 Sep.05 p.32: Lillian Woods, stage dancer: publicity photo for Hertz car rental) (1927 Mar 13: guest at party by Kathleen Collins for actors) (1928 Feb 15: signs for 10 features with producer S.S. Millarde & other stars) (1928 Jul 22 LA: "Ann Karena" changes name to Lillian Woods and back to "Karena") (1928 LA City Directory p.2226: Lillian Woods, actor, h.5510 Lexington Ave) (1929 June 15: saving up to buy a dress shop) 1930 (LA City Directory p.1282: "Mrs. Anna Karina", actor, h.6111 Eleanor Ave) (1931 Jul 15: NYC: marries Jay Liebman Jr.) (1931 Nov 24: files divorce: not wealthy)
Jesse Brisson (information)
Jim Jarvis (bio notes and research)

This page was last updated on: 01 May 2022