Paula Iliescu Gibson (December 18, 1909 – October 19, 1993)[1] professionally known as Pola Illery, was a Romanian-born French actress and singer. She appeared in silent and early talking films, and was best known of her portrayal of vamps.


Born in Bârlad, Romania as Paula Iliescu, she changed her name to "Pola" in tribute to the Polish-born actress Pola Negri.[citation needed] Illéry appeared in a few French films in the 1920s and 1930s. She made her movie debut as the lead in René Clair's musical comedy Under the Roofs of Paris (1930). She also played the lead in Parada Paramount, the Romanian-language version of Paramount on Parade (1930), which was made in Paris by Paramount Pictures. She is believed to have made her last film appearance's in 1938.

Illéry married American Air Corps Major Charles Grenier during World War II and moved to the United States with him. The marriage only lasted a few months before he was killed in an accident. She worked for the Red Cross as a nurse during the war and became an American citizen in 1946. She later married Jim Gibson and the couple moved to Palos Verdes, California, where Illéry lived for the rest of her life.[2]

Death and fictitious reports

Illéry died on October 19, 1993 in Los Angeles, California, aged 83, and was possibly one of the last actresses to have appeared in silent films as an adult[3]

In 2012, a false obituary was published in numerous newspapers, including the The Daily Telegraph in London and therefore subsequently appeared on numerous websites; the reports were later found to be a hoax, as Illery had in fact died in 1993, almost two decades earlier. Most of the published information was also incorrect.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Pola Illery profile". Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Spotlight on nostalgia". The Independent. October 8, 1973. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Paula I. Gibson, "United States Social Security Death Index"". Familysearch. October 19, 1993. Retrieved April 14, 2014.