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Aleta Freel
Born June 17, 1907(1907-06-17)
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Died December 7, 1935 (aged 28)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1931–1934
Spouse(s) Ross Alexander (1934–1935)

Aleta Freel (June 14, 1907 – December 7, 1935) was an American stage actress.


Life and career

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the daughter of a physician, Freel was educated at the Bergen School for Girls in Jersey City. She graduated from Smith College.

She played leading roles in several eastern stock companies. Among Freel's stage performances was a role in the play Double Door, which was performed at the Ritz Theater in New York City in the fall of 1933. She was married to Hollywood actor Ross Alexander following a backstage romance. Alexander was originally from Brooklyn, and began his career in New York. He was cast in many Broadway productions, one of which was The Ladder.


Freel became despondent regarding her career. She took a .22 rifle from a gun rack in her home and shot herself through the temple on December 6, 1935. Freel died early the following morning at Emergency Hospital in Los Angeles, California. She was 28 years of age. Her husband confided to police that he and Miss Freel had a "small spat" during the evening. She was disappointed about some screen tests on which she had high hopes, but which were unsuccessful.

On December 14, 1935, in Sacramento, California, the state of California opened an investigation into the "strange death" of Aleta Freel. The inquiry was requested by Governor of New Jersey Harold G. Hoffman. Friends and relatives of the actress asked Hoffman and Governor Merriam of California for a more exhaustive probe. Freel's father, William, was quoted as saying at the time of his daughter's death, that he was not altogether sure she took her life.


  • Appleton, Wisconsin Post-Crescent, "Anne Nagel's Death Revives Old Mystery", Monday, August 29, 1966, Page A11.
  • Charleston, West Virginia Gazette, "Probe of Girl's Death Is Ordered", Sunday, December 15, 1935, Page 19.
  • New York Times, "Theatrical Notes", September 21, 1933, Page 24.
  • New York Times, "Aleta Freel Ends Life In Hollywood", December 8, 1935, Page 44.

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