Rosemary La Bie Schropp, also known by her stage name Diana Gibson, left the exciting life of a Hollywood starlet to settle down in Mt. Gretna.
Schropp was born May 21, 1915, in Chicago, Illinois. When she was 20, she had her Hollywood film debut in “His Night Out,” though she was not part of the main cast.
Two years later, in 1937, Gibson found herself starring alongside already well-renowned actor John Wayne in “Adventure’s End.” Her career looked like it was gaining steam.
However, over the next two years, Gibson appeared in three films – with only one, “Western Welcome,” credited.
This was the same time that Gibson began to appear in the Mt. Gretna Playhouse’s productions. The July 7, 1977 issue of the Elizabethtown Chronicle reported that Gibson had starred in the theater’s productions in 1938 and 1939.
In 1939, Gibson married Jack Schropp, a Lebanon newspaperman, and the Hollywood chapter of her life closed for good.
She continued to steal the show in Mt. Gretna as a leading lady.
In 1940, the July 26 issue of the Elizabethtown Chronicle wrote that “the outstanding feature of Brother Rat is the appearance of Diana Gibson’s name in the cast of characters.” It noted that her husband Jack Schropp also performed in this show.
For 50 cents (yes, only 50 cents!), Lebanon audiences could see a Hollywood leading lady at work.
When she eventually retreated from the spotlight, Gibson began to take a more active role in the community as Mrs. Rosemary Schropp.
At one point, Rosemary was the Treasurer of the Lebanon Daily News, while Jack was its Vice President and General Manager. According to a column by Henry Homan in a 1991 issue of the Lebanon Daily News (paywall), Rosemary was also an owner of the newspaper.
She was the president of the Good Samaritan Hospital auxillary.
Perhaps one of her greatest contributions to the community was her role in the Street Fair, run by the Auxiliary. Rosemary was the general chairman of the Street Fair in 1965. The 1965 Fair featured a cake-baking contest, an X-ray unit, and a Ferris wheel, amongst other attractions.
While this year the Street Fair is being replaced with the July 20-27 Festival of Themed Baskets event, it was held for over 70 years before its cancellation.
In the late 1970s, after years of contributing to the community in Mt. Gretna and Lebanon, Rosemary and Jack moved to Florida.
Oct. 12, 1991, Rosemary passed away in Coral Gables, Florida, at the age of 76. She is buried at Grand View Memorial Park in Annville (thanks to reader Pat Rhen who shared this fact with us, and actually clued us into the story originally).
However, here in Lebanon, she will not be forgotten as Diana Gibson, actress, or Rosemary Schropp, leader in the community.
An earlier version of this article had the incorrect first name for Henry Homan, we regret the error.