They are long gone, but they are not forgotten. They are not really gone but maybe they are forgotten? Being a movie star was different in the silent era. There were no paparazzis so there were no gossip magazines, at the most, a gossip column in the local newspaper. There were no television, which meant no reality shows, gossip news or talk shows. All together, movie stars could be very private when they wanted to be. If you wanted to see them, you had to go to the movies. These pictures are some of my favourites, I will update them a couple of times until I get it “right”. I will start with actresses from the “oldest” part of the silent era. Mary Pickford comes first, she was the first movie star and by her marriage to Douglas Fairbanks, one half of the first Hollywood it-couple (think Brad and Angelina). Last but not least in my gallery, is Jean Harlow. She started filming in the end of the silent era but became famous for her work in sound pictures. Partly because of her froglike voice who was perfect for comedies.
I have to point out that I´m not an expert, just someone that love old movies and old pictures. Like always, I focus on actresses not actors but there might show up some male stars as well. Take time to click on the pictures, I recommend this, they are simply amazing!
Mary Pickford (1892-1979) She did her first movie in 1909.
Norma Talmadge (1894-1957) Difficult childhood, her younger sister Constance also did some acting, but Norma became a super star of her time.
Constance Talmadge (1898-1973) Younger sister of Norma Talmadge, not as successfull as her though.
Bebe Daniels (1901-1971)
Mae Marsh (1894-1968)
Anna Q Nilsson (1888-1974) Swedish girl, moved to New York to become a star.
Lillian Gish (1893-1993) Older sister of Dorothy.
Dorothy Gish (1898-1968) Younger sister of Lillian Gish.
Maude Fealy (1883-1971)
Gladys Brockwell (1894-1929) She died young from injuries caused by a car crash several years earlier.
Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959) She and her two brothers were very successfull actors, all related to Drew Barrymore.
Theda Bara (1885-1955) Her real name was Theodosia Burr. She was always typecasted as the dangerous/bad-girl/villain.
Edna Purviance (1895-1958) She started working as a stenographer but would later appear as Charlie Chaplins leading lady in more than 20 films. Her last movie was “Limelight” (1952) a small part opposite Chaplin (of course!).
Marie Dressler (1868-1934) She had her biggest success when she got older.
Mae Murray (1889-1965) In 1906 she started performing on Broadway as a ballroom dancer. Two years later she joined the “Ziegfeld Follies” chorus line. Mae´s movie debut came in 1916 and she was very popular. Her voice wasn´t considered suitable for talkies and she did her last movie in 1931. Pola Negri was her maid of honour at her fourth wedding.
Gloria Swanson (1899-1983) She did make her most successfull movie in 1950 but in the silent era, she was one of the absolute biggest stars.
Gertrude Astor (1887-1977)
Bessie Love (1898-1986) She starred in her first movie at 17 and she never really stopped working, she made her last movie at 85. “The flying torpedo” (1916), “Gentle Julia” (1923), “The Broadway Melody” (1929), “Journey together” (1945), “Isadora” (1968) are some of the movies she starred in.
Alla Nazimova (1879-1945) Russian born actress that created a garden at her house, The garden of Allah, the parties she held there were legendary.
Pola Negri (1897-1987) Born in Polen, she and her mother emigrated to America after the success of a German film she had starred in.
Billie Burke (1884-1970) She was a star in the silent era but is most remembered for playing the good witch in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939).
Anna May Wong (1905-1961) She was the first chinese-american actress to make it in Hollywood.
Marion Davies (1897-1961)
Vilma Banky (1898-1991) She was from Hungary and between 1920-25 she starred in Hungarian, Austrian and French movies. 1925-26 she did two movies with Rudolph Valentino, “The Eagle” (1925) and “The Son of the Sheik” (1926). Her transission to talkies didn´t go well, due to her heavy accent and she did her last movie in 1933.
Colleen Moore (1899-1988)
Mary Astor (1906-1987)
Norma Shearer (1902-1983) One of the biggest stars in the silent era.
Clara Bow (1905-1965) She has been called the ultimate flapper girl. She was fun and outspoken, the audience loved her.
Greta Garbo (1905-1990) Swedish actress that was discovered and emigrated to America. She became an even bigger star in Hollywood but retired quite early.
Jean Arthur (1900-1991) A comedy actress known from “Mr. Smith goes to Washington”.
Olive Borden (1906-1947)
Fay Wray (1907-2004) She was called The scream queen because of her parts in King Kong and similiar movies.
Louise Brooks (1906-1985) – She became famous for more then her acting abilities: her hair-do was copied by women all over the world.
Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968) She was 15 when she started acting with a local theater troup. At 16 she won a beauty pagent and moved to New York. It didn´t work out like she had hoped, so she moved to London and eventually became a star at the theater scene. Soon she was getting offered parts in movies but her biggest success came in 1944 with Hitchcocks “Lifeboat”. Tallulah was bisexual and was said to have had a long relationship with iconic singer Billie Holiday.
Joan Crawford (1906-1977) In the world of “talkis” only Garbo became bigger than her.
Dolores Del Rio (1904-1983) She was from Mexico, the first spanish speaking actress to make it big in Hollywood.
Anita Page (1910-2008)
Claudette Colbert (1903-1996)
Jean Harlow (1911-1937) She is an icon. Became a big star in the 1930´s but died very young.