Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Miss Sally O'Neil

Molly O'Day and Sally O'Neil

So, I was going to do another dual entry about another pair of sisters but I read so much gossip (aka crap) about these sisters that I wanted to do a separate one for each and call out some of these 'journalists' from the 20's who insulted these lovely ladies. 

Oldest sister first!


Sally O'Neil was born Virginia Louise Noonan on October 23, 1908 in Bayonne, New Jersey. She was the ninth child born to Judge Thomas Noonan and his wife, Hannah. She joined older siblings Thomas, Mary, Gerard, George, Vincent, John, Isabel, and Edmund. (I have read that there were 11 children in the Noonan family, but I can't find any trace of it, so either someone miscounted or a child died in infancy). Sister Suzanne (Molly O'Day) was born the following year.

The Noonans had a pretty privileged upbringing. They employed servants and the children were educated in a convent. But, after such a stuffy learning environment, Sally was looking for some excitement, so she went off to join the vaudeville circuit under the name "Chotsie Noonan." 

She made her film debut in the 1925 short, Yes, Yes, Nanette which also featured Oliver "Babe" Hardy. 

Constance Bennett, Joan Crawford, and Sally

Sally's greatest film success was later that year when she starred in Sally, Irene, and Mary with Joan Crawford and Constance Bennett. Funnily enough Sally played Mary, not Sally. While this film made Sally a famous starlet,  the fame did not last long. She was great in light, flapper fair, but for some reason she just didn't have the right kind of star power. Her only other real film appearance of note was in the 1926 Buster Keaton film, Battling Butler.

Her great success did lead to her being named a WAMPAS Baby Star of 1928 along with Lina Basquette, Lupe Velez, and her sister, Molly O'Day.


Sally did make the transition into talkies, but a thick New Jersey accent and bad case of stage fright turned her film career into one filled with lackluster features. 

She made her last screen appearance in 1938's Kathleen, playing the title role. After she retired from Hollywood, she went back to acting on stage and toured with the USO until the end of World War II. I found this quite interesting considering she supposedly had stage fright in the talkies but could perform in front of a live audience. Not sure how that all worked. 


Sally O'Neil passed away on June 18, 1968 in Galesburg, Illinois from pneumonia. 

She was buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Galesburg. 

Sally was married once, to Stewart Battles and I am not sure when they were married unfortunately. I do know that they remained married until her death because he was buried nexy to her when he passed away in 1984. 

Along with Chotsie Noonan, Sally was sometimes billed as "Sally O'Neill" and the weirdest one, "Sue 'Bugs' O'Neill." 


"Here's another girl who was plunged into prominence before she was ready to cope with it...Being saucy and piquant are her chief talents now, but time may change that." ~~ Motion Picture Magazine - 1927, putting almost zero faith in Sally. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Birthdays!

April! My favorite month! Why? Because it is my birthday month, of course!
But, this isn't about me...it is about some of the amazing stars that share a birthday month with me! Lon Chaney, born on April Fools Day, how perfect is that? The beautiful Mary Miles Minter is here too as well as "Dutch" Talmadge!

Who is coming up this month as far as silent star entries? I am currently working on Sally O'Neil and her sister Molly O'Day, Helen Lynch, Elsie Ferguson, and James Murray. 

See you soon!

Lon Chaney ~ April 1, 1883

Laurette Taylor ~ April 1, 1884

Wallace Beery ~ April 1, 1885

Sally Rand ~ April 3, 1904

Agnes Ayres ~ April 4, 1898

Carmel Myers ~ April 4, 1899

Marion Aye ~ April 5, 1903

Helen Lynch ~ April 6, 1900

Lily Elsie ~ April 8, 1886

Mary Pickford ~ April 8, 1892

Grace Cunard ~ April 8, 1893

Marion Mack ~ April 8, 1902

Yola d'Avril ~ April 8, 1907

Alma Bennett ~ April 9, 1904

Harold Lockwood ~ April 12, 1887

Marguerite Clayton ~ April 12, 1891

Robert Harron ~ April 12, 1893

Ellaline Terriss ~ April 13, 1872

Gladys Walton ~ April 13, 1903

Claire Windsor ~ April 14, 1892

Ann Forrest ~ April 14, 1895

Wallace Reid ~ April 15, 1891

Lita Grey ~ April 15, 1908

Spottiswoode Aitken ~ April 16, 1867

Charles Chaplin ~ April 16, 1889

Mollie King ~ April 16, 1895

Fay Tincher ~ April 17, 1884

Art Acord ~ April 17, 1890

Marguerite Marsh ~ April 18, 1888

Dorothy Revier ~ April 18, 1904

May Robson ~ April 19, 1858

Madge Kennedy ~ April 19, 1891

Ora Carew ~ April 19, 1893

Constance Talmadge ~ April 19, 1898

George O'Brien ~ April 19, 1899

Lina Basquette ~ April 19, 1907

Harold Lloyd ~ April 20, 1893

True Boardman ~ April 21, 1880

Lillian Walker ~ April 21, 1887

Kitty Gordon ~ April 22, 1878

Belle Bennett ~ April 22, 1891

Peggy Prevost ~ April 22, 1904

Grace La Rue ~ April 23, 1880

Marceline Day ~ April 24, 1908

Mary Miles Minter ~ April 25, 1902

Camilla Horn ~ April 25, 1903

William Desmond Taylor ~ April 26, 1872

Eric Campbell ~ April 26, 1879

Edgar Kennedy ~ April 26, 1890

Dorothy Sebastian ~ April 26, 1903

Dorothy Dwan ~ April 26, 1906

Florence La Badie ~ April 27, 1888

Mary Thurman ~ April 27, 1895

Lionel Barrymore ~ April 28, 1878

Miss Dupont ~ April 28, 1894

Yours Truly! ~ April 28, 1985