Sunday, August 22, 2010

Miss Lucille Ricksen

It really isn't surprising that Lucille Ricksen is barely remembered today. After all, she was only 15 years old when she passed away. She did have a chance to make quite a few movies in the five years she was in pictures so she did accomplished quite a lot in such a short period of time. She was such a promising starlet, it would have been interesting to see how far she would have gone had she lived.
Since it is her birthday, we are going to remember Lucille today.

Lucille Ricksen was born Lucille Ericksen on August 22, 1909 in Chicago, Illinois.

Her parents started her acting and modeling early at age 4. She became a big draw and began being the main breadwinner for her family. She eventually caught the eye of Samuel Goldwyn, who brought Lucille and her mother to California to appear in the film The Adventures of Edgar Pomeroy.

During her relatively short career, she had the chance to appear along such big names as Claire Windsor, Jack Pickford, Louise Fazenda, Blanche Sweet, and Bessie Love.

Her most notable role was in 1923's Human Wreckage, which was produced by Dorothy Davenport. The film dealt with the effects of drug addiction, something Davenport knew all too well since she had recently lost her husband, silent screen star Wallace Reid, to morphine addiction (I would LOOOVE to see this film!)

In 1924, at only 14 years old, Lucille was named a WAMPAS Baby Star. One of her fellow WAMPAS winners was Clara Bow.

Later that year, Lucille fell ill. She continued working in around 10 films until early the next year when she was finally diagnosed with tuberculosis and was unable to work. She was bedridden for the last few months of her life.
Unfortunately, the end of her life was filled with heartbreak. Lucille's mother Ingeborg was so stricken with grief by her daughter's illness, that she kept a vigil by her bed all day and night. In February of 1925, Ingeborg suffered a heart attack, and collapsed and died on her daughter.

For the few weeks following her mother's death, Lucille was cared for by friends in the movie industry, including actress Lois Wilson.

Lucille Ricksen passed away on March 13, 1925. She was only 15 years old. Supposedly her last words were "Mother is waiting."

I can't find where she was buried, if she was cremated...anything. Any information would be great!
Some sources claimed that Lucille died from being overworked by her parents. People began advocating against "stage mothers," using Lucille's death as an example of what could happen to these child stars (I don't know about this. Tabloids weren't rampant back then, so it's hard to say if Ingeborg Ericksen was really a stage mother type. There were a lot of people during that time who were killed by tuberculosis, the flu was just what was going on at that time unfortunately).

For some reason, when Lucille became sick, her father disappeared. I could see how that could make people think that her parents were only interested in their daughter to make money, but that was just one parent. I don't know what happened to him, or even what his name was. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Lucille's older brother Marshall appeared in a few movies as well. He passed away in 1975. I have read somewhere also that he was supposedly an invalid, but I am not sure whether that is true or not.

"The Little Blonde Butterfly"


  1. I stumbled upon this from the website

    about halfway down it mentions that her remains were cremated and the ashes given to the family.

    Just for fun I did a YouTube search to see if anything came up. I found this gem, a rather short but nice memorial video (done with mostly text) about Lucille's short life. It also drops this nugget that instead of dying from tuberculosis that there were rumors of a botched abortion. The video doesn't backup this claim but thought it was interesting none the less. Take it with a grain of salt. I was just hoping to see if any of her films might have survived.

    Anyway, here's the link if interested.

  2. Yeah, I have read a couple places about that botched abortion rumor. I didn't even think it was worth putting in the blog because it was just such a ridiculous notion.

    Thanks for the heads up about the blog and video though! :)

    1. I don't think you should automatically dismiss it as a ridiculous notion. Although today we would consider it a crime, back in those days girls as young as 14 were getting married to much older men on a regular basis, so don't think that her youth would have been a factor as it would be today. And Hollywood was never more famous for "the casting couch" than it was in the '20s. Even Charlie Chaplin is known to have bedded his leading ladies. He had to replace Lita Grey with Georgia Hale because he knocked her up!

  3. I found the Ericksen family on the 1910 Census for Chicago, Illinois. Lucille is not even on there, but only Marshall is listed. Could it be that Lucille was younger than 15 when she died? Good grief!

    You have saved this record to My Ancestry (Shoebox). Remove
    This record has been added to your shoebox.
    1910 United States Federal Census
    about Ingeborg Euckson
    Name: Ingeborg Euckson
    [Ingeborg Erickson]
    Age in 1910: 30
    Estimated birth year: abt 1880
    Birthplace: Denmark
    Relation to Head of House: Wife
    Father's Birth Place: Denmark
    Mother's Birth Place: Denmark
    Spouse's name: Samuel Euckson
    Home in 1910: Chicago Ward 28, Cook, Illinois
    Marital Status: Married
    Race: White
    Gender: Female
    Year of Immigration: 1891
    Neighbors: View others on page
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Samuel Euckson 32
    Ingeborg Euckson 30
    Marshall Euckson 2

    *The transcriber at botched their name up, so that is looks like weird.

    Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 28, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624_273; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 1240; Image: 8

  4. The last name is botched again, but there are only 3 Marhsall Ericksen on for 1920 born in Illinois. Only one in California too. I wonder if Lucille was actually born Ingeborg after her mother. There is no father on the 1920 Census:

    You have saved this record to My Ancestry (Shoebox). Remove
    This record has been added to your shoebox.
    1920 United States Federal Census
    about Marshall Erickorne
    Name: Marshall Erickorne
    [Marshall Erickoine]
    Home in 1920: Los Angeles Assembly District 62, Los Angeles, California
    Age: 12
    Estimated birth year: abt 1908
    Birthplace: Illinois
    Relation to Head of House: Son
    Father's Birth Place: Denmark
    Mother's Name: Ingeborg Erickorne
    Mother's Birth Place: Denmark
    Marital Status: Single
    Race: White
    Sex: Male
    Year of Immigration: 1889
    Able to read: Yes
    Able to Write: Yes
    Neighbors: View others on page
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Ingeborg Erickorne 39
    Marshall Erickorne 12
    Ingeborg P Erickorne 9

  5. I went to, and I found Marshall's birth record. It says that he was born on December 17, 1907 in Chicago.
    Parents: Samuel Ericksen
    Maren Johanna Ingeborg Neilsen

    I am going to look for Lucille's birth record, but I think her first name might have been Ingeborg and born in 1911 instead of 1909.

  6. I went to, and I this is what I found:
    Ingeborg Myrtle Elisabeth Ericksen
    born: August 22, 1910
    parents: Samuel Ericksen
    Ingeborg Neilsen
    That has to be Lucille. The site is free.

  7. I am on, and all the time. I have found so many inaccuracies on Wikipedia and I contribute information to all the time and make corrections to early star's biographies. I am always researching them, because a lot of their early lives were fabricated for the studio.

    Lucille was born in 1910; therefore, she was 14 years old when she passed away. Her father, Samuel, was out of the picture by 1920. She was named after her mother Ingeborg.

    I found a lot of information on Kathlyn Williams too.

  8. Sorry for all of the posts.

    I looked at Marshall Ricken's obituary at, and he became a prominent attorney in Oakland, California. He was at one time the deputy district attorney, and he graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1930 where he excelled in baseball. He married his college sweetheart, and they had twin son named John and Rupe Ricksen. Rupe passed away in October 2009:

  9. No no don't apologize! I welcome this kind of information with open arms! That was really neat to read her brothers obituary.

    Poor Lucille was so young, she barely had time to be noted by the census.

    Thank you 100 x a million for all this research! :)

  10. You welcome. The life of this young girl was so tragic. It just is heartbreaking. I would have gone by Lucille too if I went into the movies instead of her birth name Ingeborg.
    It looks like Marshall lead a really wonderful life having a lovely wife and twins sons. He deserved it.

  11. I agree. Ingeborg is a little much lol

    She did achieve quite a bit in such a short life. Her and Clarine Seymour

  12. She did achieve quite a bit at such a young age.

    I have an article in one of my books about Clarine Seymour. I looked her up on last year. There isn't much known about her, since she died so young.

  13. I devoted a chapter to Lucille in my latest book, Dangerous Curves Atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-luck Girls of the Silent Screen.

    Her family was very helpful and gave me access to her scrapbooks and personal papers.

    Michael G. Ankerich

  14. You know...I think a friend of mine posted something about your book on Facebook recently. It looked like a good book, is it out yet? And if so, where can I get a copy?

    How amazing it must have been to look through Lucille's scrapbook. Sir, you have my jealousy. So good to know there are people out there who still remember her.

  15. Wow. That is amazing that you wrote a book about them. I really didn't have to do any research when you already know about this. :) I will be purchasing your book too.

    I read in the Los Angeles Times that Marhsall was living with Howard Hughes' uncle. The uncle was given custody of Marshall too.

  16. Hi Jessica,
    Here is what I was able to find on Miss Lucille Ricksen: Death Info:
    Lucille Ericksen
    Date of Death: March 13,1925
    Age of Death: 14 years old
    Place of Death:Los Angles
    In 1923, Lucille, her mother and brother lived in Culver City,California. Here is the newspaper link:,665148&dq=lucille+ricksen+culver+city&hl=en

    Her father Samuel Ericksen divorced Lucille's mother in 1917.Here is the newspaper link:,2389424&dq=rupert+hughes+marshall&hl=en
    Your little research lady,

  17. Her brother, Marshall Ricksen, was adopted by a relative of Howard Hughes. Mr. Ricksen remarried and died in the late 30s or 40s. He sued for some her paltry insurance money.

  18. $50,000.00 wasn't a "paltry" sum back then. the Hughes realative was Rupert Hughes who was prominent in Hollywood. I posted a picture of Lucille on facebook in the silent film lounge and someone popped up that she supposedly had a fling with Charlie Chaplin's brother Sydney Chaplin. I think that would be trully disgusting.

  19. Actually, I read several articles from the Los Angeles Times in the archives, and in the articles it was mentioned that her insurance money wasn't much considering that she made quite a few movies. The father fought over it, and it wasn't considered to be a great sum, since there were bills to pay too.

  20. Hi Jessica!

    Lucille is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, together with her mother.

    1. Thank you, Alberto! A lot of my blog entries are lacking information that I have later found or have been told about. I really need to go back and edit them!

  21. Ingeborg Myrtle Elisabeth Ericksen...This was her birth name, not Lucille. Her birth record IS in

    Name: Ingeborg Myrtle Elisabeth Ericksen
    Birth Date: 22 Aug 1910
    Birth Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
    Ethnicity: American
    Gender: Female
    Race: White
    Father Name: Samuel Ericksen
    Father's Age: 33
    Mother Name: Ingeborg Nielsen
    Mother's Age: 30
    FHL Film Number: 1288198

  22. I see that you have that information already...and just in case, you can see where her urn is as she list listed in under the FAMOUS listing. They have her date of birth wrong though!

    1. Hi Mellie! Thank you for the extra information!
      I do need to go back and revise some of my older entries because some of the information I was missing at the time of writing, I have found. So, I need to go back and fill in the holes.
      One day...

  23. has photos of the grave and urn

    1. I just saw! Is it weird to say that I love how dusty and old it looks?