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