Sunday, August 22, 2010

Miss Clarine Seymour

I guess I am in the "silent film actresses who died very young" mode, because I am moving right along to Clarine Seymour. But, unlike fellow tragic actress Lucille Ricksen, there is very little information about Clarine out there. She was a cute innocent ingenue who sadly had her career cut short right when she was beginning to rise.

Clarine Seymour was born on December 9, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York.

Her family was well off until she was around 18 years old when her father had to sell his business due to an illness. So, in order to earn her and her family money, she approached the Thanhouser Film Company in order to get work in film.

From Thanhouser she moved to Pathe' where she appeared with Pearl White in one of her series's episodes. From Pathe', it was time to move to California!

She thought her career was over when the film company she was with sued her for not performing in the films she was assigned to. The truth was that the films weren't successful, so Clarine didn't want to be a part of them anymore. She won the case and thankfully her career was not over. Instead, she met the man himself, D.W. Griffith.

Lillian Gish and Clarine

She appeared in four Griffith pictures: The Girl Who Stayed Home, True Heart Susie, Scarlet Days, and The Idol Dancer. The pictures themselves were not well received, but Clarine's performances always garnered great reviews.

In early 1920 she began work on what would have been her fifth Griffith film, Way Down East. But, sadly she never got to complete the film and she was replaced by Mary Hay. Co-star Lillian Gish did later on say that Clarine can still be seen in the film in long shots.

Clarine Seymour died suddenly on April 25, 1920 from an intestinal condition. She was only 21 years old. Lillian Gish said she thought that Clarine had died from exposure due to the freezing cold weather while filming Way Down East. Either way, it was a tragedy.

She was buried in Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye, New York.

At the time of her death, she lived with her parents and a four year old brother in Hollywood.

"I think what people call luck is really, in reality, destiny. I don't think that there is such a thing as unpurposeful 'luck' in the world!" ~ Clarine Seymour


  1. Here is what I found out about Clarine. On the 1900 Census, it states that she was born in December 1899. That could be the mistake of the enumerator. I can look at the 1910 and 1920 Censuses later. Her father, Albert, had something to do with manufacturing ribbons. His occupation was a bit vague on the Census:

    1900 United States Federal Census
    about Clarice E Seymour
    Name: Clarice E Seymour
    [Clarine E Seymour]
    Home in 1900: Brooklyn Ward 24, Kings, New York
    Age: 1
    Birth Date: Dec 1899
    Birthplace: New York
    Race: White
    Gender: Female
    Relationship to Head of House: Daughter
    Father's Name: Albert V Seymour
    Father's Birthplace: New York
    Mother's Name: Florence W Seymour
    Mother's Birthplace: New York
    Marital Status: Single
    Occupation: View on Image
    Neighbors: View others on page
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Albert V Seymour 33
    Florence W Seymour 23
    Clarice E Seymour 1
    Matilda Olson 19


  2. Ancestry. com's transcribers forgot to put her father in their 1910 Census index. They make many errors. Albert Seymour is on the 1910 Census when I look at the document, and Albert is still manufacturing ribbons. They are still living in Brooklyn, New York with two servants.

    1910 United States Federal Census
    about Florence W Seymour
    Name: Florence W Seymour
    Age in 1910: 33
    Estimated birth year: abt 1877
    Birthplace: New York
    Relation to Head of House: Wife
    Father's Birth Place: New York
    Mother's Birth Place: New York
    Home in 1910: Brooklyn Ward 24, Kings, New York
    Marital Status: Married
    Race: White
    Gender: Female
    Neighbors: View others on page
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Florence W Seymour 33
    Clarine E Seymour 11
    Frieda Winter 25
    Hannah S Gusthansen 23

  3. Oh wow! That is pretty cool information! Thank goodness for the census records.

    Thank you very much Kathy :)

  4. Thanks you a lot for this information. Clarine Seymour was my great-aunt and I have just recently started to track my family history.

    I will update this sight if I find out any new information.

  5. Well, thank you very much for stopping by! There wasn't much I could find on Clarine since she didn't live very long, but I am sure while dong geneology, you will come across more.

    Good look on your search and I would be very grateful for any more information you find.

    By the way, I always get a tinge of jealousy when I meet a relative of one of the silent film stars I like. :)

  6. Please, my grandmother was an organist for silent movies,I believe at what now is the Alabama Historic Theater in the 1920's. Her name was Freda Winter(S). Is this the same as you mentioned above?

  7. That would be neat if it was! How cool to have had your grandmother be a silent film organist! I know my grandma had a lot of film sheet music, but she didn't play at any theatres...that I know of that is.