|Helen Holmes in action|
I'm really cranking them out, eh? On first blush with these two ladies: I know Helen Holmes was good friends with Mabel Normand, and I know that I have seen Carmelita Geraghty in the Mary Pickford movie, My Best Girl where I thought she did a great job.
Please proceed into the theater...
The same song and dance progression here: artist's model, stage actress, then film actress. She made her stage debut when she was 16 years old. It was here that she met and became good friends with another actress, Mabel Normand.
A few years later, Helen headed out to California not to star in the movies, but to take care of her brother who had taken ill. Mabel followed soon after to work for Keystone and convinced Helen that she should try out. It wasn't until her brother died a few months later that Helen took her friend up on the offer.
In 1914, Pearl White became the big name in action serials when The Perils of Pauline first began appearing in theaters. Kalem wanted their own action star to have her own serials, so they created The Hazards of Helen. Helen did her own stunts in all 26 episodes of the serial.
This serial made Helen a big name in the industry. She appeared in more and more action films with a few different studios before her career began to slowly decline when people started to get tired of seeing all these female action films. So, she began appearing in westerns but not to the same fanfare as her earlier shorts were.
Helen did appear in some talkies, but not in any big roles (if she was even credited at all). She made her last film appearance in 1943.
She is buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.
Helen was married twice. Her first husband was director J.P. McGowan and I am not sure exactly when they married and when they divorced but it was sometime between the 1910s and 1920s. Her second husband was stuntman Lloyd Saunders in the late 1930s. When her career began to wane, she and her husband worked instead on training animals for movies such as Rin Tin Tin. They stayed married until Lloyd died in 1946. From what I have read, I don't believe she ever had children.
After she retired, Helen and her husband also ran an antique store. Apparently, Helen had quite a collection of rare, antique dolls.
Carmelita Geraghty was born on March 21, 1901 in Rushville, Indiana. Her father was a screenwriter named Tom Geraghty and her mother's name was Ethel. She was the oldest of four children which included sister, Gladys, and brothers Gerald and Maurice who both worked as writers.
She grew up in New York City and then the family moved to California (presumably to follow the movie making industry) where she graduated from Hollywood High School.
Her parents were not thrilled with their daughter's film star aspirations, but she ignored them and tried her luck. She began working under a made up stage name as an extra until she got work working for Mack Sennett. It was here she chose to appear under her real name.
In 1924, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star alongside such future stars as Clara Bow, Julanne Johnston, and the tragic, little Lucille Ricksen.
Directors and studios alike loved her, but her career never really skyrocketed in the silents and it did even worse when the talkies came. Her parts in the films just kept getting smaller and smaller. She made her last film appearance in 1936.
Carmelita Geraghty passed away from a heart attack on July 7, 1966 in Manhattan.
She was buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Carmelita was only married once, to writer/producer Carey Wilson in 1934. They remained married until his death in 1962 and never had children.
After she retired from the movies, she found another niche she excelled in. Painting. Her work was so well received that she even exhibited some in Paris.