You know, for the past two years when I visited California, I visited Renee Adoree at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I kinda knew who she was a year ago. I mean, I knew she was a silent film star who was in the film The Big Parade with John Gilbert, and I also knew that she died fairly young. It's sad because from what I have seen, it is pretty apparent that she would have gone on to lead a pretty substantial career.
Also...and maybe it's just me, but Renee reminds me a bit of Pola Negri. They both had really big faces! I don't know if that is mean to say, but it's true. She also bears resemblance to Marie Prevost in some pictures.
Renee Adoree was born Jeanne de La Fonte on September 30, 1898 in Lille, Nord, France.
When she was 5 years old, she began performing in the circus alongside her parents (which is pretty cool). As she grew older, she began to also appear on stage and toured with various theater troupes throughout Europe.
She eventually made her way to the States and moved to New York City to continue working on the stage. Then one day, she grabbed hold of a chance to start working in the motion picture business. The studio decided to change her name to the more exotic sounding Renee Adoree (pronounced Ren-ee Add-o-ray). She appeared in her first film in 1920.
|Renee and John Gilbert
In 1925, she appeared in the film that was to be her most famous and also one of MGM's biggest hits, The Big Parade. The film thankfully is available to view, but I know a lot of us are waiting for it to be released on DVD.
In 1928, she appeared in the Howard Hughes film The Mating Call. She had a scene where she was seen skinny dipping and this caused a big to-do at the time.
Even though Renee did have a French accent, she made the transition to sound without a hitch. She had the chance to appear in talkies with some of the times greatest leading men, including Ramon Novarro, John Gilbert (her co-star from The Big Parade), and Lon Chaney.
Just as her career was growing with the talkies, she was stricken with tuberculosis. She went against doctor's advice of taking it easy. Instead, she continued to make pictures until she was too sick to continue and she was admitted to a sanitarium. There, she had to remain flat on her back for 2 years in order to help her condition and eventually was deemed healthy enough to be released in 1933. Unfortunately, she just got worse as the days passed.
Renee Adoree passed away on October 5, 1933 in Tujunga, California. She had just turned 35.
She is interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. For anyone who is wanting to go visit her grave, she is quite easy to find. As soon as you walk into the Abbey of the Psalms, she is directly in front of you...a little to the left. She is usually the first one I visit, and I always love that when I do, she has flowers on her grave. She hasn't been forgotten :)
Renee was married twice. First to one of the famous Moore brothers, Tom Moore, in 1921. They divorced three years later. Her second marriage was to William Sherman Gill in 1927, but they divorced in 1929.
During her teen years she also appeared in the French version of the Ziegfeld Follies, the Folies-Bergeres.