Friday, December 30, 2011

Miss Seena Owen

As far as an intro goes...I don't really know much to say about Seena. The most I know about her is that she was in Intolerance and her make-up looked really weird and hid how really pretty she was. Which, most make up back then did anyway. Can you imagine how white and greasy their faces must have looked off camera? I mean, in some pictures, Buster looks dead!

Seena Owen was born Signe Auen on November 14, 1894 in Spokane, Washington. She was the youngest of three children, brother Auden and sister Lillie, born to Jens and Karen Auen who had come to the U.S. from Denmark about five years prior to Seena's birth.

Her father found work in a pharmacy, and the family enjoyed a nice lifestyle for a few years. Seena had the opportunity of attending school in her parents native land, Copenhagen, Denmark. Unfortunately though, Jens Auen's business failed and it became necessary for his children to find jobs to help support the family as well. Seena decided to try her luck at acting and joined a stage company in San Francisco where she worked for awhile. She soon traveled further South where the movie scene was starting to settle, in Hollywood.

Seena worked as an extra before she was signed to the Kalem Film Company. She made her first credited debut in 1915 in the film A Yankee From the West. That year she also changed her stage name to 'Seena Owen,' which is how her name was pronounced anyway, but this way it was easier for people to read.

The next year, Seena appeared in D.W. Griffith's epic, Intolerance. She played 'Princess Beloved' (Belshazaar's favorite). I think everyone alive at that time was in that movie...seriously. The scene of Babylon has like 4 million extras. It always tickles me when you go to downtown Hollywood and see the replicas of the Intolerance set. I used to think they were real, and that the film was shot right there...but sadly I was wrong. Cool to imagine though, eh?

In her relatively short career, Seena had the chance to appear with some big names like Douglas Fairbanks, Lon Chaney, and Gloria Swanson. Her film with Chaney, Victory (1919), was considered lost for many years but was re-discovered in Europe and is now available to watch on DVD. Yay! Seena also appeared in a lot of Tod Browning's early shorts. You may know him more for his cult classic, Freaks. I don't know about you, but I love that movie.

Seena had a weak voice for talkies, so she only appeared in one. She officially retired from films in 1933.

Seena Owen passed away on August 15, 1966 in Hollywood.

She was interred at Hollywood Forever with her mother and siblings. I am not 100% sure her father is interred there too.

Seena was only married once, to actor George Walsh, who she met on the set of Intolerance. They were married from 1916 until 1924. They had a daughter named Patricia. Supposedly it was D.W. Griffith who set them up.

Her older sister, Lillie was a Hollywood screenwriter. She appeared in a ton of films, including 1924's Janice Meredith, which starred Marion Davies and 1959's The Shaggy Dog. Seena even helped her with writing a few movies/tv shows as well.

As I said in previous blog entries, she was on board The Oneida the night the whole Thomas Ince scandal took place. I can't find any comments ever made by her, or any of the other 'witnesses' on board that night. Hearst did a good job of shutting people up...or perhaps there really wasn't anything scandalous that occurred.

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