Thursday, May 31, 2012

Miss Dorothy Phillips/Miss Mignon Anderson

So, on Monday I am heading back out to California to visit my favorite lads and ladies from the silent screen. I am trying to get my grave hunting lists together and find who I haven't yet and I have come across quite a few names of silent film stars that I have heard of or seen in films, but don't know much about. I like to know really who I am looking for, so I am cracking out two biographies today. One is Dorothy Phillips and what I know about her is that she was reportedly one of the nicest and most approachable stars during her time. The second is Mignon Anderson, and what I know about her is that she worked for Thanhouser Studios, and that is pretty much it.

Dorothy Phillips was born Dorothy Gwendolyn Strible on October 22, 1882 in Baltimore, Maryland.

She began her career as most do, on the stage. She made her film debut in 1911, and after making quite a few films, she earned, the nickname "Kid Nazimova" because she did such a great job imitating Alla Nazimova. Kinda interesting they called her a kid, considering she was in her twenties.

Silent films she appeared in include: A Doll's House (1917) with Lon Chaney, Broadway Love (1918) also with Lon Chaney, Upstage (1926) with Norma Shearer, and Cradle Snatchers (1927) with Louise Fazenda.

Talkies she appeared in include: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) in an uncredited role as a nurse, Father of the Bride (1950) in an uncredited role in a dream sequence, and her last film role was in 1962's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance in a nameless, uncredited role.

Dorothy may have been quite a lovely little comedian, but her star power didn't seem to have any staying power. Her popularity began to decline during the late 1920s, right about when talkies were starting to loom on the horizon. If she did get film roles, they were either bit parts or uncredited roles.

Dorothy Phillips passed away on March 1, 1980 in California. She was buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Dorothy was only married once, to actor/director/producer Allen Holubar in 1912. They remained married until his death in 1923 from complications following gallstone surgery. The two were a Hollywood power couple during that era.

Like I said earlier, she was known as one of the nicest gals you could ever meet. She had a lovely disposition and movie fans found her very approachable. You don't find that in film stars very much, so good for you Dorothy!


Mignon Anderson was born on March 31, 1892 in Baltimore, Maryland (same as Dorothy!) Her father, James Frank Anderson, was an actor who appeared on the vaudeville stage and in operas and her mother, Hollie, also appeared on the stage.

Her family, which included two older sisters, Charlotta and and Hollie, moved to New York City where they went to school and Mignon made her stage debut when she was only six months old.

While also working on the stage, she also worked as an artist's model.

When she was in her late teens in 1911, she signed with Thanhouser Studios. She signed on as a sweet, dainty ingenue. Very dainty considering she was only about five feet tall. Her fellow Thanhouser actors apparently nicknamed her "Filet Mignon." (of course)

After staying at Thanhouser for about four or five years, she left and signed with a few other studios briefly before becoming a freelance player.

Apparently she knew where her talents lay because she went from silent movies back into theatre work. She never appeared in a talkie, and her last film appearance was in 1922.

Mignon Anderson passed away on February 25, 1983 in Los Angeles. She was buried at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills.

She was only married once, to fellow actor Morris Foster in 1915. According to a news article at the time, the wedding took place at her home because her family was still in mourning. Not sure exactly what they were in mourning about, but it could be for Frank Anderson, who died around that time. The two had a wonderful marriage and remained married until he passed away in 1966. They did not have any children.

Although she was only married once, she did have quite a few other beaus around the studio. She was linked to another actor named Val Hush, who was once linked to another Thanhouser beauty, Florence LaBadie. But, the one actor it seemed like she almost married was Irving Cummings. They two, according to Cummings, were going to be married very soon, but the next thing people knew, she married Morris Foster. Ah love... 

For more information on Mignon and a ton of other actors and actresses who were part of the Thanhouser Studios, check out their amazing website! Thanhouser Studios

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Moving pictures! What will they think of next?! TALKING pictures?!

These are some animated gifs I have found all over the web of some of our favorite silent stars. I do not own any of them (I have no idea how to make them). 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Cat's Pajamas

As I have stated a few hundred times, I love pictures of the actors and actresses of yester year. I realized I had a bunch on my computer that have just been lying in wait. They are of lesser known actresses, so getting info on all of them can be hard and would only garner a few second long entry. So, instead...I present them to you all at once. Feast your eyes on these lovely ladies of the silent screen.

This is Olive Ann Alcorn. She was born March 10, 1900 in Stillwater, Minnesota. Her film debut was in a Charlie Chaplin short called Sunnyside in 1919.  She was credited in five silent film features all together, most notably 1925's The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney.  Olive was known more for her dancing abilities on stage rather than her acting on the screen. She was a member of the Denishawn Players, starting when she was still in her teens. Another thing she was famous for was her nude postcards that she posed for. Olive Ann Alcorn passed away on January 8, 1975.

Here is Miss Elisabeth Bergner. She was born Elisabeth Ettel on August 22, 1897 in Ukraine. She began working as a model in her teens and eventually moving to the silver screen, making her film debut in 1923. Her film career had some ups and downs. The down was that one of her films was banned in Germany because it had Jewish actors in it. The upside was that she earned an Oscar nomination in 1935 for her role in the film Escape Me Never. Mind you, this was all over in Europe. She did make one film in America, but the film and Elisabeth weren't hits with the public. She did have something in common with such Hollywood actresses as Julie Andrews, Joanne Woodward and Jean Simmons though. They were all in films that were directed by their husbands (Elisabeth was married to director Paul Szinner). She eventually retired from film and stage alike in the 1970s. Elisabeth Bergner passed away on May 12, 1986 in London. Interesting little fact about Elisabeth was that she was part of the inspiration behind the famous story/film All About Eve.

This cutie is Dulcie Cooper. She was born on November 3, 1903 in Sydney, Australia. She appeared in roughly six silent films. After the silent days passed by, she appeared in a number of stage productions, and even made a few television appearances, including a spot on "The Phil Silvers Show" in 1957. Dulcie Cooper passed away on September 3, 1981 in New York City.

Clara Horton was born on July 29, 1904 in Brooklyn, New York. She made her film debut in 1912 when she was still a kid, and even earned the nickname "The Eclair Kid." Clara appeared in over 50 silent movies including 1917's Tom Sawyer with Jack Pickford. Since she was such a film veteran by the time the talkies came around, she seemed to be ready for the new talking picture medium, but like so many other silent film actors, her career didn't last. She made her last film in 1942. Clara Horton passed away on December 4, 1976 in Encino, California.

Those beautiful eyes look right into you don't they? The eyes belong to Mona Maris. She was born Rosa Emma Mona Maria Marta Capdevielle in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She appeared in roughly 10 silent films, and most were Westerns. Even when the talkies came, she still appeared in a lot of Westerns. Typecasting is an age old thing, ain't it? Incredibly, her last film role was in 1984. Mona Maris passed away on March 23, 1991 in her hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I love the head wrap in the hair look, so flapper! This beauty is Marguerite Namara. She was born Marguerite Banks on November 19, 1888 in Cleveland, Ohio. She only appeared in two silent films and then only three talkies. Her first talkie was in a 1932 version of Carmen, where she had the starring role. Her daughter, Peggy, also appeared in a few films. Marguerite Namara passed away on November 3, 1974 in Marbella, Spain.

Sally Starr (perfect stage name) was born Sarah Kathryn Sturm on January 23, 1909 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She started off as a chorus girl in "George White's Scandals" and became so popular that she eventually became the girl who announced the next scene. She appeared in around four silent films, mostly because her time was spent on the stage. She was signed by MGM who wanted her to represent an everyday starlet. Sally was even supposed to be another up and coming Clara Bow. But, as we all know, no one can touch Clara. Her last film appearance was in 1938. Sally Starr passed away on May 5, 1996 in Pennsylvania.

Please meet Miss Charlotte Stevens. She was born August 25, 1902 in Chicago, Illinois. She made her film debut in 1915 and kept making movies all the way til 1928 when she retired from the industry. Charlotte Stevens passed away on October 28, 1946 at age 46 in Los Angeles. I can't find out how/why she died so young though.

This is Raquel Torres. She was born with the less exciting name of Paula Osterman in Hermosillo, Mexico on November 11, 1908. She made her film debut at age 19 in the not really silent film White Shadows in the South Seas. This was actually MGM's first film to use synchronized music, dialogue, and sound effects. She really find her stride as another Mexican Spitfire type (like Lupe Velez) and also from her appearance in the Marx Brother's film, Duck Soup in 1933. Her last film appearance was in an uncredited role in a 1936 film. Raquel Torres passed away on August 10, 1987 in Los Angeles.

Last but not least is another lovely Latin lady, Lupita Tovar. She was born Guadalupe Tovar on July 27, 1910 in Oaxaca, Mexico. She made three silent films before moving right along to the talkies. Interestingly, one of her more notable film roles was in the Spanish version of Dracula in 1931. She married agent Paul Kohner in 1932, and their daughter, Susan, became an actress as well, appearing in Imitation of Life with Lana Turner. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role. Another cool note about Lupita....she is still alive! Man oh man...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Miss Nancy Carroll

Hello, hello! *whew* I have finished fixing all "lost" pictures on the blog. Even though I love looking at pictures of these great people, that was a tedious and looooong task. BUT, all fixed now! On with the show!

What do I know about Nancy Carroll? Well, she was the picture of the perfect flapper with her big beautiful eyes, cutesy smile, and curly bobbed hair. Oh, and from what I have read, she was kind of a bitch. But hey...let's dig a little deeper and see if we can find a nice lady under this Hot Toddy.

Nancy Carroll was born Ann Veronica Lahiff on November 19, 1903 in New York City. She was the youngest child of Thomas and Ann Lahiff, joining older sisters Sarah, Theresa, Elsie, Margaret, and Agnes, and older brother Martin (Margaret and Agnes died in infancy).

Nancy and her sister, Theresa (her stage name was Terry) began appearing on the stage at a young age, dancing away and even winning contests for their talents. She eventually danced her way to the Broadway stage.

In 1927 she made her film debut in Ladies Must Dress (Yeah, never heard of it either). Throughout her silent film career, she appeared in around 13 films.

Like many of her fellow actors, her stage experience helped usher her in to the talkies. She was popular little actress appearing in such films as Honey (1930), Paramount on Parade (1930), and That Certain Age (1938). I actually have sheet music from the film Honey that I found at an antique store. For $1.00, you bet I snapped that up!

Nancy did manage an Oscar nomination for her role in the 1930 film The Devil's Holiday, but she lost out to Norma Shearer and her role in The Divorcee.

During the late 1930s, she began getting restless with the roles being offered to her from Paramount Studios. This is probably where the whole 'bitch' aspect of her personality came through because word started spreading that she was difficult on set. The studio eventually let her go. She signed with Columbia, but only had bit parts in a few films.

No more films for Nancy. So, she moved on to the new medium of television. She appeared on a number of shows, and the only one I have ever heard of was The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen. She made her appearance on this show in 1959.

Nancy Carroll passed away on August 6, 1965 from an aneurysm.

She was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, New York alongside her parents and siblings, except for sister Terry.

Nancy was married three times. First to writer Jack Kirkland in 1925. They had a daughter together named Patricia, but divorced after only five years of marriage. Her second marriage was to Francis Bolton Mallory from 1931 until 1935. Her last marriage was to C.H. Jappe Green from 1953. They were married until her death.

For her work as an actress, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"Because you think differently, you're considered disagreeable, and upstage, and difficult. AN original thinker has to fight." ~~ Nancy Carroll (Well said, doll baby)