Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mary Jane Irving

Before we go on to our next silent film child star, I just wanted to bring up a couple of things. First, just a reminder that Silence is Platinum is now on Instagram. So, if you have an account, come follow me to see pictures of your favorite silent film actors and actresses and learn about others you may not be aware of! These last few weeks with the IG account has been a ton of fun, so check me out!

Second, just a reminder about posting comments on entries. When you first post a comment, it won't automatically appear on the page. The reason it doesn't first appear is because I have to approve the comments. Once I approve the comment, it will post and I will respond. I had to set it up this way not just to avoid spam and comments from trolls, but also because I wouldn't get notified when people posted! So, please keep that in mind. You don't have to post two or three times, just once is enough, and I will get to it when I get a chance.

Alright, enough housekeeping! On to little Mary Jane Irving!

Mary Jane Irving was born on October 20, 1913 in Columbia, South Carolina. She was the youngest child born to Frank, a clerk, and Louise Irving. She had an older brother, Frank Jr. and an older sister, Elizabeth. Frank and Louise would end up divorcing in 1930.

She got her start in pictures the way all aspiring actors and actresses wish they could, by being spotted on the street. Reportedly, while she was out walking with her mother one day, she was spotted by cowboy actor William S. Hart. Hart apparently was smitten by the little girl because he told her mother that he wanted her in his next picture. 

Mary Jane and William S. Hart

In 1917, Mary Jane made her screen debut in the William S. Hart film, The Square Deal Man. She played a child named Blossom. Her frequent appearances in Hart films would earn her the nickname of "Hart's Sweetheart."

"Well, there's little Mary Jane Irving...She's not a bit precocious, just a dear, sweet kiddie with a head bursting with affection. She always calls me 'Daddy Hart.'" Hart told Photo-Play Journal in March of 1919. 

Mary Jane and Ethel Clayton

During her career, which included 58 films, she and her family lived with Louise Irving's family in Los Angeles. Louise was a very important part of her daughter's career due to her ability to give Mary Jane a cue that would make her cry for a scene. When that didn't work, she would squeeze the little girl's face. Actress Bessie Barriscale apparently also helped with prompting Mary Jane to cry. 

Like most child stars, once the cuteness of childhood wore off, Mary Jane's film roles got smaller and smaller. She played a student in the 1929 film, The Godless Girl (starring Marie Prevost and Lina Basquette) along with other former child stars. She also appeared in The Florodora Girl, starring Marion Davies, and Tom Sawyer, with Jackie Coogan. Both of these films were released in 1930. 

The bit parts continued and she also worked for a time as a stand in for Janet Gaynor and Lily Pons. Reportedly, Mary Jane had planned to take a break from acting, but went back to work to help support her ailing mother. 

"The work keeps me up to date and enables me to meet directors , and to study the work of new stars," Mary Jane told Picture-Play Magazine in 1936.

While her last few film roles were uncredited, they were in smash hits like 1936's Follow the Fleet and 1937's A Star is Born. Her final screen appearance was in 1938 in the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Ginger Rogers film, Having Wonderful Time

Mary Jane Irving passed away on July 17, 1983 in Los Angeles. I don't know where she is buried.

Mary Jane was married once, to screenwriter Robert Carson. He was the writer behind two of her last films, Follow the Fleet and A Star is Born, to name a few. The couple married in 1938 and remained married until Carson's death in 1983. Mary Jane's death was almost six months after his. 

Ethel Clayton and Mary Jane in The Cradle

She was engaged to a stunt man during the 1920's who ended up permanently injured after a stunt went wrong. The same almost happened to Mary Jane when she and her fiance were both on set for the film A Godless Girl and she was preparing to do a stunt that involved jumping from a third floor balcony. With her fiance's support and her own stunt skills, she executed the stunt without any mishaps. 

Joe Butterworth, Brownie the Dog, and Mary Jane in front in The Good Bad Boy. 

"Miss Nilsson is one of my favorites, I guess you would say. I have always wanted to be a bit like her. And I know I've learned a lot just watching her act." ~~ Mary Jane Irving to Hollywood Vagabond - December 1, 1927

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Peaches Jackson

Peaches and Jackie Coogan

Peaches Jackson was born Charlotte Jackson on October 9, 1913 in Buffalo, New York. She was the oldest child born to Ephraim Jackson, a car salesman who later worked for a newspaper, and Charlotte Lynch who worked briefly in films. She had a younger sister, Mary Ann, and a younger brother, Richard. Mary Ann and Richard ("Dickie") both acted in films. Mary Ann will be covered in a later entry since she really was the more famous of the siblings.

Peaches made her film debut in I Love You, (1918) which starred Alma Rubens.

During her career, which lasted from 1918 to 1933 with roughly 34 films and shorts, Peaches had the chance to share the screen with big names like Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, and Mabel Normand (to name a few).

Thomas Meighan and Peaches

Her costar in the 1921 film A Prince There Was, was actor Thomas Meighan. Thomas couldn't stop gushing about his tiny costar...which bordered a TINY bit on creepy:

"Imagine then, a doll suddenly become alive; a perfect little dream of childish sweetness and the perfection of innocent beauty." ~~ Thomas Meighan to Photo-Play Magazine - April 22, 1920

"Although I have had many charming leading women, it is very easy for me to select my favorite among them. The first time I saw her I fell in love with her brown eyes and her shining hair and she tells me she fell in love with me too. For that reason, we play lovely love scenes very easily together. Her name is Peaches Jackson and she will be 9 years old on her next birthday." ~~ Thomas Meighan to Photoplay magazine - July 1924.

Thomas Meighan and Peaches

When she wasn't playing "lovely love scenes" with men in their forties, Peaches often played boy roles, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

One of her best known films would probably be 1929's The Godless Girl, starring Marie Prevost and Lina Basquette. Peaches and a number of other silent film child stars played the roles of students in the film. What a nice little reunion!

Peaches last film would be the Clark Gable and Joan Crawford hit, Dancing Lady (1933). She had an uncredited role as a chorus girl.

Peaches Jackson passed away on February 23, 2002 in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered off the coast of Oahu. 

Peaches was married twice. In 1931 she eloped with businessman Joe Grasse at the age of just eighteen. The pair would eventually divorce and she would later marry sometime actor, Tony Guerrero during the 1930's. While Peaches and Tony sometimes found work in pictures during their marriage, they really found success in the restaurant business. The couple went to France to study Le Cordon Bleu cooking and would eventually own two successful restaurants in Hawaii. Their food was so popular that they began selling their house dressing in stores. And I believe it is still available in stores and online!

When she wasn't whipping up sensational meals, Peaches enjoyed big game hunting in Africa. Apparently she once shot and killed a 350 lb. tiger while on a trip to India. She would later become the only female member of a safari club in San Francisco. 

I have to share this as well because it was kinda funny/puzzling to read. According to a 1912 article in Motion Picture Magazine, Charlotte Lynch Jackson, Peaches' mother, told an interviewer that Charles Dickens HIMSELF told her that her daughter Peaches should have played a part in the film adaptation of his book, Oliver Twist. Now, I would tell you to scroll up and check out the year of Peaches' birth, but I will just tell ya right here and save you some time. Peaches Jackson was born in 1913. Charles Dickens DIED in 1870. So, unless the ghost of Charles Dickens popped down and told this to Charlotte...

"She could hang with men, but she was always a lady, very feminine. She was a woman ahead of her time." ~~ Tracy McCalla, niece of Peaches Jackson (Honolulu Advertiser - February 26, 2002)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Violet Wilkey

Violet Louise Wilkey was born on January 10, 1903 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was the eldest child born to Arthur Wilkey and his wife, Annie Dora Winter. Her younger brother, Frederick was born eight years later. Arthur Wilkey supported his family by working as a streetcar operator and later as a laboratory technician for the movie studios. 

She made her film debut in the 1914 short, The Old Maid, playing a younger version of Blanche Sweet's character. 

Harold Goodwin and Violet

The following year she appeared in D.W. Griffith's epic, The Birth of a Nation. She played the younger version of Mae Marsh's character. Her next film that year she once again played a younger Mae Marsh. 

Her career was quite short, and she made her final screen appearance in 1917's Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Violet played the role of Millie, the bully to Mary Pickford's Rebecca. 

Mary Pickford and Violet 

Violet Wilkey passed away on June 5, 1976 in North Hollywood, California. I do not know where she is buried, but it may be at Forest Lawn in Glendale with her parents. 

Violet was married once, to Russell Kauffmann, an assistant manager at a department store. The couple married in 1927 and had two children: Robert Russell in 1927 and Patricia in 1931. The marriage ended in divorce in 1976. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January Birthdays!

A new year! A new month! AND..............

Silence is Platinum is now on Instagram! 

I have been thinking about expanding my blog to other social media sites and as of today, I am live! So, if you have an Instagram account follow me at @silenceisplatinum and you are in for beautiful pictures of your favorite silent stars, as well as fun facts and interesting tidbits. 

Look for my latest entry in the next couple days!

Snitz Edwards ~ January 1, 1868

Mabel Ballin ~ January 1, 1887

Lillian Lorraine ~ January 1, 1892

Valentina Zimina ~ January 1, 1899

Paola Borboni ~ January 1, 1900

Lillian Rich ~ January 1, 1900

Florence Lawrence ~ January 2, 1886

William Haines ~ January 2, 1900

Sybil Seely ~ January 2, 1900

Allene Ray ~ January 2, 1901

Zasu Pitts ~ January 3, 1894

Alma Taylor ~ January 3, 1895

Dorothy Arzner ~ January 3, 1897

Marion Davies ~ January 3, 1897

Pola Negri ~ January 3, 1897

Anna May Wong ~ January 3, 1905

Elinor Field ~ January 4, 1902

Francesca Bertini ~ January 5, 1892

Katherine Perry ~ January 5, 1897

Tom Mix ~ January 6, 1880

Florence Turner ~ January 6, 1885

Phyllis Haver ~ January 6, 1899

Ruth Hiatt ~ January 6, 1906

Loretta Young ~ January 6, 1913

Henny Porten ~ January 7, 1890

Matt Moore ~ January 8, 1888

Rubye De Remer ~ January 9, 1892

Vilma Banky ~ January 9, 1898

Francis X. Bushman ~ January 10, 1883

Douglas MacLean ~ January 10, 1890

Pina Menichelli ~ January 10, 1890

Virginia Valli ~ January 10, 1896

Lya De Putti ~ January 10, 1897

Kenneth Casey ~ January 10, 1899

Pauline Starke ~ January 10, 1901

Violet Wilkey ~ January 10, 1903

Peggy Shannon ~ January 10, 1907

Claudia Dell ~ January 10, 1909

Jack Hoxie ~ January 11, 1885

Chester Conklin ~ January 11, 1886

Monte Blue ~ January 12, 1887

Milton Sills ~ January 12, 1882

Jane Novak ~ January 12, 1896

Bebe Daniels ~ January 14, 1902

Myrtle Reeves ~ January 15, 1897

Thelma Salter ~ January 15, 1908

Harry Carey ~ January 16, 1878

Mack Sennett ~ January 17, 1880

Nils Asther ~ January 17, 1897

Anne Cornwall ~ January 17, 1897

Oliver Hardy ~ January 18, 1892

Bruce Guerin ~ January 18, 1919

Mady Christians ~ January 19, 1892

Xenia Desni ~ January 19, 1894

Mary MacLaren ~ January 19, 1896

Natacha Rambova ~ January 19, 1897

Marjorie Daw ~ January 19, 1902

Lilian Harvey ~ January 19, 1906

Carlyle Blackwell ~ January 20, 1894

D.W. Griffith ~ January 22, 1875

Constance Collier ~ January 22, 1878

Conrad Veidt ~ January 22, 1893

Matty Roubert ~ January 22, 1907

Mae Giraci ~ January 22, 1910

Andre Bayley ~ January 26, 1903

Violet Heming ~ January 27, 1895

W.C. Fields ~ January 20, 1880

Mickey Bennett ~ January 28, 1915

Mary Eaton ~ January 29, 1901

Arlette Marchal ~ January 29, 1902

Greta Nissen ~ January 30, 1905

Eddie Cantor ~ January 31, 1892

Justine Johnstone ~ January 31, 1895

Tallulah Bankhead ~ January 31, 1902