Kenneth Daniel Harlan (July 26, 1895 – March 6, 1967) was an American actor of the silent film era, playing mostly romantic leads or adventurer types.
Harlan was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of George W. Harlan and actress Rita W. Harlan (born Sarah Wolff). He was a graduate of Saint Francis High School in Brooklyn, New York City, and Fordham University in the Bronx.
At age seven, Harlan began acting on stage and working in vaudeville. His first film was A Black Sheep (1915).
He spent much of 1916 touring with a company of dancers that headlined future Ziegfeld performer Evan-Burrows Fontaine. His career spanned 25 years and included 200 features and serials, Harlan first entered the motion picture world in 1916 as the leading man under D.W. Griffith. Harlan later played with Constance Talmadge, Lois Weber, Mary Pickford, Katherine MacDonald, Anna May Wong, and others. Harlan was skilled at drama and comedy, and made several westerns.
Harlan had the leading role in two film serials, Finger Prints (1931) and Danger Island (1931).
He made a smooth transition to talkies, even singing in a few films, but his film roles remained minor throughout his later career. Harlan worked until the 1940s and retired in 1963.
Harlan was married nine times, including a marriage to silent screen star Marie Prevost. His fifth wife was actress-singer Helene Stanton, whom he married in 1949 and divorced four years later.
Harlan, who was a nephew of actor and comedian Otis Harlan, died of an acute aneurysm in 1967 in Sacramento, California. He was 71.
Gladys Brockwell (née Lindeman; September 26, 1894 – July 2, 1929) was an American actress whose career began during the silent film era.
Gladys Lindeman was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 26, 1894. Her father was H. R. Lindeman. Her mother, Lillian Lindeman (nee Voltaire), a chorus girl turned actress, put her daughter on stage at an early age. By the time Gladys was 14, she played leading roles, and when she was 17 she had her own company. She took on the stage name Gladys Brockwell , and made her film debut in 1913 for Lubin Studios. Within a short time she was starring in a number of films. Developing her craft, she moved to Hollywood where she garnered a role in the acclaimed 1922 version of Oliver Twist and in The Hunchback of Notre Dame the following year.
Her mother Lillian took to the screen in 1914 and also adopted the surname Brockwell, first as Lillian Brockwell then as Billie Brockwell, achieving fame in her own right but after her daughter. The name Brockwell appears to be a corruption of Gladys’ fiance’s surname, Broadwell but may stem from a remarriage of Lillian around 1907/8 with both mother and daughter taking a new surname.
By the mid-1920s she was past the age of 30 and although still given top female billing, Brockwell performed mainly in supporting roles. Regarded as one of the finest character actresses of the day who not only adapted to sound films but excelled in them, her first appearance in a “talkie” came in 1928 in Lights of New York. Her performance received strong reviews at the time of the film’s release as well as by present-day critics of the preserved film.
A Warner Bros. feature-length production, Lights of New York was filmed with microphones strategically hidden around the sets, creating the first motion picture released with fully synchronic dialogue. She was then signed by Warner Bros. and was looking forward to continued success in talkies. She died in an automobile accident in 1929.
Brockwell married actor Robert B. Broadwell on March 3, 1915. They separated on September 1, 1915, due to “Much quarreling and unpleasantness generally,” as she told the court when she sought a divorce in March 1918. “We never seemed to agree on anything,” she added. Los Angeles Judge Jackson granted her divorce decree on March 13, 1918, on grounds of desertion.
On July 1, 1918, she married Harry Edwards, a film director, but the marriage was annulled the next year.
On June 27, 1929, Brockwell and a friend, Thomas Brennan, were involved in an automobile accident near Calabasas, California. She was crushed beneath the automobile driven by Brennan, an advertising man from Los Angeles, California. The automobile went over a 75-foot (23 m) embankment on the Ventura Highway near Calabasas.
Seriously injured, four blood transfusions were performed in an effort to save her life, the last just before her death. Brennan recovered after sustaining serious injuries. He said a bit of dust had blown into his eye, temporarily blinding him. Following a second blood transfusion, Brockwell appeared to improve until peritonitis set in from her internal injuries, particularly a puncture of her large intestine.
After two more transfusions, Brockwell died at 7 p.m. on July 2, 1929, at Osteopathic Hospital. No negligence was placed on Brennan, who was still recovering in the hospital. Her final film, The Drake Case, was directed by Edward Laemmle while she was on loan to Universal Pictures, and was released posthumously in September 1929.
Gladys Brockwell was cremated at Hollywood Cemetery and her ashes given to her mother. Her ashes now lie with her mother in the columbarium of Inglewood Park Cemetery on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Colleen Moore in “Twinkletoes” (1926)
Colleen Moore in “Twinkletoes” (1926)
Colleen Moore in “Twinkletoes” (1926)
Monica “Twinkletoes” Minasi, a motherless child of the London Limehouse district, is a brilliant young dancer who lives in poverty. She saves a crowd from abuse by the police through an impromptu performance, during which she meets Chuck Lightfoot, a champion fighter and older married man whose wife, Cissie, was the cause of the ruckus. Twinks finds herself slowly falling in love with Chuck but resists, because he is married and much older (he is in his late twenties, she might be as young as 15), but when he saves her from an attack one night she realizes that it is useless to fight her feelings.
She dances at the head of the “Quayside Kids,” a local dance group in a music hall run by Roseleaf, who has designs on the young girls that dance for him. Chuck’s wife Cissie realizes that her husband had feelings for Twinks and, learning that Twink’s dad is a burglar, exposes him to the police. Twinks is distraught when she learns the news that her father—whom she admired above all other people—is a criminal. Roseleaf takes her to his apartment and attempts to have his way with her, but she manages to escape. Cissie is killed in an accident, and, in despair, Twink throws herself into the river. She is rescued by Chuck and in his arms finds something to live for.
Janet Gaynor – “Sunny Side Up”
Music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown.
From David Butler’s 1929 movie musical Sunny Side Up.
Owen Moore (12 December 1886 – 9 June 1939) was an Irish-born American actor, appearing in more than 279 movies spanning from 1908 to 1937.
Moore was born in Fordstown Crossroads, County Meath, Ireland. Along with his parents, John and Rose Anna Moore, brothers Tom, Matt, and Joe, and sister Mary (1890–1919), he emigrated to the United States as a steerage passenger on board the S.S. Anchoria. The Moore family were inspected on Ellis Island in May 1896 and settled in the Toldeo, Ohio area. Moore and his siblings went on to successful careers in motion pictures in Hollywood, California.
While working at D. W. Griffith’s Biograph Studios, Moore met a young Canadian actress named Gladys Smith, whom he married on January 7, 1911. Their marriage was kept secret at first because of the strong opposition of her mother. However, Gladys Moore would soon overshadow her husband under her stage name, Mary Pickford. In 1912, he signed on with Victor Studios, co-starring in a number of their films with studio owner/actress Florence Lawrence.
Mary Pickford left Biograph Studios to join the Independent Moving Pictures (IMP) to replace their star, Florence Lawrence. Carl Laemmle, the owner of IMP (IMP later merged into Universal Studios), agreed to sign Moore as part of the deal. This humiliation, together with his wife’s meteoric rise to fame, drastically affected Moore, and alcohol became a problem that led to violent behavior and his physically abusing Pickford. In 1916, Pickford met actor Douglas Fairbanks. In 1920, Pickford filed for divorce from Moore when she agreed to his demand of $100,000 settlement. Pickford and Fairbanks married days later.
Moore appeared in many successful films for Lewis J. Selznick (father of producer David O. Selznick and agent Myron Selznick), in the late teens and early 1920s. He was a popular star at Selznick Pictures along with Olive Thomas, Elaine Hammerstein, Eugene O'Brien and Conway Tearle. He also appeared in films for his own production company as well as Goldwyn and Triangle.
Moore married a second time to silent film actress, Katherine Perry, in 1921. With the advent of sound film, Moore’s career declined, and he became a supporting actor for newer stars. He competed, as the third lead, with Cary Grant and Noah Beery, Sr. for the attentions of Mae West in She Done Him Wrong, Paramount’s most lucrative film of 1933. His last film appearance was as a movie director in the 1937 drama A Star Is Born, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March – ironically a movie about a former film star who turned to alcohol, much like himself at that time.
After years of fighting alcoholism, Owen Moore died in Beverly Hills, California, from a heart attack and was interred in the Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Moore has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6727 Hollywood Boulevard.
Richard Semler Barthelmess (May 9, 1895 – August 17, 1963) was an American film actor, principally of the Hollywood silent era. He starred opposite Lillian Gish in D. W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms (1919) and Way Down East (1920) and was among the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927. The following year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for two films: The Patent Leather Kid and The Noose.
Barthelmess was born in New York City, the son of Caroline W. Harris, a stage actress, and Alfred W. Barthelmess. His father died when he was a year old. Through his mother, he grew up in the theatre, doing “walk-ons” from an early age. In contrast to that, he was educated at Hudson River Military Academy at Nyack, New York and Trinity College at Hartford, Connecticut. He did some acting in college and other amateur productions. By 1919 he had five years in stock company experience.
Russian actress Alla Nazimova, a friend of the family, was taught English by Caroline Barthelmess. Nazimova convinced Richard Barthelmess to try acting professionally, and he made his debut screen appearance in 1916 in the serial Gloria’s Romance as an uncredited extra. He also appeared as a supporting player in several films starring Marguerite Clark.
His next role, in War Brides opposite Nazimova, attracted the attention of director D.W. Griffith, who offered him several important roles, finally casting him opposite Lillian Gish in Broken Blossoms (1919) and Way Down East (1920). He founded his own production company, Inspiration Film Company, together with Charles Duell and Henry King. One of their films, Tol'able David (1921), in which Barthelmess starred as a teenage mailman who finds courage, was a major success. In 1922, Photoplay described him as the “idol of every girl in America.”
Barthelmess had a large female following during the 1920s. An admirer wrote to the editor of Picture-Play Magazine in 1921:
Different fans have different opinions, and although Wallace Reid, Thomas Meighan, and Niles Welch are mighty fine chaps, I think that Richard Barthelmess beats them all. Dick is getting more and more popular every day, and why? Because his wonderful black hair and soulful eyes are enough to make any young girl adore him. The first play I saw Dick in was Boots—Dorothy Gish playing the lead. This play impressed me so that I went to see every play in which he appeared—Three Men and a Girl, Scarlet Days, The Love Flower, and Broken Blossoms, in which I decided that Dick was my favorite. I am looking forward to Way Down East as being a great success, because I know Dick will play a good part.
Barthelmess soon became one of Hollywood’s higher paid performers, starring in such classics as The Patent Leather Kid in 1927 and The Noose in 1928; he was nominated for Best Actor at the first Academy Awards for his performance in both films. In addition, he won a special citation for producing The Patent Leather Kid.
With the advent of the sound era, Barthelmess remained a star for a number of years. He played numerous leads in talkie films, most notably Son of the Gods (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), The Last Flight (1931), The Cabin in the Cotton (1932) and Heroes for Sale (1933). He was able to choose his own material and often played in controversial or socially conscious films. However, his popularity began to wane in the 1930s as he was getting too old for the boyish leads he usually played, and in his later films between 1939 and his retirement in 1942, he turned towards character roles – most notably in his supporting role as the disgraced pilot and husband of Rita Hayworth’s character in Only Angels Have Wings (1939).
Barthelmess failed to maintain the stardom of his silent film days and gradually left entertainment. He enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve during World War II, and served as a lieutenant commander. He never returned to film, preferring instead to live off his real estate investments.
On June 18, 1920, Barthelmess married Mary Hay, a stage and screen star, in New York. They had one daughter, Mary Barthelmess, before divorcing on January 15, 1927.
In August 1927, Barthelmess became engaged to Katherine Young Wilson, a Broadway actress. However, the engagement was called off due to Wilson’s stated desire to continue acting, or possibly his affair around this time with the journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns.
Barthelmess died of throat cancer on August 17, 1963, aged 68, in Southampton, New York. He was interred at the Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum in Hartsdale, New York.
On April 21, 1928, Barthelmess married Jessica Stewart Sargent. He later adopted her son, Stewart, from a previous marriage. They remained married until Barthelmess’ death in 1963.
Barthelmess was a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 1960, Barthelmess received a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6755 Hollywood Boulevard for his contributions to the film industry.
Barthelmess was among the second group of recipients of the George Eastman Award in 1957, given by the George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.
Composer Katherine Allan Lively dedicated her piano composition Within the Walls of China: A Chinese Episode to Barthelmess in the sheet music published in 1923 by G. Schirmer, Inc. An article in The Music Trades reported that Mrs. Lively was inspired by a viewing of the film Broken Blossoms, and performed the piece for Barthelmess and his friends in New York in the summer of 1922.
theda bara, c.1920 🎞
Idiot’s Delight (1939)