Happy Birthday to comedian W.C. Fields (1880–1946)
Pyotr Chardynin (1872–1934)
One of Russia’s film pioneers, Chardynin was born in Simbirsk, Russian Empire on January 28th (Julian calendar), February 10th (Gregorian calendar). He started out as an actor on the stage, then moved on to films and finally to directing. He directed over 100 silent films. By the time the talkies arrived, Chardynin had been banned from directing by the Soviet regime. He died in the Ukraine on 14 August, 1934 of liver cancer.
Aleqsandre Tsutsunava (1881–1955)
Born in Likhauri, Georgia, Russian Empire (now Georgia) in 1881, Tsutsunava was a well-known theater director. He directed the first Georgian, full-length feature film in 1909 called, ‘Berikaoba Keenoba’. The 1916 film, ‘Qristine’, also directed by Tsutsunava, is often credited as being the first feature film from Georgia . He continued directing until 1928. I’m not sure what happened after that. Perhaps with the advent of sound, he returned to the theater. Although sound took longer to come to Russia, so I really don’t know why the last film he is credited with came out in 1928. He died on 25 October, 1955 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Zaqaria Berishvili (1887–1965)
Born in 1887, Berishvili was a film director and actor. He acted in the theater from 1905 until 1921, when he took part in the organization of the film section of the People’s Commissariat for Education in Georgia. He played small roles in silent films throughout the mid-1920s. He directed his first film in 1926. He made the transition to sound and directed a few talkies in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1946 he focused his efforts on dubbing foreign films into Georgian. He was the Honored Artist of Georgia, SSR in 1945 and then again in 1961. He died on May 9, 1965.
Eugen Illés (1877–1951) – no photo available
Also credited as Jenõ Illés, he was born in Debrecen, Hungary. He got a degree in Liberal Arts in Budapest, then in Mechanical Engineering in Berlin. By 1911 he was the lead director of the Berlin branch of Pathé. His 1918 film, ‘Mania: The History of a Cigarette Factory Worker’ starring Pola Negri was thought to be destroyed, when it turned up in a Czech movie collection in 2011. The Polish completely restored it and took the film on a world tour. Because of his ties to his native Hungary, he was also able to facilitate the distribution of Hungarian films in Germany. He returned to Hungary to produce nine films between 1915 and 1917. He came back to Germany during WWI and shot hours of documentary film. He returned to Hungary in 1919. He died in Budapest on 17 October, 1951.
Aileen Manning was born Aileen Casey on this day in Boulder, Colorado in 1886 to Robert Casey and Eliza Edgar. She only had one sibling, Leota, who died before Aileen was born at the age of 1 year 8 months.
In 1900, Aileen and her mother were living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She married around 1905. I can’t find any information about this marriage. By 1919, she and her mother were living in Los Angeles. Her father had passed away and Aileen was divorced.
Aileen began acting in films in the late teens. Her paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Manning. I suspect this is where she got her stage name, a name she would officially keep for the rest of her life. Although she appeared in a number of films, her career never really took off. She was always cast in a supporting role, never the lead. She made a few talkies, but retired from the screen in 1931.
The 1930 US Census has Aileen living alone in Los Angeles and widowed. I don’t know if this is a mistake or if she married again and he passed away. There is little to no biographical information about her out there (at least that I can find).
By 1935, Aileen moved back to Colorado. She still listed her occupation as that of actress. The 1940 census shows her living as a lodger in Colorado Springs and divorced.
She died on March 25, 1946 in Los Angeles. She was 60 years old.
Silent Film Fans wishes a Happy Birthday to:
Bebe Daniels was born Phyllis Virginia Daniels on this day in 1901 in Dallas, Texas. Her father, Melville Daniel MacMeal (sometimes spelled McMeal or MacNeal) was a theater manager who went by the names Melville Daniels and Danny Daniels. Her mother, Pastora Engracia Griffin, who took the stage name Phyllis Griffin (1874-1959), was a theatrical actress who was born in Medellin, Antioquia State, Columbia, South America to an American father and Columbian mother.
Legend has it that Bebe’s first taste of stardom came at the age of 2 months, when her mother carried her onto the stage during a play in 1901 called Jane. Bebe did begin acting at a very young age and touring the country with her parents theatrical productions.
It wasn’t long before they came to Los Angeles and little Bebe got a part in a motion picture. As near as I can tell, her first real role came in 1910 with A Common Enemy for Selig-Polyscope. She continued to act in many shorts, one of which was The Wonderful Wizard of OZ where she played Dorothy. In 1915, Hal Roach paired her with Harold Lloyd in the “Lonesome Luke” series. (Incidentally, Hal Roach’s birthday is also January 14th.) She had a widely publicized courtship (thanks to Roach) with Lloyd even though she was only 14 and he was almost 22! As Bebe put it in an interview in 1929, “I was too young and he was too poor and by the time I was old enough and he was rich enough we had ceased to care.”
She made almost 200 shorts with Roach. When she turned 18, she was approached by Cecil B. DeMille and offered a contract with Paramount. She worked for Paramount and its subsidiary, Realart, from 1919-1928. She acted alongside some of the greatest leading men to ever grace the silver screen; Rudolph Valentino, John Gilbert, Wally Reid, William Powell, Rod la Rocque, just to name a few.
The advent of talkies allowed the studios to dump stars that they felt were underperforming at the box office, overpriced or just too difficult. It was in 1928, that Paramount decided not to renew Bebe’s contract. Undeterred, she signed with William LeBaron at RKO Studios and made the musical Rio Rita, proving that not only was her voice fit for sound, but she could really sing too. Rio Rita was a huge success. Paramount must have been kicking themselves for letting her go. She starred in four more films for RKO, before signing a contract with Warner Brothers and starring in such greats as The Maltese Falcon and 42nd Street.
Bebe married her costar, Ben Lyon, from her third talking film on 14 June 1930. They had a daughter, Barbara (1931-1995) who went on to become a singer and adopted a son, Richard (1934-2013), who went on to become an actor.
The Lyons were growing tired of Hollywood life. Bebe had some trouble with what we would now call a stalker. They loved England and decided that they wanted to relocate to London. They got very involved in English theater and radio. Bebe made a few British films. They opted to stay in England during the Blitz. They returned to California for a short time after the war, but moved back and remained in England for good. Bebe, Ben and their two children all starred in the wildly popular British radio program called Life With The Lyons (1951-1961), which later made the transition to television.
After suffering from several severe strokes in the early 1960s, Bebe was pretty much forced to retire. She helped her son Richard run an antique shop in England.
She passed away on 16 March, 1971 of a cerebral hemorrhage in her home in London at the age of 70. Husband Ben was by her side. Her ashes are interred in the Chapel columbarium at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Jane Novak (Johana Barbara Novak) was born on this day in 1896 to Joseph and Barbara Novak. Her parents both immigrated to the United States from Bohemia, modern day Czech Republic. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri with her three sisters and two brothers. Her aunt was actress Anne Schaefer, who in 1915, invited Jane to come to California.
When she arrived in California, she met actor Frank Newburg. He took her to see her aunt who was performing in a Vitagraph production at the time. The director saw her and asked to her to be in a scene, she agreed and a star was born. Her younger sister Eva soon joined her in California and she too began acting in films.
Jane and Frank were married 1915. They had one daughter and divorced in 1920. The following year, she got engaged to the great western star William S. Hart, but that union never came to fruition. She never remarried.
In 1924 she and fellow actress Gertrude Ryan sailed for Europe, so that Jane could star in a British-German collaboration in Berlin called, The Blackguard (Die Prinzessin und der Geiger). The film was written by Alfred Hitchcock and they became good friends.
Jane appeared in a few sound films, including a bit part in Alfred Hitchcock’s, Foreign Correspondent, in 1940. In 1974, she published a cookbook comprised of her own recipes called, ‘Treasury of Chicken Cookery’.
She passed away in Woodland Hills, California on February 1, 1990 at the age of 94. Her sister Eva preceded her in death in 1988.
The actors and actresses above were all born on this day, January 10th. Happy birthday from Silent Film Fans!
Top row from left to right:
Lya de Putti (1897 or 1899 – 1931) Born in Austria-Hungary (modern day Slovakia), Lya enjoyed much success in German silent films acting alongside some of the biggest names in German cinema and being directed by such greats as Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau. She came to the US in 1926 with the hopes of replicating her success in Europe. Alas, it was not meant to be. Sadly, she died at a young age of pneumonia, following surgery to remove a chicken bone from her throat.
Francis X. Bushman (1883 – 1966) He was one of the first matinee idols, best remembered for his role opposite Ramon Navarro in Ben-Hur. His film career spanned 55 years (1911-1966). He found himself at the center of a scandal in 1918 when the public learned that he’d cheated on his wife of 16 years with actress Beverly Bayne. His wife divorced him and he married Bayne. The studio kept the marriage a secret fearing that it would affect his box office draw. He and Bayne divorced and he married two more times and had six children, three boys and three girls. His son Ralph Everly Bushman (1903–1978) had a film career from the 1920s through the 1940s. He was often billed as “Francis X. Bushman, Jr.” Another son, Bruce Bushman, was an art director and designer for Walt Disney’s animation studio.
Diana Kane (1901 – 1977) Diana was one of four sisters who appeared in silent films, Constance Lewis, Janice Wilson and the most famous Lois Wilson. She married silent film director George Fitzmaurice in 1927. They had one daughter, Sheila, in 1929.
Douglas MacLean (1890 – 1967) Born Charles Douglas MacLean, he began his career in silent film in 1914. He made one talkie and then retired to become a movie writer/producer. He was married four times, one wife being silent film bit actress Barbara Barondess.
Bottom row left to right:
Pauline Starke (1901 – 1977) Her first role was as an extra in D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance in 1916. She was chosen to be a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1922. She married silent film producer Jack White in 1927 and divorced him 1931. According to a Palm Beach Post-Times article dated February 27, 1938, Pauline announced that she had married actor George Sherwood in New York on May 4, 1935 and that she was “contemplating getting a divorce from him soon”. Now this is where it gets confusing. I found an article in the Lewiston Evening Journal dated June 23, 1918 that discusses how film writer George Sherwood and his actress wife, the former Pauline Starke of films, had their schooner burglarized. Another article in the Daily Reporter dated May 8, 1955 talks about how former silent film actress Pauline Starke and her ex-husband George Sherwood had left Hollywood for a six month stay in India and that “pals predict they will remarry”. This timeline doesn’t make sense, unless they were married more than once. An article regarding her marriage to White mentions that neither had been married before. Of course, you can’t believe everything you read! If anyone has a clearer version of events, I’m all ears.
Olaf Storm (1894 – 1931) He was born in Denmark and made films in Germany. He had leading roles in various German silent films as well as small roles in F.W. Murnau’s, Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. He founded his own film company around 1921 called, Olaf-Film-GmbH. There isn’t a lot of information out there about him. His on-screen career appears to have gone from 1919-1927. It is uncertain why he stopped making films and even more uncertain as to why he passed away in 1931 at the young age of 37. If anyone knows anything more about him, please let me know.
Pina Menichelli (1890 – 1984) She was born in Italy and started out on the stage there. After bit parts in films, she was discovered by Italian film pioneer, Giovanni Pastrone, who cast her in the leading role in his film, Il Fuoco (The Fire) 1919. She became an overnight sensation. Famous for her strange vamp roles, she continued to gain success until an abrupt retirement in 1924. She reportedly destroyed everything she had relating to her career as an actress and never looked back.
Virginia Valli (1898 – 1968) She began her career as a dancer on the stage. Reportedly a director at Essanay Studios needed a dancer and after seeing her perform offered her the part. She married theatrical agent Demarest Lamson in 1921 and divorced him on 1926. She married silent film actor Charles Farrell in 1931 and retired from acting that same year. She and Charles were married until her death in 1968.
|Name: Phyllis Haver|
|Born: January 6, 1899, Douglass, KS|
|Father: James Hiram Haver (1872-1936)|
|Mother: Minnie Shanks (1879-1949)|
|On-Screen Active Years: 1915-1930|
|She married millionaire William “Billy” Seeman (1891-1961) of Seeman Brothers, Inc., a New York wholesale grocer, in April of 1929. She divorced him in an “8 minute divorce trial” in May of 1945 in Reno, Nevada.|
|Started out as a Sennett Bathing Beauty.|
|Phyllis and William Seeman were married by then mayor of New York City, James J. Walker, with whom Seeman was a close friend. The union took place in the home of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, the husband of William Seeman’s sister, Irma.|
|Phyllis was a great lover of animals. She had many dogs and cats over the years and was often photographed with them.|
|Her death was rumored to be a suicide. A newspaper report at the time noted that police had said that she had attempted suicide a year before. It was also said that she was very despondent over the death of Mack Sennett earlier that month, whom she saw as a father figure.|
|Died: November 19, 1960, Sharon, CT at her home|
|Cause: overdose of barbiturates|
|Interred: Grassy Hill Cemetery, Falls Village, CT|
|1930 She Couldn’t Say No (unknown if she was actually in this film)
1929 The Office Scandal
1928 The Shady Lady
1928 Sal of Singapore
1928 The Battle of the Sexes
1928 Tenth Avenue
1927 The Wise Wife
1927 The Fighting Eagle
1927 The Rejuvenation of Aunt Mary
1927 Your Wife and Mine
1927 The Way of All Flesh
1927 The Little Adventuress
1927 No Control
1927 Nobody’s Widow
1927 Girl in the Rain
1926 What Price Glory?
1926 The Nervous Wreck
1926 Fig Leaves
1926 3 Bad Men
1926 Don Juan
1926 Up in Mabel’s Room
1926 Hard Boiled
1926 Other Women’s Husbands
1926 The Caveman
1925 A Fight to the Finish
1925 New Brooms
1925 The Golden Princess
1925 Rugged Water
1925 After Business Hours
1925 I Want My Man
1924 Her Husband’s Secret
1924 So Big
1924 One Glorious Night
1924 The Snob
1924 The Breath of Scandal
1924 The Foolish Virgin
1924 Single Wives
1924 The Midnight Express
1924 The Perfect Flapper
1924 The Hollywood Kid (Short)
1924 The Fighting Coward
1924 Singer Jim McKee
1924 Lilies of the Field
1923 The Temple of Venus
1923 The Common Law
1923 The Bolted Door
1923 The Balloonatic (Short)
1923 The Christian
1922 Home Movies
1922 Home Made Movies (Short)
1922 Step Forward (Short)
1921 Bright Eyes (Short)
1921 Love and Doughnuts (Short)
1921 Love’s Outcast (Short)
1921 Home Talent
1921 The Unhappy Finish (Short)
1921 A Small Town Idol
1921 On a Summer Day (Short)
1920 Love, Honor and Behave!
1920 Movie Fans (Short)
1920 Married Life
1920 Ten Dollars or Ten Days (Short)
1919 A Lady’s Tailor (Short)
1919 His Last False Step (Short)
1919 Salome vs. Shenandoah (Short)
1919 Up in Alf’s Place (Short)
1919 The Dentist (Short)
1919 Among Those Present (Short)
1919 Trying to Get Along (Short)
1919 Hearts and Flowers (Short)
1919 When Love Is Blind (Short)
1919 Why Beaches Are Popular (Short)
1919 The Foolish Age (Short)
1919 The Village Smithy (Short)
1919 Yankee Doodle in Berlin
1919 East Lynne with Variations (Short)
1919 Never Too Old (Short)
1918 Whose Little Wife Are You? (Short)
1918 His Wife’s Friend (Short)
1918 The Summer Girls (Short)
1918 She Loved Him Plenty (Short)
1918 Ladies First (Short)
1918 Love Loops the Loop (Short)
1918 His Smothered Love (Short)
1918 Those Athletic Girls (Short)
1918 It Pays to Exercise (Short)
1918 Whose Little Girl Are You? (Short)
1917 That Night (Short)
1917 Are Waitresses Safe? (Short)
1917 The Pullman Bride (Short)
1917 Their Husband (Short)
1917 Roping Her Romeo (Short)
1917 A Prairie Heiress (Short)
1917 A Bedroom Blunder (Short)
1917 All at Sea (Short)
1917 The Sultan’s Wife (Short)
1917 His Unconscious Conscience (Short)
1917 Whose Baby? (Short)
1917 A Janitor’s Vengeance (Short)
1917 A Dog Catcher’s Love (Short)
1916 Sunshine (Short)
|Name: Alice Day|
|Birth Name: Jacquiline Alice Newlin (There are numerous references online to this first name, but I have yet to find hard proof. The 1910 census lists her name as Alice.)|
|Born: November 7, 1906, CO|
|Father: UNKNOWN Newlin|
|Mother: Irene M. Freeman aka Irene Day (1886-1961)|
|Siblings: Silent screen actress Marceline Day|
|On-Screen Active Years: 1923-1932|
|She married wealthy broker, Jack Cohn, in an extravagant wedding in Santa Barbara in 1930. They had two children, Richard Buschke Cohn (1931-2002) and Gary Buschke Cohn (1933-living?). The union ended with a lengthy court battle over custody of the children and allocation of property. In 1953, Richard legally changed his name to Richard Newlin Day. Little seems to be known about her second husband. His surname was Hawkins and that is the name that Alice was using at the time of her death.|
|Started out as a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty|
|WAMPAS Baby Star of 1928|
|Died: May 25, 1995, Orange, CA|
|Cause: natural causes|
1932 Two-Fisted Law
1932 Love Bound
1931 The Lady from Nowhere
1930 Viennese Nights
1930 Hot Curves
1930 Ladies in Love
1930 In the Next Room
1930 Melody Man
1929 The Love Racket
1929 The Show of Shows
1929 Little Johnny Jones
1929 Is Everybody Happy?
1929 Skin Deep
1929 Times Square
1929 Red Hot Speed
1928 The Way of the Strong
1928 Phyllis of the Follies
1928 The Smart Set
1927 The Gorilla
1927 Night Life
1927 See You in Jail
1927 A Dozen Socks (Short)
1927 The Plumber’s Daughter (Short)
1927 Pass the Dumplings (Short)
1926 The Waiter from the Ritz
1926 Kitty from Killarney (Short)
1926 Hesitating Horses (Short)
1926 His New York Wife
1926 Should Husbands Marry? (Short)
1926 The Perils of Petersboro (Short)
1926 Her Actor Friend (Short)
1926 Alice Be Good (Short)
1926 Puppy Lovetime (Short)
1926 The Ghost of Folly (Short)
1926 A Love Sundae (Short)
1926 Spanking Breezes (Short)
1926 Gooseland (Short)
1926 Hot Cakes for Two (Short)
1925 Hotsy-Totsy (Short)
1925 The Soapsuds Lady (Short)
1925 A Sweet Pickle (Short)
1925 Love and Kisses (Short)
1925 Cold Turkey (Short)
1925 Tee for Two (Short)
1925 Bashful Jim (Short)
1925 The Beloved Bozo (Short)
1925 Honeymoon Hardships (Short)
1925 The Plumber (Short)
1925 The Sea Squawk (Short)
1924 Off His Trolley (Short)
1924 The Reel Virginian (Short)
1924 Riders of the Purple Cows (Short)
1924 Little Robinson Corkscrew (Short)
1924 East of the Water Plug (Short)
1924 The First 100 Years (Short)
1924 Romeo and Juliet (Short)
1924 His New Mamma (Short)
1924 The Cat’s Meow (Short)
1924 Flickering Youth (Short)
1924 Shanghaied Lovers (Short)
1924 Picking Peaches (Short)
1923 My Pal (Short)
1923 The Temple of Venus
Name: Marceline Day
|Birth Name: Marceline Newlin|
|Born: April 24, 1908, Colorado Springs, CO|
|Father: UNKNOWN Newlin|
|Mother: Irene M. Freeman (1886-1961)|
|Siblings: Silent screen actress Alice Day|
|On-Screen Active Years: 1924-1933|
|She married fur dealer, Arthur J. Klein in 1931. After divorcing him, it is reported that she married John Arthur in 1959. I can’t find any records regarding this marriage. She reportedly never had children. Marceline was very private about her personal life and didn’t grant interviews after she retired from acting in 1933.|
|WAMPAS Baby Star of 1926|
|Died: February 16, 2000, Cathedral City, CA|
|Cause: natural causes|
| 1933 The Fighting Parson
1933 By Appointment Only
1933 The Flaming Signal
1933 Damaged Lives
1933 The Telegraph Trail
1933 Via Pony Express
1932 The Crusader
1932 The King Murder
1932 Broadway to Cheyenne
1932 Arm of the Law
1932 The Fighting Fool
1931 The Pocatello Kid
1931 The Mad Parade
1931 The Mystery Train
1931 The Sky Raiders
1930 Paradise Island
1930 Hot Curves
1930 Sunny Skies
1930 Temple Tower
1930 The Voice of Hollywood No. 9 (Short)
1929 The Show of Shows
1929 The One Woman Idea
1929 The Wild Party
1929 Trent’s Last Case
1929 A Single Man
1928 Stolen Love
1928 Restless Youth
1928 Freedom of the Press
1928 The Cameraman
1928 A Certain Young Man
1928 The Big City
1928 Under the Black Eagle
1927 London After Midnight
1927 The Road to Romance
1927 Captain Salvation
1927 Red Clay
1927 The Beloved Rogue
1926 College Days
1926 That Model from Paris
1926 Fools of Fashion
1926 The Gay Deceiver
1926 The Boy Friend
1926 Looking for Trouble
1926 The Barrier
1926 Hell’s Four Hundred
1926 Western Pluck
1925 The Splendid Road
1925 The Wall Street Whiz
1925 The White Outlaw
1925 The Party (Short)
1925 His New Suit (Short)
1925 Short Pants (Short)
1925 Discord in ‘A’ Flat (Short)
1925 Heart Trouble (Short)
1925 Renegade Holmes, M.D.
1925 The Taming of the West
1924 The Hansom Cabman (Short)
1924 The Luck o’ the Foolish (Short)
1924 Black Oxfords (Short)
1924 Picking Peaches (Short)