I was pondering what to post for Bytes (contrary to what you might think, I don’t have a stockpile of items ready, I usually decide each night what to post for the morning) when a pinterest email arrived with selected galleries. One such gallery was early female photographic portraits. On looking through the photographs I was struck by the timeless quality of the beauty and was reminded of the lines from Dead Poets Society when Mr Keating has his students look at old photographs of past students:
"They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary."
Heer are some of those early photographs (photos from Pinterest, captions from moi) . . .
The Fairbanks Sisters, 1922
Madeline (1900 – 1989) and her twin sister Marion Fairbanks (1900 – 1973) were stage and motion picture actresses active in the silent era. The two sisters were seemingly inseparable although on one occasion one twin appeared in a film without the other. In 1923, Madeline decided to pursue dramatic roles, while Marion continued in musical revues. By 1924, the girls had felt their separation too keenly, and they rejoined on stage in George White's Scandals. By 1932, Marion was on stage separately at the Waldorf Theatre, New York City. 1930s news accounts reported that she operated a beauty parlour and directed a branch of a cosmetics manufacturer. In her later years she knew much unhappiness and struggled with alcohol.
Marie Doro (1882 – 1956) was an American stage and film actress of the early silent film era. Although generally typecast in lightweight feminine roles, she was in fact notably intelligent, cultivated and witty. Most of her early movies are lost. After losing her mentor who had been aboard the Lusitania in 1915 when it was sunk, she made a few films in Europe, then returned to America. Increasingly drawn to the spiritual life, she ended as a recluse, actively avoiding friends and acquaintances.
Lota Cheek, 1923
I have a feeling that isn’t her real name. She was the winner of a NYC 1922 beauty contest but her career was tarnished when she was named in a divorce case. I haven’t been able to find out a lota stuff about Ms Cheek.
Evelyn Laye, 1917
Evelyn Laye, CBE (10 July 1900 – 17 February 1996) was an English actress who was active on the London light opera stage, and later in New York and Hollywood. Married to the actor Sonnie Hale in 1926, Laye received widespread public sympathy when Hale left her for the actress Jessie Matthews in 1928. She was initially very reluctant to abandon the marriage, but, despite a trial reconciliation, a divorce case eventually followed in 1930, with the judge labeling Matthews an "odious person". She subsequently wed actor Frank Lawton, with whom she remained married until his death. Awarded a CBE in 1973, Laye continued acting well into her nineties. It was reported after Laye's death that the Queen Mother had petitioned the then Prime Minister John Major for Laye to be awarded a damehood.
By the way . . .
This is Jessie Matthews (1907 – 1981), referred to above. Matthews was an English actress, dancer and singer of the 1920s and 1930s, whose career continued into the post-war period. After a string of hit stage musicals and films in the mid-1930s, Matthews developed a following in the USA, where she was dubbed "The Dancing Divinity". Her British studio was reluctant to let go of its biggest name, which resulted in offers for her to work in Hollywood being repeatedly rejected.
Jetta Goudal (1891 – 1985) was a Dutch-born American actress, successful in Hollywood films of the silent film era. Goudal appeared in several highly successful and acclaimed films for Cecil B DeMille and became one of the top box office draws of the late 1920s. DeMille later claimed that Goudal was so difficult to work with that he eventually fired her and cancelled their contract. Goudal filed a lawsuit for breach of contract against him and DeMille Pictures Corporation. Although DeMille claimed her conduct had caused numerous and costly production delays, in a landmark ruling, Goudal won the suit when DeMille was unwilling to provide his studio's financial records to support his claim of financial losses. Because of her suit against DeMille and her high-profile activism in the Actors' Equity Association campaign for the theatre and film industry to accept a closed shop, some of the Hollywood studios refused to employ Goudal. In 1932, at age forty-one, she made her last screen appearance. In 1930, she married Harold Grieve, an art director and founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. When her film career ended, she joined Grieve in running a successful interior design business. They remained married until her death in 1985 in Los Angeles. In 1960, for recognition of Goudal's contribution to the motion picture industry, she was honoued with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Dorothy Revier (1904 – 1993) was an American actress noted for roles in silent films in the 1920s. Revier died at the age of 89 and was buried under a simple marker of name and dates, with the lone inscription, "Beloved Actress."