Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mary Miles Minter

This image currently under restoration - available soon as fine art print.

Mary Miles Minter was a child star who was dominated by her mother. At the age of 5, she first appeared on the stage in the play "Cameo Kirby". From that time on, she worked steadily without a single vacation.

Her greatest stage success would be in "The Littlest Rebel", with William and Dustin Farnum. In 1911, at the age of 9, a New York paper described her as "... a ragged, straight-haired, woman-faced little one".

She continued on the stage until 1915 when she started her film career. For her film career, she was being groomed as a Mary Pickford star - a child of innocence. Her early pictures carried this theme with titles such as 'Lovely Mary' (1916), 'The Virtuous Outcast' (1916) and 'Dimples' (1916). Mary was described by the press as "of the screen as a sweet, pretty little girl with an abundance of blonde curls, a picture actress slightly bigger than a faint recollection, a little queen with delicate features and endearing young charms".

She later worked for Adolph Zukor at Realart Pictures and one of her favorite directors was William Desmond Taylor. While at Realart, Mary made a number of films including 'Anne of Green Gables' (1919), 'Judy of Rogues Harbor' (1920), 'Jenny Be Good' (1920), and 'The Little Clown' (1921). Her salary, which started at $150 per week in 1915 increased to $2250 per week. At that time, she also became involved with Taylor, but it is not known whether Taylor was looking out for his biggest star or if there was any romance.

But then, everything crumbled. On the first of February 1922 Paramount film director Taylor was shot to death in his Hollywood bungalow. His unsolved murder was one of Hollywood's major scandals coming at the same time as the Arbuckle affair. Though never considered a suspect in the murder, when the public learned of Mary's involvement with a man who had questionable dealings with women and was more than twice her age, they boycotted her films. The discovery of her belongings in Taylor's bungalow effectually killed her career in pictures. Mary was so weak from grief that she was barricaded in her home for a month. By the next year, she had moved out of the home she shared with her mother and was out of pictures forever. source/more

Also born today - 'Phantom of the Opera' actor Lon Chaney (1883), English novelist Edgar Wallace, (1875), Reggae musician Jimmy Cliff (1948), author Milan Kundera (1929), fantasy writer Anne McCaffrey (1926), dramatist Edmond Rostand - 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1868).

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