This is Part 3 of an article showing what the silent stars featured in the 1917 Kromo Gravure Trading Card set were up to at the precise moment in time covered in a 1932 Motion Picture Magazine article, Stars Who Have Vanished by Jack Grant.
You can find the previous entries here:
And they're linked again below.
In the first two entries I covered 18 stars each. Well I must be getting carried away because tonight it took me nearly twice as long to cover just 16. Sorry, I had to quit for the night!
I've been using the IMDb, Wikipedia, and especially the NewspaperArchive.com database to search out the rest of the story for each of these old time stars in attempts to see what became of them from 1932 until their deaths. Many wound up back on screen in bit roles. A lot of the actresses seemed to have married well and avoided press coverage until the time of their obituaries. Others faced far worse fates. As this series gets further along I find myself getting deeper into each biography and have been supplementing the online sources named above with links to other sites and info I've been able to pull off my bookshelf as well.
The format of these is as follows: Name is linked to star’s IMDb page in case you want some more info about their careers. Text immediately following the name is from the original 1932 Motion Picture Magazine article. Any text following that inside parenthesis is mine. A 1917 Kromo Gravure card picturing the star follows each bit of text.
Part 3: Hart-Lytell:
William S. Hart - Strong, silent man of early Westerns remains in retirement and solitude on his mountain top for obscure reasons, best known to himself. (And Hart stayed retired until his death in 1946 at age 81 returning only to film a talkie prologue to that final film, Tumbleweeds (1925) for its 1939 reissue. A Western icon who fell out of style with the rise of the flashier Tom Mix.)
Helen Holmes - Ace stunt woman of serials. Retired after she married J.P. McGowan, Western director. (What Jack Grant fails to mention in 1932 is that Holmes and McGowan divorced in 1925 with Holmes returning to Broadway after their split. She married again, to stuntman Lloyd A. Saunders, and according to Tammy Stone on our own Helen Holmes page she remained active by running an antique shop out of her home specializing in vintage dolls. Holmes died in 1950, age 57.)
Stuart Holmes - Former smiling "heavy" has turned a former hobby into a very good thing. Is now wood-carving art objects and holds a showing of his work every so often, with high praise from art critics. (Holmes went on to appear in over 320 uncredited bit parts from the time of this article until his final appearance in Seven Days in May (1964). His 1971 obituary doesn't mention his passion for woodcarving--one does note that his wife was a noted Hollywood astrologer--but if you have a spare $4,800 you can pick up these two columns Holmes carved in 1933 for the Masquers Club.)
Louise Huff - Married a New York broker named Stillman and now living in the East. (Huff's final film was released in 1922, so she'd already been retired 10 years by the time of this article. Her obit notes she was a descendant of President James K. Polk. This is also mentioned on Huff's Wikipedia page which adds that she was married to Edwin A. Stillman, president of a hydraulics company in New York. Mrs. E.A. Stillman died in 1973, age 77.)
Gladys Hulette - Believed to be living in retirement in Long Beach, Cal. (She returned to the screen for a handful of small parts over the next couple of years including Torch Singer (1933) starring Claudette Colbert and The Girl From Missouri (1934) starring Jean Harlow. Seems to have fallen out of notice after that but lived a long life. She was 95 at her death in 1991.)
Leatrice Joy - Former daredevil star announced her retirement when she married wealthy William S. Hook on October 22, 1931. (A year after her divorce from Hook, Joy would marry a third time to Arthur Westermark, March 5, 1945. Westermark would divorce Joy in 1954 claiming that the silent star had left for a TV role in New York in 1950 and had never returned. Leatrice Joy continued to appear in the news periodically after the end of her silent film career, either in relation to her marriages or the progress of her daughter, Leatrice Joy Gilbert, on screen. I ran into a handful of 1960's and 70's articles that seemed based almost entirely around her retaining her great beauty into her golden years. In 1972 Joy was honored by Thomas Fulbright's Rosemary Association at their second annual Awards honoring the achievements of the still-living stars of the silent era. A 1983 syndicated gossip column mentioned that Joy had recently been honored with a career retrospective gala where she spoke for an hour and was apparently entertaining in doing so! She's referred to in the article as still sprightly and it's noted that she wore a glamorous silver gown. Leatrice Joy died in 1985, age 91.)
Alice Joyce - Lately in vaudeville in an act with Tom Moore, her ex-husband. (Looking for articles about Alice Joyce between the time of this 1932 article and her death in 1955 at age 65, it was interesting to note that unlike other faded stars the papers always took the opportunity to use up some space with a photo of the beautiful silent star. This was despite her final film being released in 1930. Most of the early 30's coverage of Joyce consisted of photos of her daughter, Alice Moore, signing her own Hollywood contract. While Motion Picture Magazine names Joyce's ex-husband Moore in its update, it fails to mention her then current husband, James B. Regan, whom she'd divorce in 1932. The following year Joyce declared bankruptcy claiming liabilities of over $47,000 and naming as her assets long past due promissory notes signed by her ex-husband Regan and his father totaling over $158,000. Joyce also specified household goods at a value of $2,675, a $250 car and $24.75 in cash. In the Spring of 1933 she married film director Clarence Brown, a union which lasted until the 1945 divorce, at which time Joyce retained her former husband's name. It was as Alice Joyce Brown that she won first prize for her black and white drawing of a rabbit at the San Fernando Valley District Fair in 1951. The article announcing the prize mentions that art has long been a hobby of the former silent star and she has even taken formal classes to further hone her skills. She's also referred to as an active member of the Northridge Woman's Club, a community she's lived in since 1945, presumably from the time of her split with Brown. Newspaper reports as early as November 1954 announced that Joyce was in critical condition with a liver ailment and stated that her children had arrived in Hollywood to stay at her bedside. Alice Joyce died October 9, 1955.)
Frank Keenan - One of the best and most famous of the old character actors. Died in March, 1929 of pneumonia, aged 70. (I haven't been including any of the stars who had passed away prior to the publication to the 1932 article this post is based around as it's what comes later that I'm primarily interested in here, but I wanted to included Keenan solely to mention that he was Ed Wynn's father-in-law and Keenan Wynn's grandfather. Frank Keenan was recently in the spotlight on TCM when they showcased the 1915 Civil War film The Coward as part of their Moguls & Movie Stars documentary.)
Madge Kennedy - For several years has been kept busy starring on the New York stage. (Madge Kennedy is best covered by Anthony Slide in his Silent Players where he talks about her return to the screen in 1952's The Marrying Kind for George Cukor, her first film appearance in 24 years. In between she'd kept busy for a time on stage and in radio, but mostly as a wife to second husband, William Hanley, whom she married in 1934 and remained with until his death in 1959. After The Marrying Kind Kennedy kept busy on the screen, both big and small, her final film appearance coming in 1976's Marathon Man. Kennedy lived to the age of 96, dying June 9, 1987.)
Doris Kenyon - Divides her attention three ways--between the concert stage, films, and her four-year-old son, Kenyon Sills. Returned to screen after death of her husband, Milton Sills. (Returned to the screen in style appearing opposite George Arliss a couple of times and then with John Barrymore in Counsellor at Law (1933). Her final film appearance was in James Whale's The Man in the Iron Mask (1939), though she made some TV appearances throughout the 1950's. Married three more times after the death of Sills her final time to the alter came in 1947 when she wed Bronislaw Mylnarski, composer Arthur Rubinstein's brother-in-law. An interesting 1958 article reports on a dinner party given by the Mylnarskis, even including a recipe for the Veal a la Viennoise which was served. Mr. Mylnarski is referred to as a rare book collector and a survivor of the Russian massacre of Polish troops at Katlin. The Mylnarski home is referred to as "jewel like" and filled with many art treasures. Guests included Kenyon's former fellow silent star Eleanor Boardman. Bronislaw Mylnarski died in 1971, Doris Kenyon in 1979. She was 81.)
J. Warren Kerrigan - Retired to live on a Hollywood hilltop with his invalid mother and says he won't come down for all the pictures ever made. (A 1936 article catching up with Kerrigan, who stayed retired after 1924's Captain Blood, mentions that his mother had died 12 years earlier, also 1924. The mother story was likely continued euphemism for Kerrigan's real housemate, life partner James Vincent. Vincent is mentioned as Kerrigan's personal secretary in a 1924 story about a car crash which sent film star Kerrigan through the windshield slashing his face--could this have had something to do with his exit from the big screen? Another headline blares "J. Warren Kerrigan Disfigured in Auto Crash in Illinois," speculating that the accident will end his film career. The 1936 article, which makes no mention of the earlier car crash notes that the former silent star still spends most of his time at his Rockhaven estate where he likes to read, hunt, fish and hike. In 1936 Kerrigan still expresses no regrets over his retirement and is even amused to note that the locals have stopped recognizing him altogether in the past few years. Kerrigan died in 1947, age 67. We have a detailed biography by Paul Samuels covering Kerrigan's career elsewhere on the site.)
Mollie King - Married a wealthy horseman named Kenneth Alexander and lives in the East. (I could only come up with a 1939 photo of King at the beach which referred to her as Mrs. Kenneth D. Alexander. No mention made of her film career. Her final film was released in 1924, she had married Alexander in 1919. Mollie King died in 1981, age 86.)
Alice Lake - Former popular heroine is married and living in moderate circumstances. Plays bits when available. (Too bad things couldn't stay moderate for Lake. The part about being married is likely wrong as I see no record of wedlock after her 1925 divorce from Robert Williams. Things seemed to be looking up in 1934 when Lake, long post-stardom, sent out a dozen postcards to active Hollywood directors whom she hoped would remember her. They certainly did as she found uncredited work in seven features released that year including Broadway Bill, Laurel & Hardy's Babes in Toyland, and The Girl From Missouri, which also held a part for Gladys Hulette as mentioned above. Her final credit on the IMDb is 1936's Hollywood Boulevard for which the IMDb adds, scenes deleted. I think I found out why. Arrested on a public intoxication charge in 1936, Lake, who at one time made $2,000 per week, was unable to pay the $10 fine. A friend saved her from serving the two days jail time by paying the $10 for Lake. While at the jail Lake explained her current situation to reporters: "Waiting, waiting, waiting--that's all I do now. I pace the floor and wait for a call to some studio. It gets on your nerves--waiting." The following year Lake was arrested again, same charge. This time unable to raise the $100 fine the former star opposite Rudolph Valentino was forced to serve 20 days in jail. The papers greeted her release with unflattering photos. I couldn't find anything about Lake after the 1937 arrest until her death in 1967. Hopefully things had turned for the better. Alice Lake was 72.)
Lila Lee - Is now staging a comeback after a long illness. Recuperated in the same sanitarium as Renee Adoree, and completed recovery in the South Seas. Has not remarried since divorce from James Kirkwood a few years ago. (Lee was reported to have been forced to quit talkies after coming down with tuberculosis in July 1930, the same disease which would claim Adoree's life in 1933. The timing of Lee's illness was said to have cost her the female lead in Little Caesar (1931). It appears to have been a quick recovery though as Lee worked on screen rather steadily through 1937. Lee appeared in a couple of Broadway shows in the 1940's and made a 1951 television appearance before disappearing for a few more years. An appearance on This Is Your Life in 1957 kicked up enough publicity to earn her a few more TV appearances before Lee capped her career in a couple of mid-1960's films including Bob Clark's debut The Emperor's New Clothes (1966). A stroke took Lila Lee's life in 1973, age 72.
Elmo Lincoln - The original "Tarzan." It might be a warning to Johnny Weissmuller to know that the first Ape Man turned hermit. Elmo is now living in a mountain lodge near Hollywood. He lets it be known that he greets the elements bareheaded and bare-chested and when it rains (whisper) entirely bare. He also says that he gets gold from them thar hills. (Actually silver. He retired from the screen to run what his United Press obituary calls an "ill-fated silver mine." In the late 1930's Lincoln was discovered working in a Salt Lake City junk yard, but he'd return to the screen in bit parts beginning in 1939. The former silent star appears to have taken his return seriously with Walter Winchell reporting that he was taking diction lessons in 1940, and a 1942 paper mentioning that he was taking a dramatic course. A 1941 newspaper reports that Lincoln was to serve 5 days in jail for failure to pay child support. About a year before Lincoln's death Erskine Johnson reported that he was trying to organize a Hollywood stock company of old time stars like himself (and others on this page) to be paid by the combined major studios. Johnson calls it "the best plan yet for Hollywood to take care of its film pioneers." Lincoln died in 1952, age 63.)
Bert Lytell - Starring on the New York stage, usually with his wife, Helen Menken, and doing well at it. (That is correct. "Like many other silent screen stars, Lytell's career collapsed after the advent of talking pictures," as stated on Wikipedia, is not. No, Lytell didn't make another film, so yes, his career on the big screen was complete, but he was successful on stage throughout the 1930's and 40's and even had a run at television in the late 1940's-early 50's. In the wake of Lytell's passing Wood Soames would choose to remember his long run as the Shepherd of the Lambs in the late 40's, while another unsigned remembrance would state "Bert Lytell made his life in the theater and he lived it every waking moment." Obits recall that Lytell's best remembered recent show was in 1941's Lady in the Dark featuring Gertrude Lawrence. On TV he starred in 1949's One Man's Family, as Henry Barbour, a series adapted from the radio show of the same name which ran from 1932-1959. Lytell died in 1954, age 69.