~Lila Lee~

Born: July 25, 1901 in Union Hill, New Jersey, USA
Died: November 13, 1973 in Sarnac Lake, NY, USA
~Biography~
A pretty, apple-cheeked WAMPAS Baby Star of 1922, Lila Lee had been a performer since childhood
and was widely known as "Cuddles," one of the stars of Gus Edwards' kiddie troupe. She was
brought to Hollywood by Paramount's Jesse Lasky and headlined in her very first film, The Cruise
of the Make Believe (1918). In typical silent screen style, she played a poor girl secretly supported by
a rich admirer and the New York Times thought she had a "limitless future before her."

After appearing as the servant wench in Cecil B. DeMille's Male and Female (1919), Paramount
began to see the newcomer as a potential successor to that popular film's star, the elegant Gloria
Swanson, and embarked on a hefty publicity campaign. Lee's detractors, however, were quick to
point out that her work never really lived up to the ballyhoo. "She seemed permanently neutral," as
one critic pointed out. Her co-starring turn opposite Rudolph Valentino in the immensely popular
bull-fight melodrama Blood and Sand (1922) was still far from persuasive but her jet-black hair,
severely braided in coils over each ear, created a trend and the fan mail kept pouring in. Her
tumultuous marriage to matinee-idol James Kirkwood, very much an "A Star Is Born" affair, created
additional headlines that lasted until their divorce in 1931.

Lila Lee's up-and-down screen career was bedeviled by severe bouts with what was euphemistically
referred to as tuberculosis but whispered to be the results of acute alcoholism. As Lon Chaney's
leading lady in The Unholy Three (1930) , she was positioned to become one of the new sound era's
first major stars but a series of bad judgments and, again, highly publicized bouts with illness, led to
supporting roles in Grade-B films. In 1936, she was a witness to the suicide of playboy Reid Russell
and the resulting headlines reportedly made her camera shy. There were several aborted stage
comebacks in the 1940s, a short-lived marriage or two, and appearances on early television soap
operas in the 1950s. Her son with Kirkwood, James Kirkwood Jr., became a noted author and
playwright but Lee did not live to see his crowning glory, the legendary Broadway musical A Chorus
Line. Retiring from performing after playing country singer Margie Bowes' hayseed mother in the
Florida-lensed Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers (1967), the veteran star died of a stroke at Saranac
Lake, NY, in November of 1973.

Biography by Hans J. Wullstei, AllMovie.com
~Silent Filmography~
Counter
SilentHollywood.com
Follow silentworlds on Twitter
Share |
.
Drag (1929) .... Dot
... aka Parasites (UK)
Honky Tonk (1929) .... Beth (her daughter)
The Black Pearl (1928) .... Eugenie Bromley
The Little Wild Girl (1928) .... Marie Cleste
... aka Flaming Justice (UK)
Black Butterflies (1928) .... Norma davis
... aka Butterflies (UK)
Just Married (1928) .... Victoire
The Adorable Cheat (1928) .... Marion Dorsey
Thundergod (1928) .... Enid Bryant
United States Smith (1928) .... Molly Malone
... aka The Fighting Marine
A Bit of Heaven (1928) .... Fola Dale
You Can't Beat the Law (1928) .... Patricia Berry
The Man in Hobbles (1928) .... Ann Harris
Top Sergeant Mulligan (1928) .... The girl
Million Dollar Mystery (1927) .... Florence Grey
One Increasing Purpose (1927) .... Elizabeth Glade
Fascinating Youth (1926) .... Lila Lee
The New Klondike (1926) .... Evelyn Lane
Broken Hearts (1926) .... Ruth Esterin
... aka Di gebrokhene Hertser (USA: Yiddish title)
... aka Souls in Exile (UK)
Old Home Week (1925) .... Ethel Harmon
Coming Through (1925) .... Alice Rand
The Midnight Girl (1925) .... Anna
Another Man's Wife (1924) .... Helen Brand
Wandering Husbands (1924) .... Diana Moreland
... aka Love and Lies (USA)
Love's Whirlpool (1924) .... Molly
Woman-Proof (1923) .... Louise Halliday
Homeward Bound (1923) .... Mary Brent
The Ne'er-Do-Well (1923) .... Chiquita
Back Home and Broke (1922) .... Mary Thorne
Ebb Tide (1922) .... Ruth Attwater
The Ghost Breaker (1922) .... Maria Theresa, a Spanish Heiress
Blood and Sand (1922) .... Carmen ... Movie Still Code: 432-X &  455-X
The Dictator (1922) .... Juanita
Is Matrimony a Failure? (1922) .... Margaret Saxby
One Glorious Day (1922) .... Molly McIntyre
Rent Free (1922) .... Barbara Teller
After the Show (1921) .... Eileen
Crazy to Marry (1921) .... Annabelle Landis
... aka Three Miles Out (USA)
Gasoline Gus (1921) .... Sal Jo Banty
The Dollar-a-Year Man (1921) .... Peggy Bruce
The Easy Road (1921) .... Ella Klotz
The Charm School (1921) .... Elsie
The Fast Freight (1921)
... aka Freight Prepaid
... aka Via Fast Freight
Midsummer Madness (1920) .... Daisy Osborne
The Prince Chap (1920) .... Claudia (age 18)
The Soul of Youth (1920) .... Vera Hamilton
Terror Island (1920) .... Beverly West
Male and Female (1919) .... Tweeny - the scullery maid
Hawthorne of the U.S.A. (1919) .... Princess Irma
... aka Hawthorne, the Adventurer
The Lottery Man (1919)
The Heart of Youth (1919) .... Josephine Darchat
Rose o' the River (1919) .... Rose Wiley
A Daughter of the Wolf (1919) .... Annette Ainsworth ... Movie Still Code: L293-X
Rustling a Bride (1919) .... Emily
Puppy Love (1919) .... Gloria O'Connell
The Secret Garden (1919) .... Mary Lennox
Jane Goes A' Wooing (1919)
Such a Little Pirate (1918) .... Patricia Wolf
The Cruise of the Make-Believes (1918) .... Bessie Meggison