Born: May 3, 1906 in Quincy, Illinois, USA
Died: September 25, 1987 in Woodland Hills, California, USA
|~Colorized Portraits of Mary Astor~
|~Stars of the Photoplay, 1930~
Lucille Langhanke's love of acting was an inheritance. She was trained by her mother, who was a
dramatic teacher. At fourteen she got her first picture assignment. At sixteen she changed her name
to Mary Astor and since then has climbed steadily upwards. She was born in Quincy, Ill., May 3,
1906, is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs 120 and has auburn hair and dark brown eyes. Became a
Wampas Star in 1926. Her husband, Director Kenneth Hawks, was killed in an airplane accident
over the Pacific, while making a picture.
<--Click here for
|~Stars of the Photoplay, 1924
Lucille Langhanke won a beauty contest in Chicago, came to New York, and made her theatrical and
movie debut as Mary Astor. She began her screen career in leading roles in pictures based on
famous paintings, the first of which was "The Begger Maid." She is nineteen, holds a contract with
Paramount and is recognized as a coming star. She played opposite Glenn Hunter in "Puritan
Passions," with John Barrymore in "Beau Brummel" and in "The Bright Shawl." She is five feet, five
inches tall, weighs 118 pounds, and has auburn hair and brown eyes.
|~The Los Angeles Times~
September 26, 1987
Mary Astor's piercing eyes and finely honed features made her the essential star to one generation
of Americans. Her portrayals of mature but flawed women kept her fame bright through yet
During a career that spanned 45 years, Astor appeared in 109 films, among them such classics as
"The Maltese Falcon" with Humphrey Bogart and "The Great Lie" with Bette Davis. For the latter,
she won a 1941 Academy Award for best supporting actress.
Her path to Hollywood began when she entered a "Fame and Fortune" contest run by a movie
magazine. After her picture was printed as a semifinalist, her German immigrant father, Otto
Langhanke, a man ever in search of get-rich schemes, decided that his daughter would be a star.
On this quest, Langhanke moved the family first to Chicago and then, in 1920, to New York City.
Finally, she got a six-month contract with Famous Players-Lasky, later part of Paramount. During
that six months, about all she got was her new name, Mary Astor, and a bit part as a double-
exposed dream figure in "Sentimental Tommy."
In 1923, her Famous Players-Lasky contract was renewed, and with her parents leading the way,
she moved to Hollywood. As the studios were divided between the two coasts, she commuted back
and forth by train with a canary named Tweetums.
During the early part of her career in silent films, she played innocent heroines. But what stood out
were her large eyes and fabulous profile. Later, she would be noted more for characterizations of
evil, such as her Academy Award-winning portrayal of the ambitious, selfish pianist in "The Great
Lie," or the treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy in "The Maltese Falcon."
In later years she played innumerable mothers.
This later career was almost aborted during Hollywood's transition to talking pictures. After making
39 films that were silent, in 1929 her voice tests were judged too "masculine." By this time she was
under contract to Fox, and the studio released her. She went 10 months without work.
She broke the logjam by acting in a local play and winning kudos from reviewers who said her voice
was "low and vibrant." ("Same girl. Same voice," she later wrote.) Her first talkie, "Ladies Love
Brutes," with Fredric March, was released in 1930.
When she retired from films in 1964, she reminisced: "During the first two months of hanging
around the Famous Players-Lasky studio, I distinctly remember feeling, 'Is that all?' Glamour is in
the eye of the movie fan."
"I was never totally involved in movies," she once said. "I was making someone else's dream come
true. Not mine."
Her dream, it turned out was writing. Astor published five novels and two autobiographies.
— Penelope McMillan in the Los Angeles Times Sept. 26, 1987
The Woman from Hell (1929) .... Dee Renaud
Romance of the Underworld (1928) .... Judith Andrews
... aka Romance and Bright Lights
Dry Martini (1928) .... Elizabeth Quimby
Heart to Heart (1928) .... Princess Delatorre/Ellen Guthrie
Three-Ring Marriage (1928) .... Anna
Dressed to Kill (1928) .... Jeanne
Sailors' Wives (1928) .... Carol Trent
No Place to Go (1927) .... Sally Montgomery
The Rough Riders (1927) .... Dolly
... aka The Trumpet Calls (USA)
Rose of the Golden West (1927) .... Elena
Two Arabian Knights (1927) .... Mirza
The Sunset Derby (1927) .... Molly Gibson
The Sea Tiger (1927) .... Amy Cortissos
Forever After (1926) .... Jennie Clayton
Don Juan (1926) .... Adriana della Varnese
The Wise Guy (1926) .... Mary
... aka Into the Night (UK)
... aka Wise Guy (USA)
High Steppers (1926) .... Audrey Nye
Scarlet Saint (1925) .... Fidele Tridon
The Pace That Thrills (1925) .... Doris
Don Q Son of Zorro (1925) .... Dolores de Muro
Playing with Souls (1925) .... Margo
Enticement (1925) .... Leonore Bewlay
Oh, Doctor! (1925) .... Dolores Hicks
Inez from Hollywood (1924) .... Fay Bartholdi
... aka The Good Bad Girl
The Price of a Party (1924) .... Alice Barrows
Unguarded Women (1924) .... Helen Castle
The Fighting American (1924) .... Mary O'Mallory
Beau Brummel (1924) .... Lady Margery Alvanley
The Fighting Coward (1924) .... Lucy
To the Ladies (1923) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
Woman-Proof (1923) .... Violet Lynwood
The Marriage Maker (1923) .... Vivian Hope-Clarke
Puritan Passions (1923) .... Rachel
The Bright Shawl (1923) .... Narcissa Escobar
Success (1923) .... Rose Randolph
Second Fiddle (1923) .... Polly Crawford
The Rapids (1922) (uncredited) .... Elsie Worden
The Man Who Played God (1922) .... Young Woman
Hope (1922) .... Hope
John Smith (1922) .... Irene Mason
The Young Painter (1922)
The Angelus (1922) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
Wings of the Border (1921)
The Beggar Maid (1921) (uncredited) .... Peasant Girl/Beggar Maid
My Lady o' the Pines (1921) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
Sentimental Tommy (1921) (scenes deleted)
Brother of the Bear (1921) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
The Bashful Suitor (1921) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
Bullets or Ballots (1921) (uncredited) .... Bit Part