Born: July 14, 1906 in Richmond, Virginia, USA
Died: October 1, 1947 in Los Angeles, California, USA
|~Stars of the Photoplay, 1930~
Olive Borden is a Southern girl born in 1907. Her first good picture role was in "Ponjola." She soon
signed a long contract with Fox, later made four pictures for Columbia, and signed with Radio Pictures
in 1929. Olive was a WAMPAS Star in 1925. She is 5 feet, 1 1/2 inches tall and weighs 105. Her hair is
jet black, and she has dark brown eyes. The great break in Olive's career came when she changed her
type from the sophisticated sort of girl to the jolly, younger-set sort of thing, in talkies.
The Eternal Woman (1929) .... Anita
Love in the Desert (1929) .... Zarah
Sinners in Love (1928) .... Ann Hardy
Stool Pigeon (1928) .... Goldie
... aka The Decoy (UK)
Gang War (1928) .... Flowers
... aka All Square (UK)
Virgin Lips (1928) .... Norma
The Albany Night Boat (1928) .... Georgie
Come to My House (1927) .... Joan Century
Pajamas (1927) .... Angela Wade
The Joy Girl (1927) .... Jewel Courage
Secret Studio (1927) .... Rosemary Merton
The Monkey Talks (1927) .... Olivette
The Country Beyond (1926) .... Valencia
Fig Leaves (1926) .... Eve Smith
3 Bad Men (1926) .... Lee Carlton
Yellow Fingers (1926) .... Saina
My Own Pal (1926) .... Alice Deering
The Yankee Señor (1926) .... Manuelita
... aka The Conquering Blood (USA)
The Overland Limited (1925) .... Ruth Dent
The Happy Warrior (1925) .... Ima
Good Morning, Nurse (1925)
Tell It to a Policeman (1925) (G-5)
Bad Boy (1925) (uncredited) .... Undetermined Role
The Dressmaker from Paris (1925)
Should Husbands Be Watched? (1925) .... The New Maid (D-80)
Just a Good Guy (1924) .... Slippery Sue (E-7)
The Royal Razz (1924) (D-75)
Too Many Mamas (1924) (D-71)
Should Landlords Live? (1924) (E-5)
Why Men Work (1924) (D-67)
Air Pockets (1924) .... Morgan's Daughter
Wide Open (1924)
Neck and Neck (1924)
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When Olive Borden was a teenager her mother gave her a choice: go to prom or go to Hollywood. It
took courage to move across the nation, but Olive and he devoted mother Sibbie made the trip in hopes
that Olive would become a star. Olive and her mother stayed with Sibbie's sister and daughter, actress
Natalie Joyce (another actress that would join Olive as a 1925 Wampas Baby Girl).
But by the 1920's, many beautiful young girls made the same pilgrimage to Hollywood, and
competition between wanna-be starlets was fierce. In 1922, Olive started her acting career as an extra
for the Christie comedies, but after asking for a raise, she was dismissed.
Olive and her mother tried to make ends meet by starting a candy business, but it ended in failure and
was an early sign that neither Olive or her mother had much of a mind when it came to business
Olive's first real film role was an uncredited bit in 1923's Ponjola, which starred Anna Q. Nilsson and
James Kirkwood. Soon, Olive found herself working as one of Mack Sennett's bathing beauties along
with many other rising stars of her time. By 1924, Olive had a contract with Hal Roach Studios and
Olive played a variety of parts during her time with Hal Roach. In 1925, she walked out on her contract
with Sennett in order to become a WAMPAS Baby Star (see above). Being a Baby Star led Olive to be
cast in 1925's The Dressmaker from Paris with Leatrice Joy and then came Grounds for Divorce,
both films were by director Paul Bern. But Olive's big break finally came when she was casted in The
Happy Warrior (1925).
The Happy Warrior led to more starring roles in The Overland Limited and The Yankee Senor with
Tom Mix. In 1926, Olive made six films. It was her featured role in Yellow Fingers that Olive proved
she could carry a film on her own.
Three Bad Men, directed by John Ford, was her next film, and she and her co-star George O'Brien fell
in love during the one-year shoot of this epic Western. It was in a barrel scene during the filming of
Three Bad Men, that the studio found her beautiful body to be an asset. Her future films would take
advantage of her beautiful attributes.
Olive returned to Tom Mix for one more film My Own Pal and soon after came a five year contract
with Fox Studios. In 1926, Fox cast Olive in Fig Leaves, also co-starring her love interest George
O'Brien. This film was a big success for both actors. Next came The Country Beyond with Ralph
Graves. Olive and Ralph would soon become very close friends.
In 1927 she made The Monkey Talks, directed by Raoul Walsh. Unfortunately only one print of this
film is know to have survived and half of this film shows a great amount of nitrate damage. Her next
film in 1927 was The Secret Studio, which brought her great critical praise. But it was Allan Dwan's
film The Joy Girl that would forever re-define Olive Borden and she would become synonymous with
this film title. After this film, Olive was known as The Joy Girl (much like Clara Bow is known as the It
Next Olive was set to star in F.W. Murnau's film Sunrise with the love of her life George O'Brien. But
when Murnau found out that Olive and George were romantically involved he replaced Olive with Janet
Gayor. Olive tried to be resolute about the decision, but if effected her relationship with George and
ultimately with Fox. Instead of Sunrise, Olive was cast in Pajama Game.
In late 1927, Fox told Olive that her salary would be reduced. This was not a personal issue, many of
the studios were reducing their stars salaries due to the advent of sound. But, Olive did take this
personally and she walked out on her Fox Contract. She was hoping that Fox would pay more to have
her back, but a reconciliation between Olive Borden and Fox never occurred. Again, Olive showed that
she just wasn't suited when it came to conduction "business," and her departure from Fox would
forever be bad decision on her part.
As a young, rising star, Olive was use to the good life. She bought clothes, jewelry, furs and cars. When
she walked out on Fox, her spending didn't stop and she found herself in financial trouble. She sold her
home in Beverly Hills, fired her personal staff and moved to Santa Monica. By working independently
in films through 1928 she paid off her debts and Olive was able to climb out of her financial hole.
As as independent artist, Olive worked for FBO, Tiffany Stahl and Columbia Pictures. It was in these
films that Olive's voice was heard for the first time. In 1929, Olive was offered a four-picture deal with
RKO, but Olive only made two films with the studio: Half Marriage and Dance Hall. Her last film in
1929 was Wedding Rings, also starring H. B. Warner and Lois Wilson.
In1930, Olive made only two films: Hello Sister and The Social Lion. The Social Lion would be her last
film for the next two years. During this time, Olive worked in on stage and in vaudeville. In 1931, Olive
moved to New York and married stockbroker Theodore Spector. Turned out that Spector has been
married before and never obtained a divorce from his first wife. A trial in 1932 would officially end her
marriage to Spector. Olive's only film in 1932 was coincidentally named The Divorce Racket.
In 1933, filmed three shorts made at Warner Bros. Vitaphone Studio in Brooklyn: The Mild West, Gobs
of Fun and Film Daily. She made the film Leave It to Me in 1933 for British International Films. And in
1934, Olive made a film for Al Christie at the Astoria studio, The Inventors, Olive's role was uncredited.
Olive's last film was Chloe, Love is Calling (1934), made for Sun Haven Studios in Florida.
Olive married John Moeller, an electrician, on November 2, 1934. They lived a quiet life and Olive's
only career at this time was as a housewife. By 1941, Olive's marriage was over (due to her affair with
Arthur Benline, Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Construction Battalion) and she was officially
bankrupt. It is at this time that her addition to alcohol becomes evident. In 1942, Olive got a job with
the WAAC (Woman's Auxiliary Army) as an Army chauffeur. She was given a medical discharge in
1944, due to a severe foot injury. Benline helped Olive financially and even tried to get her re-enlisted,
but Olive's dependence on Alcohol ended any hope of a lasting relationship with Benline or the army.
Eventually, Olive moved into The Sunshine Mission - a home for destitute women, located on Skid Row
in Los Angeles. Olive's mother Sibbie worked their as a housekeeper and eventually became its
superintendent. Olive would disappear at times, and at her last disappearance, her mother found her in
a motel, on the brink of death. Sibbie brought her daughter back to The Sunshine Mission and on
October 1, 1947, at the age of 41, Olive Borden died due to cirrhosis of the liver.
Olive Borden, known as The Joy Girl, sadly did not find Joy in her life. Unfortunately, this sad ending of
Olive Borden's life mirrored that of many young starlets that came to Hollywood in search of a dream.
Written by Kay Shackleton with biographical information from Biography written by Michelle Vogel
entitled "The Life and Films of Hollywood's "Joy Girl."
|TO READ MORE ABOUT OLIVE BORDEN:
We Suggest reading "The Life and Films of Hollywood's "Joy Girl," written
by film biographer Michelle Vogel.
<---Click the book image to be linked to the Website to order this
wonderfully written book.
~To have Michelle autograph a bookplate to put in your book for only
$5.00 - click here~
|~The Los Angeles Times~
October 2, 1947
Olive Borden was a silent film star who, at the height of her career, made $1,500 per week and died in
poverty at a skid row mission. She reached the peak of her career in 1927 when she starred in 11
pictures for Fox Studios.
— The Los Angeles Times Oct. 2, 1947
|~Unknown Olive Borden Film~