~Carol Dempster~

Born: December 9, 1901, Duluth, Minnisota, USA
Died: February 1, 1991 in La Jolla, CA, USA
~Silent Filmography~
D.W. Griffith's foremost protegée of the 1920s, Carol Dempster earned the dubious distinction of
being blamed for the great director's downfall. None of Griffith's other stars had anything good to
say about her, on or off the screen, and critic Burns Mantle, in surveying her performance in The
Love Flower (1920) (in which Dempster poses, swims, poses, and swims), famously wrote: "As an
actress, Miss Dempster is an excellent high diver." None of this, however, is really fair: A former
dancer with Ruth St. Denis, Dempster possessed a rare grace onscreen, and, in at least two of her
films, Isn't Life Wonderful (1924) and, especially, The Sorrows of Satan (1926), she emerges as a fine
actress indeed. Griffith himself was perhaps mostly to blame for Dempster's ill repute, constantly
attempting to turn her into carbon copies of his earlier, more legendary, leading ladies. In one film,
The Girl Who Stayed at Home (1919), she attempted an obvious imitation of Lillian Gish, while, in
another, the miserable Dream Street (1921), her acting choices suggested the more lighthearted
Dorothy Gish. She failed utterly in both cases. Angular and handsome rather than wistful and pretty,
Dempster seems an odd choice for Griffith, who for years failed to see her true potential. But she
was suddenly almost startlingly right as the Polish refugee in post-war Berlin in Isn't Life Wonderful
and she completely overcame the melodramatics inherent in the Faust theme of The Sorrows of
Satan, delivering what at least one notable Griffith historian has termed "the definitive Carol
Dempster performance." Alas, Griffith was no longer his own producer and The Sorrows of Satan
proved her final film. Marrying a New York banker, Dempster retired to La Jolla, CA, rarely, as she
once stated, giving any thoughts to her long-ago screen career. "So many of my movies were so sad,"
she said in one of her very few interviews. "Maybe my fans would like to know that in real life Carol
Dempster had a happy ending."

Hans J. Wollstein, AllMovie.com
The Sorrows of Satan (1926) .... Mavis Claire
That Royle Girl (1925) .... Joan Daisy Royle
Sally of the Sawdust (1925) .... Sally
Isn't Life Wonderful (1924) .... Inga
America (1924) .... Miss Nancy Montague
... aka Love and Sacrifice (UK)
The White Rose (1923) .... Marie Carrington
One Exciting Night (1922) .... Agnes Harrington
Sherlock Holmes (1922) .... Alice Faulkner
... aka Moriarty (UK)
Dream Street (1921) .... Gypsy Fair
Way Down East (1920) (uncredited) .... Barn dancer
The Love Flower (1920) .... Stella Bevan

Scarlet Days (1919) .... Lady Fair
True Heart Susie (1919) .... Bettina's friend
The Girl Who Stayed at Home (1919) .... Acoline France
A Romance of Happy Valley (1919) .... Girl John Logan meets in New York
The Hope Chest (1918) .... Ethel Hoyt
The Greatest Thing in Life (1918) (uncredited) .... Dancer
Lillian Gish in a Liberty Loan Appeal (1918)
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916) (uncredited) .... Favorite of the Harem
(Babylonian Story)/Dancer/Handmaiden
... aka Intolerance (USA: short title)
... aka Intolerance: A Sun-Play of the Ages