~Marie Prevost~

Born: November 8, 1898 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Died: January 23, 1937 in Hollywood, California, USA
~Silent Filmography~
Marie Prevost was born on November 8, 1896 as Marie Bickford Dunn in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
Still a very young child, her father was killed in an accident at work. It was ten years later when
Marie’s mother married Frank Prevost and Marie took his last name. Marie, her mother, step-father
and half-sister Marjorie moved from city to city, with Frank Prevost working various jobs including
prospecting and some illegal activities with included burglary.

The family continued to move from place to place, finally ending up in Los Angeles, California where
Marie attended Manual Arts High School. While working as a secretary for a law firm that
represented the Keystone Film Company in 1915 that Marie got her break into films. She was on the
set running an errand and was coached into playing a scene in
His Father’s Footsteps by director
and star Ford Sterling.

The next day, Marie became a Mack Sennett bathing beauty. Most of the bathing beauties were to
provide a back drop of pretty girls for the comic action on the screen. Occasionally, a bit would be
given to a beauty and when Marie’s turn came she made up her own bit which included pushing
Mack Sennett off a pier. Sennett obviously liked the final product as Marie was given a raise the next

She continued to improve her comedic skills and in 1917 she received her first screen credit for
Natures Dance
. On June 18, 1918, Marie wed Socialite Henry Charles “Sonny” Gerke.  It was a
quick wedding which neither of them paid much attention to. They both continued to live separate
lives and occasionally dated, which eventually ended.  The couple spoke of getting an annulment,
but it just wasn’t done.

In 1919, Randolph Hearst tried to convince Marie to move to Cosmopolitan Pictures, but Marie
stayed with Sennett with a substantial raise. Marie spent the next two years filming twenty minute
shorts with some of Sennett’s finest comics: Ben Turpin, Chester Conklin, Heine Conklin and Al

In 1921, she finally parted with Sennett. Some say she left on her own accord and other say she was
fired. Her new studio was Universal. At Universal Marie was a star with star billing. Her first film
with Universal was playing a flapper in
Moonlight Follies, directed by King Baggot. Marie made a
total of eight films that year which ended with another flapper role in
The Married Flapper. It
was during this film that Marie fell in love with actor Kenneth Harlan. Thinking he was getting a duo
of star-crossed lovers, Jack Warner signed both Marie and Kenneth to a Warner Bros. contract. The
couple’s first film was together in a film based on a book by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s
The Beautiful
and the Damned

Marie continued to act at Warner Bros. often teamed with leading man Monte Blue. One of her best
films was the film directed by Ernst Lubitsch,
The Marriage Circle (1924). It was just as The
Marriage Circle
started filming that her marriage to Sonny Gerke came to light, when Gerke filed
for divorce.  Keeping her marriage a secret became a devastating career move for Marie as her boss
Jack Warner was irked over Marie’s secret marriage and became a hindrance to her work at Warner

The Marriage Circle was a big success for Marie and she was given much praise from her
director Ernst Lubitsch. Marie made two more films for Lubitsch:
Three Woman (1924) and Kiss
Me Again
(1925). Marie’s work in Cornered and The Dark Swan were her last of nine films made
in 1924. Marie followed with a long vacation that included marrying her long-time love Kenneth
Harlan.  The two finished up their contract with Warner Bros. by starring together in
Bobbed Hair
(1925). After the film, both stars were notified that Jack Warner would not be renewing their
contracts with Warner Bros.

Marie went to work for PDC (Producers Distributing Corporation). She made six films for PDC in
1926-1927, with
Up In Mabel’s Room being the most successful of the films. After PDC, Marie
worked for Pathé.  She had some successes at Pathé with
Girl in the Pullman (1927), The Rush
(1927), A Blonde for a Night (1928) and The Racket (1928).

Marie ushered into talking films with quite a few changes to her career. She ordered by Cecil B.
DeMille to bleach her hair blonde for her role in
The Golden Girl (1929). Marie successfully
transitioned from silent films, but she no longer the star. She was older, having weight issues and
dependent more and more on alcohol. Her new film persona became to be the wise-cracking
supporting character.

In the early 1930’s Marie worked for MGM and Columbia Pictures. As her weight climbed her
number of film roles declined.  In the mid 1930’s her film roles were not much more than bit roles
and walk ons – some of which she had no dialogue at all. Her last film was
Ten Laps to Go (1936).
In January 1937, Marie was found dead in her apartment with her dog Maxie at her side. It has been
rumored that Marie was eaten by her dog, which is completely untrue. Her body had a few teeth
marks that most likely were her dog’s attempt to awaken the already expired Marie.

Her death was attributed to her alcohol abuse. Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars attended the
services, including her very close friend Joan Crawford. Many were shocked at her death and were
saddened that Marie had not reached out to them for help. Marie was forty years old at her death.
~Read More About Marie Prevost~

Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels by Michael G. Ankerich is an
excellent biography of Marie Prevost and thirteen other silent film starlets.

Click the image of the book to order your copy!
The Godless Girl (1929) .... Mame - The Other Girl
The Rush Hour (1928) .... Margie Dolan - Still Code: 301-X
The Sideshow (1928) .... Queenie Parker
The Racket (1928) .... Helen Hayes
A Blonde for a Night (1928) .... Marie
On to Reno (1928) .... Vera
The Girl in the Pullman (1927) .... Hazel Burton
... aka The Girl on the Train (UK)
Night Bride (1927) .... Cynthia Stockton
Getting Gertie's Garter (1927) .... Gertie Darling
Man Bait (1927) .... Madge Dreyer
For Wives Only (1926) .... Laura Rittenhaus
Almost a Lady (1926) .... Marcia Blake
Nana (1926) .... Gaga
Up in Mabel's Room (1926) .... Mabel Ainsworth
Other Women's Husbands (1926) .... Kay Lambert
The Caveman (1926) .... Myra Gaylord
His Jazz Bride (1926) .... Gloria Gregory
Seven Sinners (1925) .... Molly Brian
Bobbed Hair (1925) .... Connemara Moore
Kiss Me Again (1925) .... LouLou Fleury
Recompense (1925) .... Julie Gmelyn
The Dark Swan (1924) .... Eve Quinn
... aka The Black Swan
The Lover of Camille (1924) .... Marie Duplessis
Three Women (1924) .... Harriet
Tarnish (1924) .... Nettie Dark
Cornered (1924) .... Mary Brennan/Margaret Waring
Being Respectable (1924) (as Mary Prevost) .... Valerie Winship
Daughters of Pleasure (1924) .... Marjory Hadley
... aka Beggar on Horseback (USA)
How to Educate a Wife (1924) .... Mabel Todd
The Marriage Circle (1924) .... Mizzi Stock
The Wanters (1923) .... Myra Hastings
Red Lights (1923) .... Ruth Carson
Brass (1923) .... Marjorie Jones
Heroes of the Street (1922) .... Betty Benton
The Beautiful and Damned (1922) .... Gloria
The Married Flapper (1922) .... Pamela Billings
Her Night of Nights (1922) .... Molly May Mahone
Kissed (1922) .... Constance Keener
The Crossroads of New York (1922)
The Dangerous Little Demon (1922) .... Teddy Harmon
Don't Get Personal (1922) .... Patricia Parker
A Parisian Scandal (1921) .... Liane-Demarest
Nobody's Fool (1921) .... Polly Gordon
Moonlight Follies (1921) .... Nan Rutledge
Call a Cop (1921) .... Banker's daughter
She Sighed by the Seaside (1921)
Wedding Bells Out of Tune (1921)
A Small Town Idol (1921) .... Marcelle Mansfield
On a Summer Day (1921) (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Dabbling in Art (1921)
Fickle Fancy (1920)
Love, Honor and Behave! (1920) .... Newlywed
Movie Fans (1920)
His Youthful Fancy (1920)
You Wouldn't Believe It (1920)
Fresh from the City (1920)
Down on the Farm (1920/I) .... The Faithful Wife
A Kitchen Cinderella (1920) .... Above her position

The Speakeasy (1919)
Up in Alf's Place (1919) (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Salome vs. Shenandoah (1919)
Uncle Tom Without a Cabin (1919) .... Eliza
... aka Uncle Tom's Cabin
Sleuths (1919)
The Dentist (1919)
Love's False Faces (1919)
When Love Is Blind (1919) .... A Brunette
Why Beaches Are Popular (1919)
... aka The Mack Sennett Bathing Girls in Why Beaches Are Popular (USA)
Reilly's Wash Day (1919)
Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919) .... A Belgian Girl
... aka The Kaiser's Last Squeal (USA)
East Lynne with Variations (1919) .... The Girl
Rip & Stitch: Tailors (1919) (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Never Too Old (1919)
The Village Chestnut (1918)
Hide and Seek, Detectives (1918)
Whose Little Wife Are You? (1918)
She Loved Him Plenty (1918)
Her Screen Idol (1918)
His Smothered Love (1918)
Friend Husband (1918/II)
Those Athletic Girls (1918)
His Hidden Purpose (1918) .... The Girl in the Case
Two Crooks (1917)
Secrets of a Beauty Parlor (1917)
Her Nature Dance (1917)
A Scoundrel's Toll (1916)
Sunshine (1916)
Unto Those Who Sin (1916) .... Celeste
Better Late Than Never (1916)
His Father's Footsteps (1915)
Those Bitter Sweets (1915)