|Born||Agnes Eyre Henkel
April 4, 1898
Carbondale, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||December 25, 1940
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
|Other names||Agnes Eyre|
|Spouse(s)||Captain Frank P. Schuker
(19?? – 1921)
S. Manuel Reachi
(July 13, 1924 – June 10, 1927)
Agnes Ayres (April 4, 1898 – December 25, 1940) was an American actress who rose to fame during the silent film era. She was known for her role as Lady Diana Mayo in The Sheik opposite Rudolph Valentino.
Early life and career
Born as Agnes Eyre Henkel in Carbondale, Illinois to Solon and Emma (née Slack) Henkel on April 4, 1898. She had an older brother, Solon William Henkel, who was a decade her senior. She began her career in 1914 when she was noticed by an Essanay Studios staff director and cast as an extra in a crowd scene.
After moving to New York City with her mother to pursue a career in acting, Ayres was spotted by actress Alice Joyce. Joyce noticed the physical resemblance the two shared which eventually led to Ayres being cast in Richard the Brazen (1917), as Joyce's character's sister. Ayres' career began to gain momentum when Paramount Pictures founder Jesse Lasky began to take an interest in her. Lasky gave her a starring role in the Civil War drama Held by the Enemy (1920), and also lobbied for parts for her in several Cecil B. DeMille productions. It was during this time that Ayres married, and quickly divorced, Captain Frank P. Schuker, an army officer whom she had wed during World War I. She also began a romance with Lasky.
In 1921, Ayres shot to stardom when she was cast as Lady Diana Mayo, an English heiress opposite "Latin lover" Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik. Ayres later reprised her role as Lady Diana in the 1926 sequel Son of the Sheik. Following the release of The Sheik, she went on to have major roles in many other films including The Affairs of Anatol (1921) starring Wallace Reid, Forbidden Fruit (1921), and Cecil B. DeMille's epic The Ten Commandments (1923).
By 1923, Ayres' career began to wane following the end of her relationship with Jesse Lasky. She married Mexican diplomat S. Manuel Reachi in 1924. The couple had a daughter before divorcing in 1927.
In 1929, Ayres lost her fortune and real estate holdings in the Crash of ’29. That same year, she also appeared in her last major role in The Donovan Affair, starring Jack Holt. To earn money, she left acting and played the vaudeville circuit. She returned to acting in 1936, confident that she could make a comeback. Unable to secure starring roles and somewhat overweight, Ayres appeared in mostly uncredited bit parts and finally retired from acting for good in 1937.
Later years and death
|1914||Masked Wrestler, TheThe Masked Wrestler||Uncredited|
|1915||His New Job||Extra, Secretary||Alternative title: Charlie's New Job|
|1917||Motherhood||The Mother||Credited as Agnes Eyre|
|1917||The Debt||Countess Ann||Credited as Agnes Eyre|
|1917||Mrs. Balfame||Alys Crumley||Credited as Agnes Eyre|
|1917||Hedda Gabler||Credited as Agnes Eyre|
|1917||Defeat of the City, TheThe Defeat of the City||Alicia Van Der Pool||Credited as Agnes Eyre|
|1918||Purple Dress, TheThe Purple Dress||Maida|
|1918||Enchanted Profile, TheThe Enchanted Profile||Ida Bates|
|1918||Sisters of the Golden Circle||Mrs. James Williams|
|1918||One Thousand Dollars||Margarett Hayden|
|1919||Girl Problem, TheThe Girl Problem||Helen Reeves|
|1919||Stitch in Time, AA Stitch in Time||Lela Trevor|
|1919||In Honor's Web||Carson|
|1919||Gamblers, TheThe Gamblers||Isabel Merson|
|1920||Modern Salome, AA Modern Salome||Helen Torrence|
|1920||Inner Voice, TheThe Inner Voice||Barbara|
|1920||Go and Get It||Helen Allen|
|1920||Held by the Enemy||Rachel Hayne|
|1921||The Love Special||Laura Gage|
|1921||Too Much Speed||Virginia MacMurran|
|1921||Cappy Ricks||Florrie Ricks|
|1921||The Affairs of Anatol||Annie Elliott|
|1921||Sheik, TheThe Sheik||Lady Diana Mayo|
|1922||Lane That Had No Turning, TheThe Lane That Had No Turning||Madelinette|
|1922||Bought and Paid For||Virginia Blaine|
|1922||The Ordeal||Sybil Bruce|
|1922||A Daughter of Luxury||Mary Fenton|
|1923||The Heart Raider||Muriel Gray (a speed girl)|
|1923||Racing Hearts||Virginia Kent|
|1923||The Ten Commandments||The Outcast|
|1923||The Marriage Maker||Alexandra Vancy|
|1923||Don't Call It Love||Alice Meldrum|
|1924||When a Girl Loves||Sasha Boroff|
|1924||The Guilty One||Irene Short|
|1924||The Story Without a Name||Mary Walsworth|
|1925||Tomorrow's Love||Judith Stanley|
|1925||Her Market Value||Nancy Dumont|
|1925||The Awful Truth||Lucy Satterlee|
|1925||Morals for Men||Bessie Hayes|
|1926||Son of the Sheik, TheThe Son of the Sheik||Lady Diana|
|1927||Eve's Love Letters||The Wife|
|1928||Into the Night||Billie Mardon|
|1928||The Donovan Affair||Lydia Rankin|
|1936||Small Town Girl||Catherine||Uncredited|
|1937||Maid of Salem||Bit Part||Uncredited|
|1937||Midnight Taxi||Society woman||Uncredited|
|1937||Souls at Sea||Bit Role||Uncredited|
|1937||Morning Judge||Mrs. Kennedy|
- Michael G. Ankerich (2010). Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen. BearManor. ISBN 1-59393-605-2.
- Brettell, Andrew; King, Noel; Kennedy, Damien; Imwold, Denise (2005). Cut!: Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Leonard, Warren Hsu; von Rohr, Heather. Barrons Educational Series. p. 23. ISBN 0-7641-5858-9.
- Parish, James Robert (2002). The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More Than 125 American Movie and TV Idols (3 ed.). Contemporary Books. p. 93. ISBN 0-8092-2227-2.
- Parish, James Robert (2002). The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More Than 125 American Movie and TV Idols (3 ed.). Contemporary Books. p. 94. ISBN 0-8092-2227-2.
- Katz, Ephraim (1994). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. HarperCollins She is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. Publishers. p. 68. ISBN 0-06-273089-4.
- 5.1900 United States Federal Census, Cobden, Union, Illinois; Roll: T623_346; Page: 24B; Enumeration District: 95.
- 6.1910 United States Federal Census, Chicago Ward 34, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_281; Page: 8B; Enumeration District 1461.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Agnes Ayres.|
- Agnes Ayres at the Internet Movie Database
- Agnes Ayres at AllMovie
- Agnes Ayres at Find a Grave
- Photographs and literature at Virtual History