Aileen Pringle

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Aileen Pringle
Aileenpringle.jpg
Pringle in 1926
Born Aileen Bisbee
(1895-07-23)July 23, 1895
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died December 16, 1989(1989-12-16) (aged 94)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1920–1944
Spouse(s) Charles McKenzie Pringle (1916-1926) (divorced)
James M. Cain (1944-1946) (divorced)

Aileen Pringle (July 23, 1895 – December 16, 1989) was an American stage and film actress during the silent film era.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Born Aileen Bisbee into a prominent and wealthy San Francisco, California family and educated in Europe, Pringle began her acting career shortly after her 1916 marriage to Charles McKenzie Pringle, the son of a wealthy titled British Jamaican landowner and a member of the Privy and Legislative Councils of Jamaica.

Career rise[edit]

One of Pringle's first high-profile roles was in the Rudolph Valentino film Stolen Moments (1920). Many of Pringle's early roles were only modestly successful, and she continued to build her career until the early 1920s when she was selected by her friend, the romance novelist Elinor Glyn to star in the 1924 film adaptation of her novel Three Weeks opposite matinee idol Conrad Nagel. The role catapulted Pringle into leading-lady status and her career began to build momentum.

Scandal[edit]

One small set-back occurred on November 15, 1924 when Aileen Pringle was among a select group of Hollywood elites who boarded a yacht in San Pedro, California called the Oneida, owned by newspaper scion and billionaire William Randolph Hearst. The event was to be a birthday party organized by Hearst for film producer and director Thomas Ince.

Other prominent guests aboard The Oneida included columnist Louella Parsons, actor Charlie Chaplin, actress Marion Davies (who was also Hearst's lover) and actresses Seena Owen, Jacqueline Logan and Julanne Johnston.

At dinner that Sunday night, the group celebrated Ince's 42nd birthday. Early Monday morning, Ince was taken from the yacht by water taxi and brought ashore, accompanied by Dr. Goodman a licensed, though non-practicing, physician. By Tuesday night, Thomas Ince was dead.

Although the mysterious death of Thomas Ince was ruled to have been caused by a gastro-intestinal illness, the press frenzy that followed turned the event into a Hollywood legend; with various enigmatic and lurid stories being proffered by gossips. Among these, was a story of Hearst accidentally shooting Ince while aiming for Chaplin, who he believed to be having an affair with Marion Davies. Pringle's career weathered the controversy.

Later career[edit]

Pringle's acting career continued throughout the early 1920s, however, she was allegedly disliked by many of her co-workers for her apparently haughty and dismissive behavior. At one point she allegedly threatened actor Conrad Nagel with physical violence after he was instructed in a scene to carry her. Pringle's apparent disdain for her profession began to hurt her career, and by the late 1920s her roles became fewer.

Although disliked by some Hollywood insiders, Aileen Pringle was often dubbed by the press as the "Darling of the Intelligentsia" because of her close friendship with such literary figures as Carl Van Vechten, Joseph Hergesheimer, Rupert Hughes, and H. L. Mencken who became a lifelong friend of the actress.[1] (She reportedly brokered the meeting of Mencken and Valentino, of which Mencken wrote an account, some weeks after Valentino had died. Mencken does not name her but describes her as "discreet as she is charming.") Ralph Barton, American artist, was also a devoted friend and used her as the model for Dorothy in his illustrations for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos.[2] Another admirer was George Gershwin who met her in Hollywood and wrote much of the Second Rhapsody at her Santa Monica, California home.[3] Her wit, keen intellect and sparkling personality made her a sought-after companion.[1]

After her 1926 divorce from Charles Pringle, Aileen Pringle further focused on her acting career, including Dream of Love (1928) with Joan Crawford and Wall Street (1929) co-starring Ralph Ince, brother of Thomas Ince. However, with the advent of talkies, the studios began heavily promoting a new crop of starlets and Pringle's career faded.

During the sound era, she continued to take small parts in major films and even uncredited roles. In 1944 Pringle married the author, James M. Cain, but the union lasted only two years and ended in divorce. By the late 1940s, Pringle retired from the screen and lived a wealthy retirement in New York City, where she died in 1989 at the age of 94.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Aileen Pringle was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6723 Hollywood Blvd., in Los Angeles, California.

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1920 The Cost Olivia as Aileen Savage
The Sport of Kings as Aileen Savage
Earthbound as Aileen Savage
Stolen Moments Inez Salles as Aileen Savage
Short film; Extant
1922 Oath-Bound Alice
The Strangers' Banquet Mrs. Schuyler-Peabody
My American Wife Hortensia deVereta Lost film
1923 The Christian Lady Robert Ure
The Tiger's Claw Chameli Brentwood
Souls for Sale Lady Jane Extant(Turner/Warner Brothers)
Don't Marry for Money Edith Martin
In the Palace of the King Princess Eboli Lost film
1924 Name the Man Isabelle
Three Weeks The Queen
True As Steel Mrs. Eva Boutelle
His Hour Tamara Loraine Extant
The Wife of the Centaur Inez Martin Lost film
1925 A Thief in Paradise Rosa Carmino Lost film
One Year to Live Elsa Duchanier
A Kiss in the Dark Janet Livingstone
Wildfire Claire Barrington Extant(Library of Congress)
The Mystic Zara Extant(Turner/Warner Brothers)(Trailer-Library of Congress)
Soul Mates Velma
1926 Camille Estelle Short film
The Wilderness Woman Juneau MacLean
The Great Deception Lois
Tin Gods Janet Stone
1927 Adam and Evil Evelyn Trevelyan
Body and Soul Hilda
Tea for Three Doris Langford
1928 Wickedness Preferred Kitty Dare
Beau Broadway Yvonne
The Baby Cyclone Lydia
Show People Herself Cameo appearance; Extant(Turner/Warner Brothers)
Dream of Love The Duchess Lost film
1929 A Single Man Mary Hazeltine Lost film
Night Parade Paula Vernoff Incomplete(Library of Congress)
Wall Street Ann Tabor
1930 Puttin' on the Ritz Mrs. Teddy Von Rennsler
Prince of Diamonds Eve Marley
Soldiers and Women Brenda Ritchie
1931 Subway Express Dale Tracy
Murder at Midnight Esme Kennedy
Convicted Claire Norville
1932 Police Court Diana McCormick
The Age of Consent Barbara
The Phantom of Crestwood Mrs. Herbert Walcott
1933 By Appointment Only Diane Manners
1934 Love Past Thirty Caroline Burt
Jane Eyre Lady Blanche Ingram
Once to Every Bachelor Judy Bryant
Sons of Steel Enid Chadburne
1935 Vanessa: Her Love Story Herries Servant Uncredited
1936 Wife vs. Secretary Mrs. Anne Barker Uncredited
The Unguarded Hour Diana Roggers
Piccadilly Jim Paducah Pomeroy
Wanted: Jane Turner Norris' Secretary Uncredited
1937 Criminal Lawyer Mrs. Manning Uncredited
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney Maria
John Meade's Woman Mrs. Melton
Thanks for Listening Lulu, Blackmailer Leader
She's No Lady Mrs. Douglas
Nothing Sacred Mrs. Bullock Uncredited
1938 Man-Proof Second Gossipy Woman Uncredited
Too Hot to Handle Mrs. Arthur MacArthur Uncredited
1939 The Hardys Ride High Miss Booth, Dress Saleslady
Calling Dr. Kildare Mrs. Thatcher Uncredited
Should a Girl Marry? Mrs. White
The Women Miss Carter (saleslady) Uncredited
The Night of Nights Dress Saleslady Uncredited
1941 Appointment for Love Nurse Gibbons Uncredited
They Died with Their Boots On Mrs. Sharp Uncredited
1942 Between Us Girls Guest Uncredited
1943 The Youngest Profession Miss Farwood Uncredited
Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case Chaperon Uncredited
Happy Land Mrs. Prentiss Uncredited
1944 Since You Went Away Woman at Cocktail Lounge Uncredited
A Wave, a WAC and a Marine Newswoman
Laura Woman Uncredited

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Marion Elizabeth Rogers. Mencken: The American Iconoclast. Oxford University Press. 2005 ISBN 0-19-507238-3
  2. ^ Anita Loos. A Girl Like I, New York: The Viking Press, 1966, pp. 120, 275
  3. ^ Robert Kimball and Alfred Simon. The Gershwins, New York: Atheneum, 1973. pp 133-135.

References[edit]

  • Kenneth Anger, "Hollywood Babylon", San Francisco California: Straight Arrow Books, 1975. ISBN 0-87932-086-9
  • "Films In Review", October 1979, Vol.XXX No.8. Article on Aileen Pringle by De Witt Bodeen. ISSN 0015-1688.
  • "Films In Review", March 1990, Vol.XLI No.3. Article on Aileen Pringle by Stuart Oderman. ISSN 0015-1688
  • Rodgers, Marion Elizabeth (2005) Mencken: The American Iconoclast. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507238-3
  • Bruce Kellner. The Last Dandy: Ralph Barton, American Artist, 1891-1931. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8262-0774-X

External links[edit]