Bessie Love

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Bessie Love
Earlybessielove.jpg
c. 1916
Born Juanita Horton
(1898-09-10)September 10, 1898
Midland, Texas, United States
Died April 26, 1986(1986-04-26) (aged 87)
London, England, United Kingdom[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 1915–83
Spouse(s) William Hawks (1929–35) (divorced)
Children Patricia (b. 1932)[2]

Bessie Love (September 10, 1898 – April 26, 1986) was an American motion picture actress who achieved prominence mainly in the silent films and early talkies.[3] With a small frame and delicate features, she played innocent young girls, flappers, and wholesome leading ladies. Her role in The Broadway Melody (1929) earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.[4] In addition to her acting career, she wrote the screenplay for the 1919 film A Yankee Princess.[5]

Early life[edit]

Love was born Juanita Horton in Midland, Texas. She attended school in Midland until she was in the eighth grade, when her chiropractor father moved his family to Hollywood. Bessie graduated from Los Angeles High School and then received from her parents the graduation present of a trip around the United States. After six months of traveling, she finally returned home to Los Angeles.

Career[edit]

The silent era[edit]

Bessie Love and Douglas Fairbanks in The Good Bad Man (1916), here listed under the title, Coyote o' The Rio Grande.
Advertisement, 1918

On actor Tom Mix's recommendation that she "get into pictures",[6] Love's mother sent her to Biograph Studios, where she met pioneering film director D.W. Griffith. Griffith, who introduced Bessie Love to films, also gave the actress her screen name. He gave her a small role in his film Intolerance (1916). She also appeared opposite William S. Hart in The Aryan and with Douglas Fairbanks in The Good Bad Man, Reggie Mixes In, and The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (all 1916).

In 1922, Love was selected one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars.[5][7] In 1923, she starred in Human Wreckage with Dorothy Davenport and produced by Thomas Ince.

As her roles got larger, so did her popularity. She performed the Charleston in the film The King on Main Street in 1925. Also that same year she starred in The Lost World, a science fiction adventure based on the novel of the same name by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Three years later she starred in The Matinee Idol, a romantic comedy directed by a young Frank Capra.

The sound era[edit]

Love was able to successfully transition to talkies, and in 1929 she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Broadway Melody. She also appeared in several other early musicals including The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929), Chasing Rainbows (1930), Good News (1930), and They Learned About Women (1930).

However, by 1932, her American film career was in decline. She moved to England in 1935 and did stage work and occasional films there. As war came in Europe she returned to the US for a while, worked for the Red Cross, and entertained the troops. After the war, she moved back to Britain, and continued to work on the stage and play small roles in films, including The Barefoot Contessa (1954) with Humphrey Bogart, Ealing Studios' Nowhere to Go (1958), and The Greengage Summer (1961) starring Kenneth More.[7] She also played small roles in the James Bond thriller On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971). In addition to playing the mother of Vanessa Redgrave's titular character in Isadora (1968), Love also served as dialect coach to the actress.[8]

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in October 1963 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in central London.[9]

Her work continued in the 1980s with roles in Ragtime (1981), Reds (1981), Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981), and—her final film—The Hunger (1983).

Personal life[edit]

Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6777 Hollywood Blvd.

Love married agent William Hawks (January 29, 1901 Neenah, Wisconsin – January 10, 1969 Santa Monica, California) at St. James Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California on December 27, 1929.[10] Mary Astor, Carmel Myers, and Norma Shearer were among her bridesmaids; William's brother Howard Hawks and Irving Thalberg ushered. Mary Astor was William's sister-in-law, married to brother Kenneth Hawks. They then lived at the Havenhurst Apartments in Hollywood. They had a daughter, Patricia Hawks (February 19, 1932, Los Angeles, California),[2] who had some bit parts in movies in 1952. They divorced in 1935.

During World War II in Britain, when Love found acting work hard to come by, she had been the "continuity girl" on the film drama San Demetrio London (1943), an account of a ship badly damaged in the Atlantic but whose crew managed to bring her to port. She also had regular diet in the postwar era of stage roles—often as an American tourist or such roles—performing in such productions as Love in Idleness (1944),[11] Born Yesterday (1947),[11][12] and as "Aunt Pittypat" in a large-scale musical version of Gone With the Wind (1972).

In 1977, she published an autobiography, From Hollywood with Love.[13] At the time, she was living comfortably in a flat overlooking London's Clapham Common and had recently appeared in a television account of the abdication of King Edward VIII.

She was interviewed in the television documentary series Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film (1980).[14]

Love died in London, England from natural causes on April 26, 1986. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.

Filmography[edit]

The Wishing Ring Man (1919)

Silent films: 1915–1928[edit]

Year Title Role Studio Notes
1916 Acquitted Helen Carter Triangle Lost
1916 The Flying Torpedo Hulda Triangle Lost
1916 The Aryan Mary Jane Garth Triangle Extant
1916 The Good Bad Man Amy Triangle Extant
1916 Reggie Mixes In Agnes Triangle Extant
1916 The Mystery of the Leaping Fish The Little Fish Blower Triangle Extant
1916 Stranded The Girl Triangle Lost
1916 Intolerance The Bride Triangle Extant
1916 Hell-to-Pay Austin Briar Rose Dawson Triangle Lost
1916 A Sister of Six Prudence Triangle Lost
1916 The Heiress at Coffee Dan's Waffles Triangle Lost
1917 Nina, the Flower Girl Nina Triangle Lost
1917 A Daughter of the Poor Rose Eastman Triangle Lost
1917 Cheerful Givers Judy Triangle Lost
1917 The Sawdust Ring Janet Magie Triangle Extant
1917 Wee Lady Betty Wee Lady Betty Triangle Lost
1917 Polly Ann Polly Ann Triangle Lost
1918 The Great Adventure Rags Pathé Extant (BFI National Film and Television)
1918 How Could You, Caroline? Caroline Rogers Pathé Lost
1918 A Little Sister of Everybody Celeste Janvier Pathé Lost
1918 The Dawn of Understanding Sue Prescott Vitagraph Lost
1919 The Enchanted Barn Shirley Hollister Vitagraph Lost
1919 Carolyn of the Corners Carolyn May Cameron Pathé Lost
1919 The Wishing Ring Man Joy Havenith Vitagraph Lost
1919 A Yankee Princess Patsy O'Reilly Vitagraph Lost
1919 The Little Boss Peggy Winston (The Little Boss) Vitagraph Lost
1919 Cupid Forecloses Geraldine Farleigh Vitagraph Lost
1919 Over the Garden Wall Peggy Gordon Vitagraph Lost
1919 A Fighting Colleen Alannah Malone Vitagraph Lost
1920 The Midlanders Aurelie Lindstrom Federated Film Exchanges Lost; fragment found
1920 Pegeen Pegeen O'Neill Vitagraph Lost
1920 Bonnie May Bonnie May Federated Film Exchanges Lost
1921 Penny of Top Hill Trail Penny Federated Film Exchanges Lost
1921 The Honor of Ramirez (short)[15] Ramirez's Bride Pathé
1921 The Spirit of the Lake (short)[15] Pathé
1921 The Swamp Mary Robertson-Cole Extant (Gosfilmofond)
1921 The Sea Lion Blossom Nelson Associated Producers Extant
1922 The Vermilion Pencil Hyacinth Robertson-Cole Lost
1922 Forget Me Not Ann, The Girl Metro Pictures Lost
1922 Bulldog Courage Gloria Phillips Clinton Extant (BFI, London)
1922 The Village Blacksmith Rosemary Martin, the Daughter Fox Incomplete (1 reel survives)
1922 Deserted at the Altar Anna Moore (the country girl) Phil Goldstone Extant (Museum of Modern Art)
1923 Three Who Paid John Caspar/Virginia Cartwright Fox Lost
1923 The Ghost Patrol Effie Kugler Universal Lost
1923 Purple Dawn Mui Far Aywon/State's Rights Lost
1923 Mary of the Movies[16] Herself Columbia/Robertson-Cole
1923 Human Wreckage Mary Finnegan FBO Lost
1923 The Eternal Three Hilda Gray Goldwyn Lost
1923 St. Elmo Edna Earle Fox Lost (silentera.com)
1923 Slave of Desire Pauline Gaudin Goldwyn Extant (Cinémathèque Française)
1923 Gentle Julia Julia Fox Lost
1924 Torment Marie Tourneur/Asso.First National Lost
1924 The Woman on the Jury Grace Pierce Asso. First National Lost
1924 Those Who Dance Veda Carney Ince/Asso. First National Lost
1924 The Silent Watcher Mary, his wife First National Lost
1924 Dynamite Smith Ince/Pathé Lost
1924 Sundown Ellen Crawley First National Lost
1924 Tongues of Flame Lahleet Paramount Lost
1925 The Lost World Paula White First National Extant
1925 Soul-Fire Teita First National Extant
1925 A Son of His Father Nora Shea Paramount Lost
1925 New Brooms Geraldine Marsh Paramount Lost
1925 The King on Main Street Mary Young Paramount Extant
1926 The Song and Dance Man Leola Lane Paramount Extant (Library of Congress, incomplete)
1926 Lovey Mary Lovey Mary MGM Lost
1926 Meet the Prince PDC Lost
1926 Young April Victoria PDC Extant
1926 Going Crooked Marie Fox Extant (Museum of Modern Art)
1927 The American Natural Vision Pictures Supposedly never released
1927 Rubber Tires Mary Ellen Stack PDC Extant
1927 A Harp in Hock Nora Banks Pathé Lost (Arne Andersin's Lost Film Files)
1927 Amateur Night (short) Uncredited Warner Brothers/Vitaphone
1927 Dress Parade Janet Cleghorne Pathé Extant
1928 The Matinee Idol Ginger Bolivar Columbia Extant
1928 Sally of the Scandals Sally Rand FBO Extant (Bois d'Arcy, France)
1928 Anybody Here Seen Kelly? Mitzi Lavelle Universal Lost (Lost Film Files)

Sound films: 1929–1983[edit]

Year Title Role Studio Notes
1929 The Broadway Melody Hank Mahoney MGM Extant
1929 The Idle Rich Helen Thayer MGM Extant
1929 The Hollywood Revue of 1929[17] Herself MGM
1929 The Girl in the Show Hattie Hartley MGM Extant
1930 Chasing Rainbows[18] Carlie Seymour MGM Extant
1930 They Learned About Women Mary Collins MGM Extant
1930 Conspiracy Margaret Holt RKO Extant
1930 Good News Dixie O'Day MGM Extant (missing Technicolor ending)
1930 See America Thirst Ellen Universal Extant (UCLA per IMDB and Library of Congress per their catalog)
1931 Morals for Women Helen Huston Tiffany Extant
1936 I Live Again Kathleen Vernon National Provincial Film Distributors-UK
1941 Atlantic Ferry (a.k.a. Sons of the Sea) Begonia Baggot Warner Brothers
1945 London Scrapbook[19] Spectator Short Films
1945 Journey Together Mrs. Mary McWilliams
1951 No Highway in the Sky Aircraft passenger (uncredited)
1951 The Magic Box Wedding group member
1954 Young and Willing Prisoner
1954 The Barefoot Contessa Mrs. Eubanks
1954 Beau Brummell Maid (uncredited)
1955 Touch and Go Mrs. Baxter
1957 The Story of Esther Costello Matron in Art Gallery
1958 Next to No Time Becky Wiener
1958 Nowhere to Go Harriet P. Jefferson
1960 Too Young to Love Mrs. Busch
1961 Loss of Innocence American tourist
1961 The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone Bunny
1963 The Wild Affair Marjorie's Mother
1963 Children of the Damned Mrs. Robbins, Mark's Grandmother
1964 I Think They Call Him John[20] Narrator Samaritan Films
1965 Promise Her Anything Pet Shop Customer
1966 The Poppy Is Also a Flower Uncredited
1967 Battle Beneath the Earth Matron
1967 I'll Never Forget What's'isname American tourist
1968 Isadora Mrs. Duncan
1969 On Her Majesty's Secret Service American tourist Eon-Danilag Productions
1971 Sunday Bloody Sunday[21] Answering Service Lady
1971 Catlow Mrs. Frost
1974 Vampyres American Lady
1974 Mousey (a.k.a. Cat and Mouse)[21] Mrs. Richardson
1976 The Ritz Maurine
1977 Gulliver's Travels[21]
1981 Reds Mrs. Partlow
1981 Ragtime Old T.O.C. Lady
1981 Lady Chatterley's Lover Flora
1983 The Hunger Lillybelle

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Folkart, Burt A. (29 April 1986). "Bessie Love, Silent Screen Actress Discovered in 1915, Dies at 87". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Kidd, Charles (1986). Debrett Goes to Hollywood. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 67. ISBN 0312005881. 
  3. ^ Obituary Variety, April 30, 1986.
  4. ^ "Oscar History: 1930a". Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Biography for Bessie Love at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Love 1977, p. 25
  7. ^ a b "Bessie Love – Silent and Sound Film Actress". Golden Silents. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Love 1977, p. 140
  9. ^ Bessie Love's appearance on This Is Your Life
  10. ^ Love 1977, p. 125
  11. ^ a b Love 1977, p. 136
  12. ^ "London Garrick Theatre – Born Yesterday – Laurence Olivier". Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Love 1977
  14. ^ Brownlow, Kevin; Gill, David (1980). "The Man With The Megaphone". Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film. Episode 10. Thames Video Production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT2u804FwEY. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  15. ^ a b Love 1977, p. 150
  16. ^ Love 1977, p. 151
  17. ^ Love 1977, p. 153
  18. ^ Dickstein, Martin (24 February 1930). "The Cinema Circuit". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn). Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  19. ^ Love 1977, p. 154
  20. ^ Love 1977, p. 155
  21. ^ a b c Love 1977, p. 156
Bibliography
  • Love, Bessie (1977). From Hollywood with Love: An Autobiography of Bessie Love. London: Elm Tree Books. OCLC 734075937. 

External links[edit]