Doris Rankin

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Doris Marie Rankin (1887 – 1947)[1] was an American film actress and the younger daughter of actor McKee Rankin and an unnamed actress though Rankin was married to actress Kitty Blanchard. She was married to actor Lionel Barrymore from 1904–1923. Her older sister, Gladys Rankin, was married to Lionel's uncle Sidney Drew. Another sister Phyllis Rankin was married to Harry Davenport of the Davenport theatrical family.[2]

Doris in rocking chair with husband Lionel in lantern slide to The Devil's Garden(1920). May McAvoy, center, co-stars with them.

Rankin began her career with several roles with her father's company, her best remembered part being as an Italian white slave in The White Slaver. Prior to this she performed in a number of sketches with her father and Barrymore. She and Lionel married in 1904, he was 26 and she 16. When Barrymore retired from theatrical work in 1906, Rankin did so as well. The couple lived for an extended period in Paris, France returning to the United States about 1910. Barrymore studied music and painting while he was there. Doris bore Lionel two daughters, Ethel and Mary. Both girls died in infancy though Mary lived a number of months. Lionel was deeply affected by the loss of his two daughters and never truly got over it. Most likely the girls' deaths played a part in the eventual end of Lionel and Doris's marriage.

In 1925 Rankin played in the vaudeville production of Harry Wagstaff Gribble's How Do You Know?.

Rankin's film debut came as Mrs. Shanks in The Copperhead (1920) with her husband in the title role. The Copperhead had been a great success for Lionel and Doris as a play on the Broadway stage. She followed this role with performances in The Devil's Garden (1920), The Great Adventure (1921), Jim the Penman (1921), and Lena Rivers (1925). She continued in motion pictures into the era of sound films. Her last credited role came in Society Smugglers (1939).

Rankin was given a divorce from Barrymore in December 1922. Barrymore married Irene Fenwick in Rome, Italy the following June.

After divorcing Lionel, Doris, still in her thirties, met and married British author Malcolm Mortimer and bore him two children. The couple lived in Santa Monica which allowed Doris to be near the film studios.

In November 1931 Rankin was operated on for a thyroid ailment at the Park East Hospital in New York City. The operation was of a non-malignant type.

Doris Rankin died in Washington, DC in 1947. She is buried in Suitland Maryland at Cedar Hill Cemetery under her married name to Malcolm Mortimer. There is no reference to Lionel Barrymore.[3]

References[edit]

Notes
Bibliography
  • Los Angeles Times, Hedda Hopper's Hollywood, June 17, 1940, Page 12.
  • New York Times, Who Is Doris Rankin?, May 19, 1918, Page 54.
  • New York Times, Lionel Barrymore Divorced In 14 Days; Name of Corespondent Is Not Disclosed, December 22, 1922, Page 1.
  • New York Times, Lionel Barrymore To Marry In Rome, June 7, 1923, Page 4.
  • New York Times, Who's Who On The Stage, October 11, 1925, Page X3.
  • New York Times, Doris Rankin Out of Danger, November 4, 1931, Page 30.

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