Ralston in the 1930s
September 17, 1902
Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S.
|Died||January 14, 1994
Ventura, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Other names||Jane Carleton|
|Spouse(s)||George Webb (m. 1926–34)
Will Morgan (m. 1935–38)
Ted Lloyd (m. 1939–54)
|Relatives||Howard Ralston (brother)
Bob Ralston (nephew)
Esther Ralston (September 17, 1902 – January 14, 1994) was an American actress whose greatest popularity came during the silent era.
Early life and career
Ralston was born Esther Worth in Bar Harbor, Maine. She was the older sister of Howard Ralston who also appeared in silent pictures but never achieved the stardom of his sister. She began her career as a child actress in a family vaudeville act which was billed as "The Ralston Family with Baby Esther, America's Youngest Juliet." From this, she appeared in a few small silent film roles including a role alongside her brother in the 1920 film adaptation of Huckleberry Finn. Ralston later gained attention as Mrs. Darling in the 1924 film version of Peter Pan.
In the late 1920s she appeared in many films for Paramount, at one point earning as much as $8000 a week, and garnering much popularity, especially in Britain. She appeared mainly in comedies, often portraying spirited society girls, but she also received good reviews for her forays into dramatic roles.
Retirement and later years
Despite making a successful transition to sound, she was mainly relegated to supporting roles by the mid-1930s. Her last leading role was in To the Last Man in 1933, directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Randolph Scott. Ralston made her final film, Tin Pan Alley, in 1940 and chose to retire from films. She continued working on the stage and in radio throughout the 1940s, including being the leading lady for part of the run of Woman of Courage  She returned to the screen in the early 1950s with guest roles on television series including Kraft Television Theatre and Tales of Tomorrow. In 1962, she had a leading role in the short-lived daytime drama, Our Five Daughters, her final onscreen role.
In 1985, Ralston released her autobiography Some Day We'll Laugh.
Ralston first married newspaper man and showman George Webb in 1926. They had one child together, daughter Mary Esther, before divorcing in 1934. In 1935, she married actor Will Morgan. They divorced in 1938. Ralston married radio announcer and columnist Ted Lloyd on August 6, 1939 in Greenwich, Connecticut. The couple had two children, Judy (born 1942) and Ted, Jr. (born 1943), before divorcing in 1954.
|1915||The Deep Purple||Bit, extra...as an Angel||uncredited (debut film)|
|1918||For Husbands Only||Bit part||Uncredited
|1920||Huckleberry Finn||Mary Jane Wilks|
|1921||The Kid||Extra in Heaven Scene||Uncredited|
|1922||The Lone Hand|
|1922||Oliver Twist||Rose Maylie|
|1923||The Phantom Fortune||Mary Rogers|
|1923||Blinky||Mary Lou Kileen|
|1923||The Wild Party||Bess Furth|
|1924||The Marriage Circle||Miss Hofer|
|1924||Wolves of the North||Madge Chester|
|1924||Peter Pan||Mrs. Darling|
|1925||A Kiss for Cinderella||Fairy Godmother|
|1925||The Best People||Alice O'Neil||Lost film|
|1926||The American Venus||Mary Gray||Lost film|
|1927||Children of Divorce||Jean Waddington|
|1927||Ten Modern Commandments||Donna Latour||Lost film|
|1928||Love and Learn||Nancy Blair||Lost film|
|1929||The Case of Lena Smith||Lena Smith||Short film
|1931||Lonely Wives||Madeline Smith|
|1932||Rome Express||Asta Marvelle|
|1932||After the Ball||Elissa Strange|
|1933||To the Last Man||Ellen Colby||Alternative title: Law of Vengeance|
|1933||By Candlelight||Baroness von Ballin|
|1934||Sadie McKee||Dolly Merrick|
|1934||The Marines Are Coming||Dorothy Manning|
|1935||Ladies Crave Excitement||Miss Winkler|
|1935||Shadows of the Orient||Viola Avery|
|1935||Streamline Express||Elaine Vincent|
|1936||Hollywood Boulevard||Flora Moore|
|1936||We're in the Legion Now!||Louise Rillette|
|1937||As Good as Married||Miss Danforth|
|1937||Jungle Menace||Valerie Shield||Chapters 1,3,6,7,15|
|1937||The Mysterious Pilot||Vivian McNain||Chapters 10-11|
|1938||Letter of Introduction||Mrs. Sinclair||Uncredited|
|1938||Slander House||Ruth De Milo|
|1940||Tin Pan Alley||Nora Bayes|
|1952||Kraft Television Theatre||Episode: "September Tide"|
|1952||Tales of Tomorrow||The Collector||Episode: "All the Time in the World"|
|1953||Broadway Television Theatre||Mrs. Bancroft||Episode: "The Noose"|
|1962||Our Five Daughters||Helen Lee|
- Coons, Robbin (October 15, 1940). "Former Star Is Satisfied To Play Bits". Toledo Blade. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 726.
- Mayne, Judith (1994). Directed by Dorothy Arzner. Indiana University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-253-20896-3.
- Thomas, Dan (March 4, 1929). "Home Wins Esther Ralston". San Jose News. p. 4. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Esther Ralston Wins Divorce for Cruelty". The Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal. March 6, 1934. p. 12. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Breaks Her Splice". The Leader-Post. May 10, 1938. p. 6. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Actress Esther Ralston Wed to Ted Lloyd, Radio Man". The Milwaukee Journal. August 7, 1939. p. 2. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- Collins, Glenn (January 27, 1994). "Esther Ralston, 91, A Featured Actress Of Silent-Film Era". nytimes.com. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Hollywood Star Walk". latimes.com. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- Drew, William H. Speaking of Silents: First Ladies of the Screen. Vestal: New York, 1989.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Esther Ralston.|
- Esther Ralston at the Internet Movie Database
- Esther Ralston at Find a Grave
- Photographs of Esther Ralston