Katherine MacDonald

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Katherine MacDonald
Katherine MacDonald 1919.jpg
Born Katherine Agnew MacDonald
(1891-12-14)December 14, 1891
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
Died June 4, 1956(1956-06-04) (aged 64)
Santa Barbara, California, US
Spouse(s) K. Malcolm Struss (1910–1919)
Charles S. Johnston (1924–26)1 son
Christian H. Holmes (1928–31)1 daughter
Relatives Mary MacLaren(sister)

Katherine Agnew MacDonald (December 14, 1891[1][2]–June 4, 1956) was an American actress and film producer. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Career[edit]

Starting her career as a popular model in New York City in the 1910s, MacDonald moved to Los Angeles in 1917. She became one of the first women to produce films in Hollywood, and did nine features for her company, Katherine MacDonald Pictures from 1919–1921.

MacDonald was among the top ranks of actresses financially in 1920, earning about $50,000 per picture from a contract with First National. She achieved the peak of her popularity between 1920 and 1923. From 1922 to 1925 produced by B.P. Schulberg.[3] However, she was considered only a minor talent in the film industry, although her curvaceous figure resulted in the nickname of the "American Beauty".[4]

Her first significant role was her lead role in Shark Monroe (1918) opposite William S. Hart. She would be featured in a number of silent films, including The Squaw Man (1918), Mr. Fix-It (1918), Passion's Playground (1920), The Beautiful Liar (1921), Stranger Than Fiction (1921), and The Infidel (1922). Her films typically were romantic dramas. MacDonald only made two pictures after 1923, one each in 1925 and 1926.

Personal life[edit]

MacDonald's career was surrounded by controversy in her private life. She had a public feud with her sister, fellow actress Mary MacLaren five years her junior. The gossip columns also held rumors of an affair with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, which was unlikely given his poor health after his 1919 stroke.

While working as a model in New York City, Katherine met her first husband, artist K. Malcolm Struss. They married in 1910 but the marriage was short-lived, and they officially divorced in 1919. She married Charles S. Johnston, a young Chicago millionaire, in 1924 and they soon had one son, Britt. They divorced in 1926.

In 1928, she was married to Christian R. Holmes, an heir to the Fleischmann's yeast company, but that marriage ended in a sensational divorce suit in 1931. MacDonald claimed cruelty—that her husband had fired a revolver at her through a locked door, had deliberately burnt her with lit cigarettes, and had sometimes locked her in a cage. Holmes counter-sued, claiming that MacDonald had embarrassed him by having affairs. MacDonald and Holmes had one daughter, Ann.[4]

Silent film actress Mary MacLaren was her sister.

After leaving the movie industry MacDonald ran a successful cosmetics business in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[4]

Her statistics list her height as 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) with a weight of 130 pounds (59 kg), having blond hair and blue eyes. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard.

Filmography[edit]

Katherine MacDonald in 1922.
  • The Spirit of '17 (1918)
  • Headin' South (1918)
  • Mr. Fix-It (1918)
  • His Own Home Town (1918)
  • Shark Monroe (1918)
  • Riddle Gawne (1918)
  • Battling Jane (1918)
  • The Squaw Man (1918)
  • Speedy Meade (1919)
  • The Woman Thou Gavest Me (1919)
  • High Pockets (1919)
  • The Thunderbolt (1919)
  • The Beauty Market (1919)
  • The Turning Point (1920)
  • Passion's Playground (1920)
  • Notorious Miss Lisle (1920)
  • Curtain (1920)
  • My Lady's Latchkey (1921)
  • Stranger Than Fiction (1921)
  • Her Social Value(1921)
  • The Beautiful Liar (1921)
  • The Woman's Side (1922)
  • The Infidel (1922)
  • Domestic Relations (1922)
  • Heroes and Husbands (1922)
  • White Shoulders (1922)
  • The Woman Conquers (1922)
  • Money! Money! Money! (1923)
  • Refuge (1923)
  • The Lonely Road (1923)
  • The Scarlet Lily (1923)
  • Chastity (1923)
  • Trust Your Wife (1924)
  • The Unnamed Woman (1925)
  • Old Loves and New (1926)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Ultimate Directory of the Silent Screen Performers: A Necrology of Births and Deaths and Essays on 50 Lost Players; edited by Anthony Slide, Scarecrow Press, c.1995
  2. ^ The Ultimate Directory of Film Technicians; A Necrology of Dates and Places of Births and Deaths of More than 9,000 Producers, Screenwriters, Composers, Cinematographers, Art Directors, Costume Designers, Choreographers, Executives and Publicists; Scarecrow Press, 1999
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0531806/
  4. ^ a b c Larry Lee Holland, "Mary MacLaren and Katherine MacDonald" Films in Review (1985) p. 221-227

External links[edit]