Madeline and Marion Fairbanks

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The Fairbanks Twins


Madeline (Madeleine) (15 November 1900 – 15 January 1989) and her twin sister Marion Fairbanks (15 November 1900 – 20 September 1973) were stage and motion picture actresses active in the silent era. The two sisters were seemingly inseparable. However, their Thanhouser filmographies are slightly different, as on occasion one twin appeared in a film without the other.

Early life[edit]

Born in New York, the twins were mainly educated by private tutors at home and while traveling. Their mother was actress Jennie M. Fairbanks, a.k.a. Jane Fairbanks, and their father was the son of Nathaniel Fairbanks, who served in the American Civil War, and a descendant of Jonathan Fairbanks, a Massachusetts hero of the Revolution. Madeline and Marion had an older brother, Robert.

Career[edit]

The Fairbanks twins, Madeline and Marion Fairbanks

The twins began their career on the stage in such productions as Alias Jimmy Valentine, Mother, Salomy Jane, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, and countless others. Starting in 1909 they performed with Nora Bayes in The Jolly Bachelors. Madeline wrote a note to President William Howard Taft, who received the twins at a private reception when they performed in Washington, D.C.. After the meeting, he presented them with an autographed picture. At first Marion desired to be an emotional actress while Madeline aspired to be a comedian.

They entered films with Biograph circa 1910. They joined the Thanhouser Film Corporation in 1912, where they were billed as "The Thanhouser Twins", and remained there until 1916. The Fairbanks sisters appeared with Teddie Gerard in the cast of the Florenz Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic in August 1920.

In 1923, Madeline decided to pursue dramatic roles, while Marion continued in musical revues, touring in the title role with the "Little Nellie Kelly company". Madeline landed roles in Mercenary Mary, The Grab Bag, and The Ritz Revue. By 1924, the girls had felt their separation too keenly, and they rejoined on stage in George White's Scandals, followed in early 1927 by parts in Oh, Kay.

Later years[edit]

By 1932, Marion was on stage separately at the Waldorf Theatre, New York City. She succeeded Eleanor King as leading lady in Whistling in the Dark. 1930s news accounts reported that she operated a beauty parlor and directed a branch of a cosmetics manufacturer. In her later years she knew much unhappiness and struggled with the temptations of alcohol.

Deaths[edit]

Marion Fairbanks died in Georgia in the mid-1970s. Her name was then Marion Fairbanks Delph. Childless, she had no survivors. Madeline married Leonard Sherman in 1937. The union ended in divorce in 1947. She lived in New York until early 1989, where she died of respiratory failure.

References[edit]

Stageplay[edit]

Madeline[edit]

  • Happy (1928)
  • Allez-oop (1927)
  • Oh, Kay! (1926)
  • Mercenary Mary (1925)
  • Hassard Short's Ritz Revue (1924)
  • Two Little Girls in Blue (1921)
  • Ziegfeld 9 O'clock Frolic (1921)
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1919 (1919)
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 (1918)
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1917 (1917)
  • The Century Girl (1916)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1912)

Marion[edit]

  • Oh, Kay! (1926)
  • The Grab Bag (1924)
  • Two Little Girls in Blue (1921)
  • Ziegfeld 9 O'clock Frolic (1921)
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1919 (1919)
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 (1918 )
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1917 (1917)
  • The Century Girl (1916)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1912)

Filmography[edit]

Madeline[edit]

  • On with the Show! (1929)
  • The Beauty Shop (1922)
  • The Heart of a Doll (1916)
  • The Answer (1916)
  • A Bird of Prey (1916) .
  • The Burglars' Picnic (1916)
  • Bubbles in the Glass (1916)
  • An Innocent Traitor (1915)
  • The Twins of the G.L. Ranch (1915)
  • The Flying Twins (1915)
  • Which Shall It Be? (1915)
  • Through Edith's Looking Glass (1915)
  • Fairy Fern Seed (1915)
  • Their One Love (1915)
  • $1,000 Reward (1915)
  • When Fate Rebelled (1915)
  • Shadows and Sunshine (1914)
  • Shep's Race with Death (1914)
  • The Benevolence of Conductor 786 (1914)
  • In Danger's Hour (1914)
  • In Peril's Path (1914)
  • The Widow's Mite (1914)
  • The Million Dollar Mystery (1914)
  • In Her Sleep (1914)
  • Beating Back (1914)
  • The Tin Soldier and the Dolls (1914)
  • Guilty or Not Guilty (1914)
  • Twins and a Stepmother (1914)
  • Lawyer, Dog and Baby (1913)
  • Uncle's Namesakes (1913)
  • Their Great Big Beautiful Doll (1913)
  • The Children's Hour (1913)
  • The Twins and the Other Girl (1913)
  • Life's Pathway (1913)
  • An Unfair Exchange (1913)
  • The Little Girl Next Door (1912)
  • As Others See Us (1912)
  • Cousins (1912)
  • The Twins (1912)

Marion[edit]

  • On with the Show! (1929)
  • The Beauty Shop (1922)
  • The Heart of a Doll (1916)
  • The Answer (1916/II)
  • The Burglars' Picnic (1916)
  • An Innocent Traitor (1915)
  • The Baby and the Boss (1915)
  • The Twins of the G.L. Ranch (1915)
  • The Flying Twins (1915)
  • Which Shall It Be? (1915)
  • Through Edith's Looking Glass
  • Fairy Fern Seed (1915)
  • Their One Love (1915)
  • $1,000 Reward (1915)
  • When Fate Rebelled (1915)
  • A Hatful of Trouble (1914)
  • Shadows and Sunshine (1914)
  • Shep's Race with Death (1914)
  • The Benevolence of Conductor 786 (1914)
  • In Danger's Hour (1914)
  • In Peril's Path (1914)
  • The Widow's Mite (1914)
  • The Million Dollar Mystery (1914)
  • The Girl Across the Hall (1914)
  • The Legend of Snow White (1914)
  • The Tin Soldier and the Dolls (1914)
  • Twins and a Stepmother (1914)
  • Lawyer, Dog and Baby (1913)
  • Uncle's Namesakes (1913)
  • Their Great Big Beautiful Doll (1913)
  • The Children's Hour (1913)
  • The Twins and the Other Girl (1913)
  • Life's Pathway (1913)
  • An Unfair Exchange (1913)
  • The Little Girl Next Door (1912)
  • As Others See Us (1912)
  • Cousins (1912)
  • The Twins (1912)

External links[edit]