Mary Murillo

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Born Mary O'Connor (born 22 January 1888, Bradford, England – died 4 February 1944 Ickenham, England)[1] was an actress and screenwriter.

Mary Murillo was born Mary O'Connor to Roman Catholic parents, Edward, an Irish commercial traveller, and Sarah Mary (née Sunter). She was the eldest of four sisters and was educated at St Monica's, Skipton, Yorkshire, and at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Roehampton. She adopted the professional name Mary Murillo after being compared in looks to a Murillo painting of the Madonna. In February 1909 she made her debut in the chorus of the Broadway musical comedy Havana. She toured the United States, finding only small parts until 1913, when she started sending scenarios to film companies. Her first script to be accepted was bought by the husband-and-wife team of Phillips Smalley and Lois Weber. Other commissions followed, and the first film known to be credited to her is A Strand of Blond Hair (1914), a Vitagraph comedy short starring John Bunny and Flora Finch.[2]

She wrote five melodramas for Theda Bara during the 1910s popularity of vamp films. She also wrote for Bara's Fox rival Valeska Suratt. Murillo served as screenwriter for Fox Film from 1916–1917, then joining Norman Talmadge Productions in 1919. She returned to the UK in 1923 to work for Stoll Film Studios. She wrote the script for the hit French sound film Accusée, levez-vous! (1930).[3] In 1936 she formed the company Opticolor to market in Britain a French motion picture colour system, Francita, developed by her husband Maurice Velle, son of French film pioneer Gaston Velle, but the business failed after a disastrous demonstration of the system.[4] She later worked for J. Arthur Rank, 1st Baron Rank's Religious Films Ltd.

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