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Philbin in 1922
|Born||Mary L. Philbin
July 16, 1902
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||May 7, 1993
Huntington Beach, California, U.S.
Mary Philbin (July 16, 1902 – May 7, 1993) was a notable film actress of the silent film era, who is best known for playing the roles of Christine Daaé in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera opposite screen legend Lon Chaney and Dea in The Man Who Laughs. Both roles cast her as the beauty in Beauty and the Beast-type stories.
Born in Chicago, Illinois into a middle-class Irish American Catholic family, she began her acting career after winning a beauty contest sponsored by Universal Pictures. Her father John Philbin was born in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, Ireland.
Mary Philbin made her screen debut in 1921 and during the 1920s she became a highly successful film actress and starred in a number of high profile films, most notably in D. W. Griffith's 1928 film Drums of Love.
In 1922 Philbin was awarded at the first annual WAMPAS Baby Stars awards, a promotional campaign sponsored by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers in the United States, which honored thirteen young women each year whom they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom.
Like so many publicly acclaimed silent film actors and actresses however, Philbin was unable to continue a successful acting career during the talkie era of the late 1920s-early 1930s.
Philbin played a few parts during the early talkie era and most notably dubbed her own voice when The Phantom of the Opera was given sound and rereleased.
Philbin retired from the screen in the early 1930s and devoted her life to caring for her aging parents. She was engaged in 1927 to Universal Studio executive, Paul Kohner; but due to her parents dissuasion from the union (as she was Catholic and he was a staunch Czech Jew), she called off the engagement; in 1935 another engagement to a young police officer named David McCarrison was also called off.
Philbin remained single for the rest of her life, and rarely made public appearances. One rare public appearance by Philbin occurred in her later years at the Los Angeles opening of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera.
|1921||The Blazing Trail||Talithy Millicuddy|
|Danger Ahead||Tressie Harloow|
|Twelve Hours to Live||–||Short film|
|Red Courage||Eliza Fay|
|1922||Foolish Wives||Crippled girl||uncredited|
|The Trouper||Mary Lee|
|His First Job||–|
|Once to Every Boy||–|
|1923||Penrod and Sam||Margaret Schofield|
|Where Is This West?||Sallie Summers|
|The Age of Desire||Margy (Age 18)|
|The Temple of Venus||Moira|
|The Thrill Chaser||Cameo appearance|
|1924||Fools' Highway||Mamie Rose|
|The Gaiety Girl||Irene Tudor|
|The Rose of Paris||Mitsi|
|1925||Fifth Avenue Models||Isoel Ludant|
|The Phantom of the Opera||Christine Daaé|
|Stella Maris||Stella Maris/Unity Blake|
|The Last Performance||Julie|
|Love Me and the World Is Mine||Hannerl|
|1928||Drums of Love||Princess Emanuella|
|The Man Who Laughs||Dea|
|1929||Port of Dreams||Joan|
|The Shannons of Broadway||Tessie Swanzey|
|After the Fog||Faith Barker|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mary Philbin.|
- Mary Philbin at the Internet Movie Database
- Mary Philbin at Golden Silents
- Mary Philbin at Find a Grave
- Photographs and literature