Virginia Pearson

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Virginia Pearson
Virginiapearson.jpg
Pearson (c. 1918)
Born Virginia Belle Pearson
(1886-03-07)March 7, 1886
Anchorage, Kentucky
Died June 6, 1958(1958-06-06) (aged 72)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Occupation Actress
Years active 1910-1932
Spouse(s) Sheldon Lewis

Virginia Belle Pearson (March 7, 1886 – June 6, 1958) was an American stage and film actress. She made fifty-one films in a career which extended from 1910 until 1932.

Career[edit]

Born in Anchorage, Kentucky, Pearson worked for a brief time as an assistant in the public library in Louisville, Kentucky after completing school. Pearson trained in the tradition of the stars of the American stage, and played in stock productions in Washington, D.C. and New York City. In New York she played the heroine in Hypocrisy, a story which laid bare "the shame of society." She was promoted by William Fox of Fox Film Corporation for the same kind of strong vamp parts as those played by Theda Bara. Among her movies is Blazing Love (1916), Wildness of Youth (1922), The Vital Question (1916), Sister Against Sister (1917), The Red Kimona (1925), Wizard of Oz (1925), and The Phantom of the Opera (1925).

In 1916 Pearson and her husband, movie actor Sheldon Lewis, severed their ties with the Virginia Pearson Producing Company. The couple affiliated themselves with the Independent Productions Company, capitalized at $1,000,000. In 1924 the couple were forced to declare bankruptcy. In 1928, Pearson was legally divorced from Lewis. At the time, it was considered bad box office for screen actresses to be married. However the two remained constant companions., and resided for many years at the old Hollywood Hotel. Later they lived at the Motion Picture Country Home.

Death[edit]

Virginia Pearson died of uremic poisoning in Hollywood on June 6, 1958 nearly a month to the day after Sheldon Lewis. She was 72. Funeral services were held at the Pierce Brothers Hollywood Chapel. She was buried with an unmarked grave in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1910 On Her Doorsteps
1914 The Stain Stevens' daughter
1915 The Turn of the Road Marcia Wilbur
1916 Thou Art the Man Emily Raynor
1917 Thou Shalt Not Steal Mary Bruce
1918 The Firebrand Princess Natalya
1919 The Bishop's Emeralds Hester, Lady Cardew
1922 Wildness of Youth Louise Wesley
1923 A Prince of a King Queen Claudia
1925 Wizard of Oz Lady Vishuss
1925 The Phantom of the Opera Virginia Pearson as Carlotta/Carlotta's mother (1930 redux)
1926 Atta Boy Madame Carlton
1927 Driven from Home
1928 The Big City Tennessee
1929 Smilin' Guns Mrs. van Smythe
1931 The Primrose Path
1932 Back Street Bit part Uncredited

References[edit]

  • Los Angeles Times, "Silent Screen's Star Virginia Pearson Dies", June 10, 1958, Page B1.
  • Mansfield, Ohio News, "Virginia Quits Her Firm", August 19, 1916, Page 15.
  • New York Times, "Virginia Pearson Dies", June 10, 1958, Page 33.
  • Reno Evening Gazette, "Stage People On Reno Screen", Saturday, August 5, 1916, Supplement Pages 7 and 10.
  • Rothwell-Smith, Paul. Silent Films! the Performers (2011) ISBN 9781907540325

External links[edit]