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August 25, 1904
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||February 19, 1983 (aged 78)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Sy Bartlett (m.1933–div.1937) |
Jack Roberts (m.1941–div.1949)
White was born to French and Italian parents. Her mother was Catherine "Kate" Alexander, a chorus girl, and her father was Audley White, a paper salesman. Audley abandoned the family when she was a baby and Catherine died in 1915. Alice was raised by her maternal grandparents in Paterson, New Jersey, and she attended schools in Paterson and East Orange, New Jersey. Her grandfather owned a fruit business.
After leaving school, White became a secretary and "script girl" for director Josef von Sternberg. She also worked as a switchboard operator at the Hollywood Writers' Club. After clashing with von Sternberg, White left to work for Charlie Chaplin, who decided before long to place her in front of the camera.
Her bubbly and vivacious persona led to comparisons with Clara Bow, but White's career was slow to progress. In his book Silent Films, 1877-1996: A Critical Guide to 646 Movies, Robert K. Klepper wrote: "Some critics have said that Ms. White was a second-string Clara Bow. In actuality, Ms. White had her own type of charm, and was a delightful actress in her own, unique way. Whereas Clara Bow played the quintessential, flaming redheaded flapper, Alice White was more of a bubbly, vivacious blonde."
After playing a succession of flappers and gold diggers, she attracted the attention of director and producer Mervyn LeRoy, who saw potential in her. Her screen debut was in The Sea Tiger (1927). Her early films included Show Girl (1928), which had Vitaphone musical accompaniment but no dialog, and its musical sequel Show Girl in Hollywood (1930), both released by Warner Brothers and both based on novels by J.P. McEvoy. In these two films, White appeared as Dixie Dugan. In October 1929, McAvoy started the comic strip Dixie Dugan with the character Dixie having a "helmet" hairstyle and appearance similar to actress Louise Brooks. White also used the services of Hollywood 'beauty sculptor' Sylvia of Hollywood to stay in shape.
White was featured in The Girl from Woolworth's (1929), having the role of a singing clerk in the music department of a Woolworth's store. Karen Plunkett-Powell wrote in her book Remembering Woolworth's: A Nostalgic History of the World's Most Famous Five-and-Dime: "First National Pictures produced this 60-minute musical as a showcase for up-and-coming actress Alice White."
She left films in 1931 to improve her acting abilities, returning in 1933 only to have her career hurt by a scandal that erupted over her involvement with boyfriend actor Jack Warburton and future husband Sy Bartlett. Although she later married Bartlett, her reputation was tarnished and she appeared only in supporting roles after this, including Jimmy the Gent (1934) with James Cagney and Bette Davis. By 1937 and 1938, her name was at the bottom of the cast lists. She made her final film appearance in Flamingo Road (1949) and eventually resumed working as a secretary.
In 1933 Alice and her fiancé, American screenwriter Sidney Bartlett were accused of arranging the beating of British actor John Warburton. Alice and Warburton had a love affair that ended when he beat her so badly she required cosmetic surgery. A grand jury in Los Angeles decided not to charge Bartlett or White; however, the bad publicity hurt Alice's career.
White died of complications from a stroke on February 19, 1983, at age 78. She was buried at Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood.
|1927||The Sea Tiger||Manuella||Lost film|
|The Satin Woman||Jean Taylor Jr.|
|American Beauty||Claire O'Riley||Lost film|
|Breakfast at Sunrise||Loulou|
|The Private Life of Helen of Troy||Adraste||Incomplete|
|The Dove||Bit part||Uncredited|
|1928||Gentlemen Prefer Blondes||Dorothy Shaw||Lost film|
|Mad Hour||Aimee||Lost film|
|Lingerie||Angele Ree ('Lingerie')|
|The Big Noise||Sophie Sloval||Lost film|
|Harold Teen||Giggles Dewberry|
|Three-Ring Marriage||Trapeze Performer|
|Show Girl||Dixie Dugan|
|Naughty Baby||Rosalind McGill|
|1929||Hot Stuff||Barbara Allen|
|Broadway Babies||Delight "Dee" Foster|
|The Girl from Woolworth's||Pat King||Lost film|
|The Show of Shows||Herself|
|1930||Playing Around||Sheba Miller|
|Show Girl in Hollywood||Dixie Dugan|
|Sweethearts on Parade||Helen|
|The Widow from Chicago||Polly|
|1931||The Naughty Flirt||Katherine Constance "Kay" Elliott|
|Murder at Midnight||Esme Kennedy|
|1933||Employees' Entrance||Polly Dale|
|Luxury Liner||Milli Lensch|
|King for a Night||Evelyn|
|1934||Cross Country Cruise||May|
|Jimmy the Gent||Mabel|
|A Very Honorable Guy||Hortense|
|Gift of Gab||Margot|
|Secret of the Chateau||Didi Bonfee|
|1935||Sweet Music||Lulu Betts Malone|
|Coronado||Violet Wray Hornbostel|
|1937||Big City||Peggy Delvin|
|Telephone Operator||Dottie Stengal|
|1938||King of the Newsboys||Dolly|
|Annabel Takes a Tour||Marcella, Hotel Manicurist|
|1941||The Night of January 16th||Uncredited|
|1950||International Burlesque |
|1933||Hollywood on Parade No. A-12|
|1934||Hollywood on Parade No. B-6|
|The Hollywood Gad-About|
|1935||A Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio|
|Broadway Highlights No. 2|
- The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume incorrectly lists White's date of birth as August 28, 1907.
- Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2, pg. 1228.
- "(photo caption)". The New Movie Magazine: 38. December 1929. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- Waterbury, Ruth (December 1929). "The Girl Who Licked Hollywood". The New Movie Magazine: 39–40, 123. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- Klepper, Robert K. (1999). Silent Films, 1877-1996: A Critical Guide to 646 Movies. McFarland. p. 540. ISBN 9781476604848. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- Hollywood Undressed: Observations of Sylvia As Noted by Her Secretary (1931).
- Plunkett-Powell, Karen (2001). Remembering Woolworth's: A Nostalgic History of the World's Most Famous Five-and-Dime. Macmillan. p. 191. ISBN 9780312277048. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- "Alice White Weds". The Brownsville Herald. Texas, Brownsville. Associated Press. December 4, 1933. p. 7.
- "Alice White, 76, Flapper Movie Star in '30s". Chicago Tribune. February 27, 1983. p. 38.
- "Divorces". Billboard. April 30, 1949. p. 51. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- "Alice White". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alice White.|
- Alice White singing and dancing in a clip from Show Girl in Hollywood (from YouTube).
- James Cagney slaps Alice White in a clip from Picture Snatcher (from YouTube)
- Alice White at IMDb
- Alice White at the TCM Movie Database
- Alice White at AllMovie
- Alice White Photos & Biography
- Photographs and literature