Billie Dove

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Billie Dove
Billie Dove The Blue Book of the Screen.jpg
Publicity photo of Dove from The Blue Book of the Screen (1923)
Born Bertha Bohny
(1903-05-14)May 14, 1903[1]
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died December 31, 1997(1997-12-31) (aged 94)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Other names Lillian Bohny
Occupation Actress
Years active 1921-1932 (brief reappearance in 1962)
Spouse(s) Irvin Willat
(m.1923-1929; divorced)
Robert Kenaston
(m.1933-1970; his death); 2 children
John Miller
(m.1973-19??)

Billie Dove (May 14, 1903 – December 31, 1997) was an American actress.[2][3]

Early life and career[edit]

Dove was born Bertha Bohny in 1903 to Charles and Bertha (née Kagl) Bohny, Swiss immigrants. As a teen, she worked as a model to help support her family and was hired as a teenager by Florenz Ziegfeld to appear in his Ziegfeld Follies Revue. She legally changed her name to Lillian Bohny in the early 1920s and moved to Hollywood, where she began appearing in silent films. She soon became one of the most popular actresses of the 1920s, appearing in Douglas Fairbanks' smash hit Technicolor film The Black Pirate (1926), as Rodeo West in The Painted Angel (1929), and was dubbed The American Beauty (1927), the title of one of her films.

She married the director of her seventh film, Irvin Willat, in 1923. The two divorced in 1929. Dove had a huge legion of male fans, one of her most persistent being Howard Hughes. She had a three-year romance with Hughes and was engaged to marry him, but she ended the relationship without ever giving cause. Hughes cast her as a comedian in his film Cock of the Air (1932). She also appeared in his movie The Age for Love (1931).

Other interests[edit]

She was also a pilot, poet, and painter.[4]

Early retirement[edit]

Following her last film Blondie of the Follies (1932), Dove retired from the screen to be with her family. She next married wealthy oil executive Robert Alan Kenaston in 1933, a marriage that lasted for 37 years until his death in 1970. The couple had a son, Robert Alan Kenaston, Jr., who married actress Claire Kelly in 1961-1963 and died in 1995 from cancer, and an adopted daughter, Gail. She later had a brief third marriage to architect John Miller, which ended in divorce in the 1970s.

Last years/death[edit]

Aside from a brief cameo in Diamond Head (1963), Dove never returned to the movies. She spent her retirement years in Rancho Mirage before moving into the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California where she died of pneumonia in 1997, aged 94.[5]

She is interred in the Freedom Mausoleum, at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Legacy[edit]

Dove has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6351 Hollywood Blvd. Jazz singer Billie Holiday took her professional pseudonym from Dove as an admirer of the actress.[6]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Note
1921 Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford Dorothy Wells Presumed lost
At the Stage Door Mary Mathews Presumed lost
1922 Polly of the Follies Alysia Potter Presumed lost
Beyond the Rainbow Marion Taylor
Youth to Youth Eve Allison Presumed lost
One Week of Love Bathing Party Guest Uncredited
1923 All the Brothers Were Valiant Priscilla Holt Incomplete ; Filmmuseum Nederlands
Madness of Youth Nanette Benning Presumed lost
Soft Boiled The Girl
The Lone Star Ranger Helen Longstreth Presumed lost
The Thrill Chaser Olala Ussan Extant; UCLA Film and TV, four out of five reels
1924 On Time Helen Hendon Presumed lost
Try and Get It Rhoda Perrin Presumed lost
Yankee Madness Dolores Presumed lost
Wanderer of the Wasteland Ruth Virey Lost
The Roughneck Felicity Arden Presumed lost
The Folly of Vanity Alice
1925 The Air Mail Alice Rendon Incomplete at Library of Congress
The Light of Western Stars Madeleine Hammond Lost
Wild Horse Mesa Sue Melberne
The Lucky Horseshoe Eleanor Hunt Presumed lost
The Fighting Heart Doris Anderson Lost
The Ancient Highway Antoinette St. Ives Lost
1926 The Black Pirate Princess Isobel
The Lone Wolf Returns Marcia Mayfair
The Marriage Clause Sylvia Jordan Incomplete at Library of Congress
Kid Boots Eleanore Belmore
1927 An Affair of the Follies Tamara Lost
Sensation Seekers Luena "Egypt" Hagen
The Tender Hour Marcia Kane
The Stolen Bride Sari
The American Beauty Millicent Howard Lost
The Love Mart Antoinette Frobelle Lost
1928 The Heart of a Follies Girl Teddy O'Day Presumed Lost
Yellow Lily Judith Peredy
Night Watch Yvonne Corlaix
Adoration Elena
1929 Careers Hélène Gromaire Lost
The Man and the Moment Joan Winslow
Her Private Life Lady Helen Haden Lost
The Painted Angel Mammie Hudler Lost; Vitaphone track survives
1930 The Other Tomorrow Edith Larrison Lost
A Notorious Affair Patricia Hanley
Sweethearts and Wives Femme de Chambre
One Night at Susie's Mary Martin
1931 The Lady Who Dared Margaret Townsend
The Age for Love Jean Hurt Lost
1932 Cock of the Air Lili de Rosseau
Blondie of the Follies Lottie
1962 Diamond Head Herself Cameo role

References[edit]

  1. ^ Other sources including the California registry of births and deaths cite 1900 or 1901 as her year of birth, although the 1910 census supports 1903 as her year of birth, as does her entry in the New York City Birth Registry.
  2. ^ Drew, William M. Billie Dove profile, The Lady in the Main Title: On the Twenties and Thirties. Vestal Press, 1997.
  3. ^ Wagner, Bruce. "Moving Pictures", Annals of Hollywood, The New Yorker. July 20, 1998, p. 54.
  4. ^ Obituary, New York Times, January 6, 1998.
  5. ^ "Billie Dove (1903–1997)", Goldensilents.com. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  6. ^ Kliment, Bud. Billie Holiday. Holloway House Publishing, 1990, p. 29. ISBN 978-0-87067-561-4.

External links[edit]