Adams in 1918
24 September 1898|
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Died||25 September 1978
|Spouse(s)||Benjamin B. Hampton (1924-1932) (his death)
Donald John Scobie Mackinnon (1932-1974) (his death)
She was born on 24 September 1898 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as the daughter of Stanley Wells Adams, a Welsh-born accountant, and his Canadian wife, Lillian Adams (née Kennedy). Educated in Canada and England, Her parents divorced when Adams was a child, but the family was reunited two decades later when Adams and her mother went to live with Adams' father and her stepmother.
Adams worked briefly as a nurse with the Red Cross during World War I. (An article published in The Salina Evening Journal 25 December 1920 says, "During the war she became a nurse in a Detroit hospital, training for the Red Cross, but at the end of a year her health was broken down and she was sent home.)
In 1920 Adams signed a five-year contract with Benjamin Bowles Hampton, a Hollywood producer and her future husband. She later moved to California where she acted in more than 40 silent films, including melodramas, comedies and westerns.
Described as "patricianly beautiful," Adams worked with many of Hollywood's leading actors, including Adolphe Menjou, Tom Mix, Wallace Beery, and Lon Chaney. In 1923 she was Rin Tin Tin's leading lady in Where the North Begins, which was a huge success and is often credited with saving Warner Bros. from bankruptcy. She later maintained that Rin Tin Tin was her "favourite leading man."
Her best-known film was The Big Parade, the second largest grossing silent film in cinematic history. It was directed by King Vidor and Adams starred alongside John Gilbert. Perhaps her most memorable role came in 1920 as Barbara, the artist who helps humanize the crippled crime boss played by Lon Chaney in The Penalty.
Adams married film producer Benjamin B. Hampton in Hollywood on 18 September 1924. They had no children. He died in 1932 leaving her very wealthy. Later that year Adams met Scobie Mackinnon, the second son of L.K.S. Mackinnon, at a party in London and three weeks later they married on 1 April in Mayfair. They remained childless.
After a protracted honeymoon, in March 1938, Mackinnon brought Adams to Victoria, Australia. The couple divided their time between Mooramong, a Western District grazing property, and their Melbourne townhouse at 220 Domain Road South Yarra. They entertained often at Mooramong, which they transformed from a staid Victorian homestead into a Jazz Age showpiece. On their frequent trips to Melbourne to attend the races and innumerable cocktail parties, they travelled in their Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Adorned in smart hats and chic outfits, and often graced with diamonds, Adams was an exotic figure at Government House functions and at the race course.
On his death in 1974, Scobie Mackinnon's estate was left entirely to Adams; it was worth A$2,111,729. She died on 25 September 1978, in Windsor, Victoria and was cremated. After generous bequests to family, friends, and animal welfare bodies, she left the remainder of her estates to the National Trust of Victoria for the creation of a wildlife sanctuary and fauna and flora park at Mooramong.
Adams died on 25 September 1978 in Melbourne, Australia. She was 80 years old.
|1934||What a Mother-in-Law!||Frances|
|Married Alive||Viola Helmesley Duxbury|
|1926||The Sea Wolf||Maud Brewster|
|Yellow Fingers||Nona Deering|
|1925||The Big Parade||Justyn Reed|
|The Wheel||Kate O'Hara|
|Souls for Sables||Helen Ralston||Uncredited|
|The Kiss Barrier||Marion Weston|
|Men and Women||Agnes Prescott|
|The Devil's Cargo||Martha Joyce|
|1924||The Brass Bowl||Sylvia|
|The Fast Set||Fay Colleen|
|The Painted Flapper||Eunice Whitney|
|Helen's Babies||Helen Lawrence|
|Oh, You Tony!||Betty Faine|
|Honor Among Men||Patricia Carson|
|The Girl in the Limousine||The Girl|
|Missing Daughters||Claire Mathers|
|The Night Hawk||Clia Milton|
|1923||The Clean-Up||Phyllis Andrews|
|Legally Dead||Minnie O'Reilly|
|Where the North Begins||Felice McTavish|
|Stepping Fast||Helen Durant|
|Brass Commandments||Ellen Bosworth|
|The Scarlet Car||Beatrice Forbes|
|1922||Do and Dare||Juanita Sánchez|
|Heart's Haven||Vivian Breed|
|Just Tony||Marianne Jordan|
|Golden Dreams||Mercedes McDonald|
|When Romance Rides||Lucy Bostil|
|The Gray Dawn||Nan Bennett|
|1921||The Mysterious Rider||Columbine|
|Man of the Forest||Helen Raynor|
|A Certain Rich Man||Molly Culpepper|
|The Lure of Egypt||Margaret Lampton|
|The Killer||Ruth Emory|
|The Spenders||Avice Milbrey|
|1920||The Dwelling Place of Light||Janet Butler|
|Riders of the Dawn||Lenore Anderson|
|The White Dove||Ella De Fries||Credited as Clare Adams|
|The Key to Power||Ann Blair|
|The Money Changers||Lucy Hegan|
|The Great Lover||Ethel|
|1919||The Invisible Bond||Leila Templeton||Also known as Should a Wife Forgive? (USA)|
|A Misfit Earl||Phyllis Burton|
|Speedy Meade||Alice Hall|
|The End of the Road||Mary Lee|
|1918||The Spirit of the Red Cross||Ethel|
|Adam and Some Eves|
|The Man-Eater||Credited as Peggy Adams|
|Faint Heart and Fair Lady|
|Your Obedient Servant|
|Chris and His Wonderful Lamp||Betty|
|1913||The Widow's Suitors||Credited as Clara Adams|
|Boy Wanted||As Clara Adams|
|A Shower of Slippers||As Clara Adams|
|Aunt Elsa's Visit||As Clara Adams|
|The Office Boy's Birthday||As Clara Adams|
|Bragg's New Suit||As Clara Adams|
|1912||Kitty at Boarding School|
|Revenge Is Sweet||As Clara Adams|
|The Artist's Joke||As Clara Adams|
|An Intelligent Camera|
|Apple Pies||As Clara Adams|
|Eddie's Exploit||As Clara Adams|
|Curing the Office Boy||As Clara Adams|
|A Heroic Rescue||As Clara Adams|
- Katchmer, George A. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. p. 2. ISBN 9781476609058. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
- "Actress Plays Reuniting Role". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. July 7, 1932. p. 1. Retrieved September 3, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Among the Movie Stars". The Salina Evening Journal. Kansas, Salina. December 25, 1920. p. 14. Retrieved September 3, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Souls for Sables Cast Information
- Photoplay Dec,1924
- Film Index, No 3, 1970, p. 12
- Social History Report on Morramong, Skipton by D. Hellier (1989). National Trust of Australia, Victoria branch.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Claire Adams.|
- Guide to the Claire Adams Photographs. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.