Clara Whipple

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Clara Whipple in 1908
The Prima Donna's Husband

Clara Whipple was a silent film actress from Missouri, United States, who appeared in motion pictures from 1915-1919. She was also an author.[1]

Film career[edit]

Whipple made the film The Prima Donna's Husband (1916) under the direction of William A. Brady, Julius Steger, and Joseph Golden. The screenplay was written by Edna Riley, who adapted it from a play by Wildbrandt. The crime drama was released by Triumph Films. The five-reeler also featured Kathryn Brown Decker and Holbrook Blinn.

She was the leading lady in The Reapers (1916), starring opposite John Mason. The drama exemplified the Biblical truth that, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap". The movie instructs about a high moral truth without preaching. She was cast with Willard Mack and Gerda Holmes in His One Big Chance (1916), a film directed by John Ince.

The Heart of a Hero (1916) was adapted from the Clyde Fitch play entitled Nathan Hale. Robert Warwick played the role of Hale, and Gail Kane performed the part of Alice Adams, his girlfriend. The theme of the American Revolution was made more true-to-life with the inclusion of Charles Jackson as Thomas Jefferson. Whipple depicted the "Widow Chichester".

Whipple, Decker, and Blinn teamed again to make a powerful photodrama, Would You Forgive (1919). In Pettigrew's Girl (1919), her last film, she portrays Piggy, a chorus girl friend of heroine "Daisy Heath". The leading lady was Ethel Clayton.

Marriage and divorce[edit]

On April 10, 1919, Whipple wed motion picture director James Young in Riverside, California. Whipple was highly regarded as a writer when they married. Young was formerly the husband of movie actress Clara Kimball Young. Whipple retired from the screen after marrying Young. She returned to movies as Clara Young in 1920, despite objections by Clara Kimball Young concerning the use of the Young name.

Whipple separated from Young in June 1920 and divorced him in October 1921. The couple had a home at 2000 Holly Drive, Los Angeles, California. Young settled money and real estate amounting to $40,000 on Whipple.

In September 1922 Young sought to reverse the annulment with a cross-complaint filed by his attorneys. Depositions mentioned misconduct by Whipple with other men. Jack Pickford, Thomas J. Moore, Texas Guinan, and Doris Pawn were named in Young's preliminary moves. On October 12, 1922, a day before Whipple became entitled to her divorce decree, Young filed a $50,000 slander suit against her. The legal action came in response to Whipple's accusations that Young threatened her, pointed guns at her, and offered her $2,000 to return his Ku Klux Klan membership paper and bundles of correspondence he had received from women.

Whipple became seriously ill of auto-intoxication in December 1922.


Adelbert George Volck, who worked in the film industry, rented Whipple's Holly Drive home. She brought a suit against Volck in September 1923, charging him with damaging household furnishings, in particular her tapestries and draperies. The court had to decide whether the tapestries and draperies were imported, and therefore valuable, as Whipple contended.

Whipple filed suit for the collection of a promissory note from motion picture producer Dale Hanshaw in October 1925. She asked for $566.50, the same amount she claimed to have advanced Hanshaw, in various sums, around June 18, 1923. At the time of the court action, Hanshaw had made only a single payment of $50. He had given Whipple a radio as security, which she sold, and applied the proceeds to the payment of the note. $56 of the amount Whipple requested was for interest.


  1. ^ Source?[citation needed]
  • "At The Theatres". La Crosse Tribune and Leader-Press. October 14, 1919. p. 4. 
  • "News Notes From Movieland". Lima Times Democrat. April 19, 1916. p. 4. 
  • "Flashes, Clara Young In Films". Los Angeles Times. December 14, 1920. p. III4. 
  • "Second..Wife..Divorces..Young". Los Angeles Times. October 12, 1921. p. II1. 
  • "Screen Stars Named In Suit". Los Angeles Times. September 18, 1922. p. II1. 
  • "Young To Seek Damages". Los Angeles Times. October 12, 1922. p. II1. 
  • "Court to Say If Tapestries Are Imported". Los Angeles Times. September 19, 1923. p. II12. 
  • "Beauty Sues to Collect Note of Film Producer". Los Angeles Times. October 21, 1925. p. A15. 
  • "Gossip of Movie-Land". Mansfield News. November 11, 1916. p. 8. 
  • "Mr. Steger's Picture". New York Times. May 21, 1916. p. X8. 
  • "Theatrical Notes". New York Times. June 7, 1916. p. 11. 
  • "Amusement Section". Oakland Tribune. December 10, 1922. p. 64. 
  • "Palace". Olean Evening Herald. May 24, 1919. p. 4. 
  • "News Notes From Movieland". Racine Journal-News. May 13, 1916. p. 12. 
  • "This Week's Guide For Playgoers". Washington Post. November 5, 1916. p. MT2.