Doris Rankin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Doris in rocking chair with husband Lionel in lantern slide to The Devil's Garden (1920). May McAvoy, center, co-stars with them.

Doris Marie Rankin (August 24, 1887 – 1947)[1] was an American film actress.


Born in New York City, Rankin was the daughter of actor McKee Rankin[2] and Mabel Bert.[3] She was married to actor Lionel Barrymore from 1904–1923. Her older half-sister, Gladys Rankin, the daughter of Mabel Bert (nee Scott), and her first husband Edward G. Bert, was married to Lionel's uncle Sidney Drew. Another half-sister Phyllis Rankin was married to Harry Davenport of the Davenport theatrical family.[4]

Rankin began her career with several roles with her father's company, her best remembered part being as an Italian white slave in The White Slaver. Prior to this she performed in a number of sketches with her father and Barrymore. She and Lionel married in 1904, he was 26 and she 16. When Barrymore retired from theatrical work in 1906, Rankin did so as well. The couple lived for an extended period in Paris, France returning to the United States around 1910. Barrymore studied music and painting while he was there. Doris bore Lionel two daughters, Ethel and Mary. Both girls died in infancy. Lionel was deeply affected by the loss of his two daughters and never got over it. Most likely the girls' deaths played a part in the eventual end of Lionel and Doris's marriage.

Rankin's film debut came as Mrs. Shanks in The Copperhead (1920) with her husband. The Copperhead had been a great success for Lionel and Doris as a play on the Broadway stage. She followed this role with performances in The Devil's Garden (1920), The Great Adventure (1921), Jim the Penman (1921), and Lena Rivers (1925). She continued in motion pictures into the era of sound films. Her last credited role came in Society Smugglers (1939).

Rankin was given a divorce from Barrymore in December 1922. Barrymore married Irene Fenwick in Rome, Italy, the following June.

After divorcing Lionel, Doris married British author Malcolm Mortimer and bore him two children. The couple lived in Santa Monica. This allowed Doris to be near film studios.

In 1931 Rankin was operated on for a thyroid ailment at the Park East Hospital in New York City.

Doris Rankin died in Washington, DC in 1947. She is buried in Suitland, Maryland at Cedar Hill Cemetery under her married name Doris Mortimer.[1]



  1. ^ a b Doris Rankin Mortimer (formerly Doris Rankin Barrymore) gravesite;
  2. ^ McKee Rankin; Retrieved September 9, 2016
  3. ^ Beasley, David R. (2002). McKee Rankin and the Heyday of the American Theater. David Beasley. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  4. ^ Doris Rankin records;
  • Los Angeles Times, "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood", June 17, 1940, Page 12.
  • The New York Times, "Who Is Doris Rankin?", May 19, 1918, Page 54.
  • The New York Times, "Lionel Barrymore Divorced in 14 Days", December 22, 1922, Page 1.
  • The New York Times, "Lionel Barrymore to Marry in Rome", June 7, 1923, Page 4.
  • The New York Times, "Who's Who on the Stage", October 11, 1925, Page X3.
  • The New York Times, "Doris Rankin Out of Danger", November 4, 1931, Page 30.

External links[edit]