Dorothy Davenport

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Dorothy Davenport
Dorothy Davenport 2.jpg
Dorothy Davenport Reid in 1923
Born (1895-03-13)March 13, 1895
Boston, Massachusetts
Died October 12, 1977(1977-10-12) (aged 82)
Los Angeles
Years active 1910–1956
Spouse(s) Wallace Reid
(married 1913–1923)
Parent(s) Harry Davenport (1866–1949)
Alice Shepard (1864–1936)

Dorothy Davenport (March 13, 1895 – October 12, 1977) was an American actress, screenwriter, film director, and producer who appeared in silent film for Biograph Studios under the direction of D.W. Griffith.

Early career[edit]

Dorothy Davenport in 1916

Dorothy Davenport's family was well known in the theater. Her grandparents were Edward Loomis Davenport and Fanny Vining Davenport who were 19th-century character actors; their daughter and Dorothy's aunt, Fanny Davenport, was considered one of the great actresses of the time. Her father, Harry Davenport, was a Broadway star. With her background on the stage, she was in her early teens when she started playing bit parts in the fledgling film industry.

By the time she was 17, Davenport was a star at Universal. She was a horsewoman of distinction, and did many of her own stunts in films. While with Universal, she met a young actor named Wallace Reid; they married on October 13, 1913.

Davenport and Reid continued to work together as he directed and starred with her in two films per week for the next year. When Reid left Universal, Davenport also left films, only to return in 1916.

Later career[edit]

Dorothy Davenport Reid, Wallace Reid, Jr., and Wallace Reid (1920)

While filming on location in Oregon for The Valley of the Giants (1919), Wallace Reid was injured in a train wreck. As a remedy for the pain from this injury, studio doctors administered large doses of morphine to Reid to which he became addicted. Reid's health slowly grew worse over the next few years, and he died of the addiction in 1923. After Reid's death, Davenport and Thomas Ince co-produced the film Human Wreckage (1923) with James Kirkwood, Sr., Bessie Love and Lucille Ricksen, a film that dealt with the dangers of narcotics addiction.

Davenport took Human Wreckage on a roadshow engagement, followed up with another "social conscience" picture about excessive mother-love called Broken Laws in 1924, again billed as "Mrs. Wallace Reid" to capitalize on her husband's notorious death. She then produced The Red Kimona (1925) about white slavery. On screen she opens the film in 'silent' narration or prologue. The subject of the latter "true story" film were so obvious that Davenport was successfully sued by the woman it was based on.

She later directed Linda (1929), Sucker Money (1933), Road to Ruin (1934), and The Woman Condemned (1934), and worked as a producer, writer, and dialogue director. Among her last credits are co-author of the screenplay for Footsteps in the Fog (1955), and as dialogue director for The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) with Ginger Rogers.

Wallace Reid and she had two children. She was married to him until his death on January 18, 1923. She never remarried.

Dorothy Davenport died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in 1977 in Woodland Hills, California. She is interred with her husband in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.

Select filmography[edit]

Dorothy Davenport (left) in The Best Man Wins (1911)
Wallace Reid and Davenport on the set of His Only Son (1912)
Davenport and Lester Cuneo inThe Masked Avenger (1922)
Davenport on the set of Human Wreckage (1923)
Poster for The Red Kimono (1925)
Year Title Role Notes
1910 Troublesome Baby, TheThe Troublesome Baby Cast member [1]
1911 Best Man Wins, TheThe Best Man Wins Cast member [2]
1912 His Only Son Cast member [3]
1915 Explorer, TheThe Explorer Lucy Allerton [1]
1915 Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo Grand Duchess Feodora [1]
1915 Unknown, TheThe Unknown Nancy Preston [1]
1916 Yoke of Gold, AA Yoke of Gold Carmen [1]
1916 Devil's Bondwoman, TheThe Devil's Bondwoman Beverly Hope [1]
1916 Barriers of Society Martha Gorham [1]
1916 Doctor Neighbor Hazel Rogers [1]
1916 Unattainable, TheThe Unattainable Bessie Gale [1]
1916 Black Friday Elinor Rossitor [1]
1916 Way of the World, TheThe Way of the World Beatrice Farley [1]
1917 Squaw Man's Son, TheThe Squaw Man's Son Edith, Lady Effington [1]
1917 Girl and the Crisis, TheThe Girl and the Crisis Ellen Wilmot [1]
1917 Mothers of Men Clara Madison [1]
1917 Scarlet Crystal, TheThe Scarlet Crystal Marie Delys [1]
1917 Treason Luella Brysk [1]
1920 Fighting Chance, TheThe Fighting Chance Leila Mortimer [1]
1921 Every Woman's Problem Clara Madison [1]
1922 Masked Avenger, TheThe Masked Avenger Valerie Putnam as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1923 Human Wreckage Ethel MacFarland as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1924 Broken Laws Joan Allen as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1925 Red Kimono, TheThe Red Kimono Herself Prologue, as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1926 Earth Woman, TheThe Earth Woman Producer, as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1927 Satin Woman, TheThe Satin Woman Mrs. Jean Taylor as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1928 Hell Ship Bronson Mrs. Bronson as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1929 Linda Director, as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1926 Dude Wrangler, TheThe Dude Wrangler Producer, as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1932 Racing Strain, TheThe Racing Strain Writer (story), as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1933 Man Hunt Mrs. Scott as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1933 Sucker Money Co-director, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1934 Road to Ruin, TheThe Road to Ruin Mrs. Merrill Also director and writer (story), as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1934 Woman Condemned, TheThe Woman Condemned Director, as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1935 Honeymoon, Limited Producer and screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1935 Two Sinners Story supervisor, as Mrs. Wallace Reid[1]
1935 Women Must Dress Writer (story and screenplay), as Dorothy Reid[1]
1936 House of a Thousand Candles, TheThe House of a Thousand Candles Producer, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1937 Paradise Isle Producer, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1937 Bride for Henry, AA Bride for Henry Producer, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1938 Prison Break Screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1938 Rose of the Rio Grande Producer, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1940 Old Swimmin' Hole, TheThe Old Swimmin' Hole Screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1947 Curley Screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1948 Who Killed Doc Robbin Screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1949 Impact Screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1951 Rhubarb Screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1952 It Grows on Trees Dialogue coach, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1954 Francis Covers the Big Town Dialogue director, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1955 Footsteps in the Fog Screenwriter, as Dorothy Reid[1]
1956 First Traveling Saleslady, TheThe First Traveling Saleslady Dialogue supervisor, as Dorothy Reid[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw "Dorothy Davenport". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  2. ^ "Thomas Ricketts, Pioneer of Movies". The New York Times. January 21, 1939. Retrieved 2016-02-12. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Mark Lynn (September 27, 2013). "Dorothy Davenport Reid". Women Film Pioneers Project. Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, Columbia University Libraries. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 

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