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Publicity photo of Mackaill from Stars of the Photoplay, 1924
March 4, 1903|
Sculcoates, Hull, Yorkshire, England
August 12, 1990 (aged 87)|
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
|Education||Thoresby Primary School|
|Years active||1920–1937; 1976–1980|
Born in Sculcoates, Kingston upon Hull in 1903 (although she later would claim 1904 or 1905 as her year of birth, including on her petition for naturalization as a United States citizen, giving 1904 as the year), Mackaill lived with her father after her parents separated when she was around eleven years old. She attended Thoresby Primary School. As a teenager, Mackaill ran away to London to pursue a stage career as an actress.
After temporarily relocating to Paris,[when?] she met a Broadway stage choreographer who persuaded her to move to New York City[when?] where she became involved in the Ziegfeld Follies and befriended future motion picture actresses Marion Davies and Nita Naldi.
By 1920, Mackaill had begun making the transition from "Follies Girl" to film actress. That same year she appeared in her first film, a Wilfred Noy-directed mystery, The Face at the Window. Mackaill also appeared in several comedies of 1920 opposite actor Johnny Hines. In 1921 she appeared opposite Anna May Wong, Noah Beery and Lon Chaney in the Marshall Neilan-directed drama Bits of Life. In the following years, Mackaill would appear opposite such popular actors as Richard Barthelmess, Rod La Rocque, Colleen Moore, John Barrymore, George O'Brien, Bebe Daniels, Milton Sills and Anna Q. Nilsson.
In 1924, Mackaill rose to leading-lady status in the drama The Man Who Came Back, opposite rugged matinee idol George O'Brien. Her role of the nightclub chanteuse Marcelle catapulted Mackaill into a genuine Hollywood star, and her career continued to flourish throughout the remainder of the 1920s. In early 1924 she starred in the western film The Mine with the Iron Door, shot on location outside of Tucson, Arizona. That same year the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers in the United States presented Mackaill one of its WAMPAS Baby Stars awards, which each year honored thirteen young women who the association believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom. Other notable recipients of the award in 1924 were Clara Bow, Julanne Johnston and Lucille Ricksen.
Later career and retirement
Mackaill made a smooth transition to sound with the part-talkie The Barker (1928) and had success in talkies for the next couple of years. In September 1928, First National Pictures was acquired by Warner Bros., and her contract with First National was not renewed upon its expiration in 1931. Perhaps her most memorable role of this era was the 1932 Columbia Pictures B film release Love Affair with a young Humphrey Bogart as her leading man. She made several films for MGM, Paramount and Columbia before retiring in 1937 to care for her aging mother.
In 1955, Mackaill moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. She had fallen in love with the islands while filming His Captive Woman in 1929. Mackaill lived at the luxurious Royal Hawaiian Hotel on the beach at Waikiki as a sort of celebrity-in-residence and enjoyed swimming in the ocean nearly every day.
On November 4, 1931, she married radio singer Neil Albert Miller. They divorced in February 1934. Her third and final marriage was to horticulturist Harold Patterson in June 1947. She filed for divorce in December 1948. Mackaill had no children.
Naturalization as United States citizen
Mackaill resided in Honolulu, Hawaii, during the last 35 years of her life. She died there of liver failure in her room at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on August 12, 1990. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered at sea off Waikiki Beach.
|1920||The Face at the Window|
|1920||Torchy's Millions||Short film|
|1921||Torchy's Promotion||Short film|
|1921||Bits of Life||Lost film|
|1921||The Lotus Eater||Uncredited|
|1922||Isle of Doubt||Eleanor Warburton|
|1922||A Woman's Woman||Sally Plummer|
|1922||The Streets of New York||Sally Ann|
|1922||The Inner Man||Sally|
|1923||Mighty Lak' a Rose||Rose Duncan||Lost film|
|1923||The Broken Violin||Constance Morley|
|1923||The Fighting Blade||Thomsine Musgrove|
|1923||The Fair Cheat||Camilla|
|1923||His Children's Children||Sheila|
|1924||The Next Corner||Elsie Maury||Lost film|
|1924||What Shall I Do?||Jeanie Andrews|
|1924||The Man Who Came Back||Marcelle|
|1924||The Painted Lady||Violet|
|1924||The Mine with the Iron Door||Marta Hillgrove|
|1925||The Bridge of Sighs||Linda Harper||Lost film|
|1925||One Year to Live||Marthe||Lost film|
|1925||The Making of O'Malley||Lucille Thayer||Lost film|
|1925||Shore Leave||Connie Martin|
|1925||Joanna||Joanna Manners||Lost film|
|1925||The Dancer of Paris||Consuelo Cox||Lost film|
|1926||Ranson's Folly||Mary Cahill|
|1926||Subway Sadie||Sadie Hermann||Lost film|
|1926||Just Another Blonde||Jeanne Cavanaugh||Alternative title: The Girl from Coney Island|
|1927||The Lunatic at Large||Beatrix Staynes||Lost film|
|1927||Convoy||Sylvia Dodge||Lost film|
|1927||Smile, Brother, Smile||Mildred Marvin||Lost film|
|1927||The Crystal Cup||Gita Carteret||Lost film|
|1927||Man Crazy||Clarissa Janeway||Lost film|
|1928||Ladies' Night in a Turkish Bath||Helen Slocum|
|1928||Lady Be Good||Mary||Lost film|
|1928||The Whip||Lady Diana|
|1928||Waterfront||Peggy Ann Andrews|
|1929||His Captive Woman||Anna Janssen|
|1929||Children of the Ritz||Angela Pennington||Lost film|
|1929||Two Weeks Off||Kitty Weaver||Lost film|
|1929||Hard to Get||Bobby Martin||Lost film|
Alternative title: Classified
|1929||The Great Divide||Ruth Jordan|
|1929||The Love Racket||Betty Brown||Lost film|
|1930||Strictly Modern||Kate||Lost film|
|1930||The Flirting Widow||Celia|
|1930||The Office Wife||Anne Murdock|
|1930||Bright Lights||Louanne||Alternative title: Adventures in Africa|
|1931||Once a Sinner||Diana Barry|
|1931||Kept Husbands||Dorothea "Dot" Parker Brunton|
|1931||Their Mad Moment||Emily Stanley||Alternative title: Basquerie|
|1931||The Reckless Hour||Margaret "Margie" Nichols|
|1931||Safe in Hell||Gilda Carlson - aka Gilda Erickson|
|1932||Love Affair||Carol Owen|
|1932||No Man of Her Own||Kay Everly|
|1933||Neighbors' Wives||Helen McGrath|
|1933||Curtain at Eight||Lola Cresmer||Alternative title: Backstage Mystery|
|1933||The Chief||Dixie Dean|
|1934||Picture Brides||Mame Smith|
|1937||Bulldog Drummond at Bay||Doris Thompson|
|1953||Studio One in Hollywood||Episode: "The Magic Lantern"|
|1976-1980||Hawaii Five-O||Various roles||2 episodes|
- Dorothy Mackaill birth registration (2nd Quarter (April-May-June), 1903, England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915; accessed May 19, 2018.
- Dorothy Mackaill entry, 1911 England Census, search.ancestrylibrary.com; accessed May 19, 2018.
- Slide, Anthony (2010). Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0813137454. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
- Shackleton, Kay. "Dorothy Mackaill". silenthollywood.com.
- Anderson, Chuck. "WAMPAS Baby Stars". www.b-westerns.com.
- "Deaths". USA Today. August 14, 1990. p. 2A.
- Los Angeles Times, August 15, 1990
- Honolulu Advertiser, May 11, 2008.
- "Dorothy Mackaill". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "Star Takes Time Off To Be Married". The Border Cities Star. November 18, 1926. p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Divorce For Movie Actress". Reading Eagle. August 3, 1928. p. 4. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Dorothy Mackaill Wed; Screen Star and Radio Singer Married in Arizona". The New York Times. November 4, 1931.
- "Nagging Charge Wins Divorce". The Southeast Missourian. February 17, 1934. p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Orchid Beau Wins Dorothy Mackaill". Milwaukee Sentinel. March 3, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Miss Mackaill Marries Was Former Actress". The Hartford Courant. June 14, 1947. p. 3.
- "Fight to Unseat Taft Planned". Los Angeles Times. December 31, 1948. p. 4.
- "Ancestry Library Edition". ancestrylibrary.com. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Ancestry Library Edition". ancestrylibrary.com. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- Obituary, The New York Times, August 16, 1990; retrieved January 22, 2018.
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