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Olga Edna Purviance
October 21, 1895
Paradise Valley, Nevada, U.S.
|Died||January 13, 1958 (aged 62)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery|
(m. 1938; died 1945)
Olga Edna Purviance (/ /; October 21, 1895 – January 13, 1958) was an American actress of the silent film era. She was the leading lady in many of Charlie Chaplin's early films and in a span of eight years, she appeared in over 30 films with him.
Life and career
1895–1913: Early life
Purviance was born in Paradise Valley, Nevada, near Winnemucca , to English immigrant Louisa Wright Davey and American vintner to the western mining camps Madison (Matt) Gates Purviance. When she was three, the family moved to Lovelock, Nevada, east of Reno, where they assumed ownership of a hotel. Her parents divorced in 1902, and her mother later married Robert Nurnberger, a German plumber. Growing up, Purviance was a talented pianist.
She left Lovelock in 1913, and moved in with her married sister Bessie while attending business college in San Francisco.
1914–1927: Film career
In 1915, Purviance was working as a secretary in San Francisco when actor and director Charlie Chaplin was working on his second film with Essanay Studios, working out of Niles, California, 28 miles southeast of San Francisco, in Southern Alameda County. He was looking for a leading lady for A Night Out. One of his associates noticed Purviance at a Tate's Café in San Francisco and thought she should be cast in the role. Chaplin arranged a meeting with her, but he was concerned that she might be too serious for comedic roles. Purviance still won the role.
Chaplin and Purviance were romantically involved during the making of his Essanay, Mutual, and First National films of 1915 to 1917. Purviance appeared in 33 of Chaplin's productions, including the 1921 The Kid. Her last credited appearance in a Chaplin film, A Woman of Paris, was also her first leading role. The film was not a success and effectively ended Purviance's career. She appeared in two more films: Sea Gulls, also known as A Woman of the Sea (which Chaplin never released) and Éducation de Prince, a French film released in 1927. For more than 30 years afterward, she lived quietly outside Hollywood. She received a small monthly salary from Chaplin's film company for the rest of her life. "How could I forget Edna?" Chaplin responded to an interviewer after her death. "She was with me when it all began."
1927–1958: Retirement and later years
Romantically involved with Charlie Chaplin for several years, Purviance eventually married John Squire, a Pan-American Airlines pilot, in 1938. They remained married until his death in 1945.
On January 13, 1958, Purviance died from throat cancer at the Motion Picture Country Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. Her remains are interred at Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
In popular culture
All short subjects directed by Charlie Chaplin.
|1915||A Night Out||The Headwaiter's Wife|||
|1915||The Champion||Trainer's Daughter|||
|1915||In the Park||Nursemaid|||
|1915||A Jitney Elopement||Edna|||
|1915||The Tramp||Farmer's Daughter|||
|1915||By the Sea||Man in Top Hat's Sweetheart|||
|1915||A Woman||Daughter of the House|||
|1915||The Bank||Edna, a Secretary|||
|1915||Shanghaied||Daughter of the Shipowner|||
|1915||A Night in the Show||Lady in the Stalls with Beads|||
|1915||Burlesque on Carmen||Carmen|||
|1916||Police||Daughter of the House|||
|1916||The Floorwalker||Manager's secretary|||
|1916||The Fireman||The Chief's Sweetheart|||
|1916||The Vagabond||Girl Stolen by Gypsies|||
|1916||The Count||Miss Moneybags|||
|1916||Behind the Screen||The Girl|||
|1916||The Rink||The Girl|||
|1917||Easy Street||The Mission Worker|||
|1917||The Cure||The Girl|||
|1917||The Adventurer||The Girl|||
|1918||A Dog's Life||Bar Singer|
|1918||The Bond||Charlie's Wife|
|1918||Shoulder Arms||French Girl|
|1919||A Day's Pleasure||Mother|
|1921||The Idle Class||Neglected Wife|
|1922||Pay Day||Foreman's Daughter|
|1923||The Pilgrim||Miss Brown|||
|1921||The Kid||Mother||Charlie Chaplin|||
|1923||A Woman of Paris||Marie St. Clair||Charlie Chaplin|||
|1926||A Woman of the Sea||Joan||Josef von Sternberg||not released; destroyed lost film|||
|1927||Éducation de Prince||The Queen||Henri Diamant-Berger|||
|1947||Monsieur Verdoux||Garden Party Guest||Charlie Chaplin||uncredited|
|1952||Limelight||Mrs. Parker||Charlie Chaplin||uncredited|
- "Madison Gates Purviance – Edna Purviance's father". www.ednapurviance.org.
- Toll, David W. (2002). The Complete Nevada Traveler: The Affectionate and Intimately Detailed Guidebook to the Most Interesting State in America. University of Nevada Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-940936-12-7.
- Monush, Barry, ed. (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965, Volume 1. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 612. ISBN 1-55783-551-9.
- "Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance Dates and Events". www.ednapurviance.org. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
- This is not the way Purviance met Chaplin, according to Gerith von Ulm's Charlie Chaplin – King of Tragedy, pp. 90–91.
- Robinson, David (1986). Chaplin : his life and art. Collins. p. 141, 219. ISBN 978-0-586-08544-8. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
- Powrie 2005, p. 95.
- Toll, David W. (December 1994). "Edna Purviance: Nevada's Forgotten Movie Star". Nevada Magazine – via nevadaweb.com.
- "Edna Purviance". The Montreal Gazette. January 16, 1958. p. 35. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub. p. 104. ISBN 0-7864-0983-5.
- Neibaur 2012, p. 225.
- "Edna Purviance Filmography". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
- Neibaur 2012, p. 226.
- Neibaur, James L. (2012). Early Charlie Chaplin: The Artist as Apprentice at Keystone Studios. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-810-88242-3.
- Powrie, Phil (2005). Pierre Batcheff and Stardom in 1920s French Cinema. Edinburgh, Schotland: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-748-62960-2.
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