Eleanor Boardman

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Eleanor Boardman
Silent film actress Eleanor Boardman (SAYRE 8327).jpg
Boardman in 1923
Olive Eleanor Boardman

(1898-08-19)August 19, 1898
DiedDecember 12, 1991(1991-12-12) (aged 93)
Other namesEleanor Vidor
Eleanor d'Arrast
Years active1922–1935
(m. 1926; div. 1933)

(m. 1940; died 1968)

Olive Eleanor Boardman (August 19, 1898 – December 12, 1991) was an American film actress of the silent era.

Early life and career[edit]

Olive Eleanor Boardman was born on August 19, 1898, the youngest child to George W. Boardman and Janice Merriam "Jennie" Stockman Boardman. She had two older sisters named Merriam and Esther.[1][2] In 1920, she was working as a contractor.[3]

Educated in Philadelphia,[4] Boardman originally acted on stage, but she lost her voice while starring in The National Anthem. She then entered a nationwide contest for new actors and actresses for silent films. She was chosen from among 1,000 competitors by Goldwyn Pictures as their "New Face of 1922". Her initial screen test was unsuccessful, but a second test resulted in a contract.[5] After several successful supporting roles, she played the lead in Souls for Sale in 1923. That same year, Boardman's growing popularity was reflected by her inclusion on the list of WAMPAS Baby Stars.

Eleanor Boardman cover art from June 1926 issue of Picture-Play Magazine

She appeared in more than 30 films during her career, achieving her greatest success in director King Vidor's The Crowd (1928). Her performance in that film is widely recognized as one of the outstanding performances in American silent film. In 1932, after some success in sound films, she parted ways with MGM. Her final film was The Three Cornered Hat, which was made in Spain in 1935. After that production, she retired from acting and retreated from Hollywood. Her only subsequent appearance was in an interview filmed for Kevin Brownlow and David Gill's British documentary series Hollywood (1980).

Personal life[edit]

Boardman was married to film director King Vidor,[5]: 111  with whom she had two daughters, Antonia and Belinda. They married in 1926 and were divorced on April 11, 1933.[6] Fellow actors John Gilbert and Greta Garbo had allegedly planned a double wedding with them, but Garbo broke the plans at the last minute.[5]: 111 

On May 23, 1929, a federal grand jury returned an indictment that charged Boardman with evading income tax payments in 1925, 1926, and 1927. Simultaneously, an information filed in federal court accused Vidor of income tax evasion in 1925 and 1926. J. Marjorie Berger, an income tax counselor in Hollywood, had earlier been indicted on charges of preparing a false income tax return for the couple for 1925.[7]

Boardman's second husband was Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast,[8] to whom she was married from 1940. She divided her time between the United States and their chateau in the Pyrenees Mountains. After her husband's death in 1968, she permanently relocated back to the United States, where she settled into Montecito, California, living in a house she designed.


Boardman died in her sleep at her Santa Barbara, California, home on December 12, 1991, at the age of 93.[9] Her ashes were scattered in Santa Barbara near her home.


For her contributions to the film industry, Boardman has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her star is located at 6928 Hollywood Boulevard.[10]


Boardman depicted in Picture Play magazine, 1923
Year Title Role Notes
1922 The Strangers' Banquet Jean McPherson
1923 Gimme Clothilde Kingsley Lost film
Vanity Fair Amelia Sedley Lost film
Souls for Sale Miss Remember Steddon
Three Wise Fools Rena Fairchild / Sydney Fairfield
The Day of Faith Jane Maynard Lost film
1924 True as Steel Ethel Parry Incomplete film
Wine of Youth Mary Hollister
Sinners in Silk Penelope Stevens Lost film
The Turmoil Mary Vertrees
The Silent Accuser Barbara Jane Lost film
So This Is Marriage? Beth Marsh Lost film
The Wife of the Centaur Joan Converse Lost film
1925 The Way of a Girl Rosamond
Proud Flesh Fernanda
The Circle Elizabeth Cheney
Exchange of Wives Margaret Rathburn
The Only Thing Thyra, Princess of Svendborg
The Auction Block Lorelei Knight Lost film
1926 Memory Lane Mary
Bardelys the Magnificent Roxalanne de Lavedan
Tell It to the Marines Nurse Norma Dale
1928 The Crowd Mary
Diamond Handcuffs Tillie
1929 She Goes to War Joan
1930 Mamba Helen von Linden
Redemption Lisa
1931 The Great Meadow Diony Hall
The Flood Joan Marshall
Women Love Once Helen Fields
The Squaw Man Lady Diana Kerhill
1935 The Three Cornered Hat The Miller's Wife


  1. ^ https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6061/images/4384847_01155?pid=89236460&backurl=http://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/89236460:6061&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true[user-generated source]
  2. ^ https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7884/images/4449777_00389?pid=105043603&backurl=http://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/105043603:7884&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true[user-generated source]
  3. ^ https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6061/images/4384847_01155?pid=89236460&backurl=http://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/89236460:6061&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true[user-generated source]
  4. ^ "Eleanor Boardman born in Philly". Reading Times. Pennsylvania, Reading. March 14, 1928. p. 10. Retrieved February 27, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ a b c Fleming, E. J. (2009). Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the MGM Director and Husband of Harlow. McFarland. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7864-5274-3. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  6. ^ Parsons, Louella (September 28, 1933). "Eleanor Vidor betrothed". Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. Universal Service. p. 2. Retrieved February 27, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Evasion of Taxes Charged Actress". The Salt Lake Telegram. Utah, Salt Lake City. Associated Press. May 23, 1929. p. 1. Retrieved February 27, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Eleanor Boardman Weds". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 1, 1940. p. 17. ProQuest 105396656. Retrieved November 12, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  9. ^ "Eleanor Boardman: Actress, 93". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 17, 1991. p. D 21. ProQuest 108678734. Retrieved November 12, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  10. ^ Hollywood Walk of Fame - Eleanor Boardman

External links[edit]