|Born||November 8, 1882|
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||June 6, 1966 (aged 83)|
Oxnard, California, U.S.
(m. 1915; died 1918)
(m. 1928; div. 1931)
Ethel Clayton (November 8, 1882 – June 6, 1966) was an American actress of the silent film era.
On stage, Clayton appeared mainly in musicals or musical revues such as The Ziegfeld Follies of 1911. In addition to that production, her Broadway credits include Fancy Free (1918), You're in Love (1917), Nobody Home (1915), The Red Canary (1914), The Brute (1912), and His Name on the Door (1909).
Clayton's first film was When the Earth Trembled. Following appearances on screen in short dramas from 1909 to 1912, she made her feature-length film debut in For the Love of a Girl in 1912. Barry O'Neil directed the film, and Clayton later was directed by William Demille, Robert G. Vignola, George Melford and Donald Crisp in subsequent feature films. Like many silent film actors, Clayton's career was hurt by the coming of sound to motion pictures. She continued her career in small parts in films until she retired in 1948.
In 1931, Clayton obtained a California Superior Court order enjoining her former business partner, W.L. Rucker, from disposing of 316 pearls. Clayton and Rucker agreed to purchase a cosmetics business and the pearls had been entrusted to Rucker to raise money. The deal fell through and he refused to return the jewels. Rucker admitted to possessing the pearls but claimed they had been pledged as security for a $125 loan. The pearls were valued at $20,000.
Clayton was first married to actor-director Joseph Kaufman until his death in 1918 in the Spanish flu epidemic. She later married silent film actor and former star Ian Keith twice and they divorced twice. In both cases Clayton cited cruelty and excessive drinking. Clayton and Keith were first married in Minneapolis in 1928 and first separated on January 13, 1931. 
1909 to 1914
- Justified (1909) (*short)
- Gratitude (1909) (*short)
- The Brothers (1909) (*short)
- The Twelfth Juror (1909) (*short)
- The Tout's Remembrance (1910)(*short)
- For the Love of a Girl (1912) (*short)
- A Romance of the Coast (1912) (*short)
- The Doctor's Debt (1912)
- The Last Rose of Summer (1912) (*short)
- Just Maine Folk (1912)
- An Irish Girl's Love (*short)
- The Wonderful One-Horse Shay (1912)
- The Price Demanded (1913)
- When the Earth Trembled (1913) Extant; restored 2015 by EyeMuseum, Netherlands
- The Lion and the Mouse (1914)
- The House Next Door (1914)
- The Daughters of Men (1914)
- The Fortune Hunter (1914)
- The Attorney for the Defense (*short)
- The Furnace Man (*short)
- His Soul Mate (*short)
- It All Depends (*short)
- The Millinery Man (*short)
- A Woman Went Forth (*short)
- Margie Puts One Over (*short)
- Here Comes the Bride (*short)
- The Blessed Miracle (*short)
- Monkey Business (*short)
- The Unmarried Husband (*short)
- Capturing the Cook (*short)
- Just Look at Jake (*short)
- The College Widow (*5–6 reels) – Lost
- In the Dark (*short)
- The Sporting Duchess (*short)
- The Darkness Before Dawn (*short)
- Money! Money! Money! (*short)
- When the Light Came In (*short)
- The Earl's Adventure (*short)
- A Day of Havoc (*short)
- The Deception (*short)
- It Was to Be (*short)
- The Mirror (*short)
- In Spite of Him (*short)
- The Orgy (*short)
- The Great Divide (*5 reels) Her last film produced by Lubin Manufacturing Company
- Ophelia (*short, she appears in one more short in 1926)
- Dollars and the Woman
- His Brother's Wife
- A Woman's Way
- Husband and Wife
- The Hidden Scar
- Beyond the Wall
- The New South
- Dollars and the Woman
- The Woman Beneath
- The Bondage of Fear
- The Web of Desire
- Man's Woman
- Yankee Pluck
- The Stolen Paradise (incomplete; Library of Congress)
- Souls Adrift
- The Dormant Power (*Extant; Filmmuseum Nederlands (EYE) ..)
- Easy Money
- Stolen Hours (*extant: LoC, Natl. Archives of Canada)
- The Whims of Society
- The Witch Woman (*incomplete; LoC)
- Journey's End
- The Man Hunt
- The Girl Who Came Back
- A Soul Without Windows
- Women's Weapons
- The Mystery Girl
- Maggie Pepper
- Pettigrew's Girl
- The Woman Next Door
- Men, Women, and Money
- A Sporting Chance
- More Deadly Than the Male
- The Thirteenth Commandment
- Young Mrs. Winthrop
- A Lady in Love
- The Ladder of Lies
- Crooked Streets (Survives; Library of Congress)
- A City Sparrow
- The Sins of Rosanne (Survives; Library of Congress)
- The Bar-C Mystery – Lost
- The Merry Widower (*short, last short of her career) – Survives
- Sunny Side Up – Survives
- Risky Business – Survives
- His New York Wife
1928 to 1947
- Mother Machree (1928)- Incomplete
- Hit the Deck (1930) sound debut
- The Crooked Circle (1932)
- The All American (1932)
- Secrets (1933)
- The Whispering Shadow (1933)
- Let's Fall in Love (1933)
- Easy to Take (1936)
- Rich Relations (1937)
- Souls at Sea (1937)
- The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
- You and Me (1938)
- The Sap Takes a Wrap (1939)
- New York Town (1941)
- Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942)
- Dixie (1943)
- Henry Aldrich's Little Secret (1944)
- The Blue Dahlia (1946)
- The Perils of Pauline (1947)
- "Actor world pays homage at bier of Joseph Kaufman". The Washington Times. D.C., Washington. February 8, 1918. p. 12. Retrieved November 1, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
- Lowrey, Carolyn (1920). The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen. Moffat, Yard. p. 34. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- "Ethel Clayton". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on May 25, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- The New York Times, "Sues For 316 Pearls", March 26, 1931, Page 56.
- "$125 for $20,000". Norwich Sun NY, Apr 11. 1931. p. 4.
- "Ethel Clayton Obituary (date of first marriage)". Lowell Sun, June 12. 1966. p. 8.
- "Ethel Clayton acted with Joseph Kaufman in The Great Divide". Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas, Nov 1. 1916. p. 8.
- "Joseph Kaufman obit". The Washington Times. February 8, 1918. p. 12. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
- "Ethel Clayton Divorces". Joplin News Herald, August 20. 1931.
- "The life of Ethel Clayton". Oxnard Press Courier, Mar 4. 1966.
- "Ethel Clayton Obituary". Oxnard Press Courier, June 12. 1966.
- "Ethel Clayton". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
- Clayton, Ethel (1920), Young Mrs. Winthrop, retrieved October 17, 2020
- The New York Times, "Decree To Ethel Clayton", February 27, 1932, Page 20.
- The New York Times, "Film Couple Re-Divorced", July 20, 1932, Page 20.
- The New York Times, "Ethel Clayton", June 12, 1966, Page 86.