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Florence Lawrence

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Florence Lawrence
Lawrence in 1908
Florence Annie Bridgwood

(1886-01-02)2 January 1886
Died28 December 1938(1938-12-28) (aged 52)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Other namesThe Biograph Girl
The Imp Girl
Known for
(m. 1908; died 1920)
Charles Woodring
(m. 1921; div. 1932)
Henry Bolton
(m. 1933; div. 1934)

Florence Lawrence (born Florence Annie Bridgwood; January 2, 1886 – December 28, 1938) was a Canadian-American stage performer and film actress. She is often referred to as the "first movie star", and was long thought to be the first film actor to be named publicly[1] until evidence published in 2019 indicated that the first named film star was French actor Max Linder.[2] At the height of her fame in the 1910s, she was known as the "Biograph Girl" for work as one of the leading ladies in silent films from the Biograph Company. She appeared in almost 300 films for various motion picture companies throughout her career.

Early life


Born Florence Annie Bridgwood in Hamilton, Ontario, she was youngest of three children of George Bridgwood, an English-born carriage builder and Charlotte "Lotta" Bridgwood (née Dunn), a vaudeville actress.[3] Charlotte Bridgwood had emigrated to Canada from Ireland after the Great Famine with her family as a child.[4] She was known professionally as Lotta Lawrence and was the leading lady and director of the Lawrence Dramatic Company.[3] At the age of three, Lawrence made her debut onstage with her mother in a song and dance routine. When she was old enough to memorize lines of dialogue, she performed with her mother and other members of the Lawrence Dramatic Company in dramatic plays. After performing tear-jerking dramas like Dora Thorne and East Lynne began to depress Lawrence, her mother dropped them from the company's repertoire. While Lawrence performed on stage at the behest of her mother, she recalled that she enjoyed the work but did not like the traveling that all vaudeville performers were required to do.[5] By the age of six, Lawrence had earned the nickname "Baby Flo, the Child Wonder".[6]

On February 18, 1898, George Bridgwood died from accidental coal gas poisoning at his home in Hamilton (Lawrence's parents had been separated since she was four years old). Lotta Lawrence moved the family from Hamilton to Buffalo, New York to live with her mother Ann Dunn. She chose to stop bringing her children along for stage performances and for the first time, Florence was enrolled in school.[4] After graduating, Lawrence rejoined her mother's dramatic company. However, her mother disbanded the Lawrence Dramatic Company shortly thereafter; the two moved to New York City around 1906.[7]

Early career: film and stage

Portrait of Lawrence by Frank C. Bangs Studio, c. 1908

Lawrence was one of several Canadian pioneers in the film industry who were attracted by the rapid growth of the fledgling motion picture business. In 1906, she appeared in her first motion picture. The next year, she appeared in 38 movies for the Vitagraph film company. During the spring and summer of 1906, Lawrence auditioned for a number of Broadway productions, but she did not have success. However, on December 27, 1906, she was hired by the Edison Manufacturing Company to play Daniel Boone's daughter in Daniel Boone; or, Pioneer Days in America. She got the part because she knew how to ride a horse. Both she and her mother received parts and were paid five dollars per day for two weeks of outdoor filming in freezing weather.

In 1907, she went to work for the Vitagraph Company in Brooklyn, New York, acting as Moya, an Irish peasant girl in a one-reel version of Dion Boucicault's The Shaughraun. She returned briefly to stage acting, playing the leading role in a road show production of Melville B. Raymond's Seminary Girls. Her mother played her last role in this production. After touring with the roadshow for a year, Lawrence resolved that she would "never again lead that gypsy life". In 1908, she returned to Vitagraph where she played the lead role in The Dispatch Bearer. Largely as a result of her equestrian skills, she received parts in 11 films in the next five months.

Biograph Studios

Florence Lawrence in Ingomar, the Barbarian (1908)

Also at Vitagraph was a young actor, Harry Solter, who was looking for "a young, beautiful equestrian girl" to star in a film to be produced by the Biograph Studios under the direction of D. W. Griffith. Griffith, the most prominent producer-director at Biograph Studios, had noticed the beautiful blonde-haired woman in one of Vitagraph's films. Because the film's actors received no mention, Griffith had to make discreet inquiries to learn she was Florence Lawrence and to arrange a meeting. Griffith had intended to give the part to Florence Turner, Biograph's leading lady, but Lawrence managed to convince Solter and Griffith that she was the best suited for the starring role in The Girl and the Outlaw. With the Vitagraph Company, she had been earning $20 per week, working also as a costume seamstress over and above acting. Griffith offered her a job, acting only, for $25 per week.

Florence Lawrence, Harry Solter and Mack Sennett in The Slave (1909)

After her success in this role, she appeared as a society belle in Betrayed by a Handprint and as an Indian in The Red Girl. In total, she had parts in most of the 60 films directed by Griffith in 1908. Toward the end of 1908, Lawrence married Harry Solter. Lawrence gained much popularity, but because her name never was publicized, fans began writing to the studio asking to know her identity. Even after she had gained wide recognition, particularly after starring in the comedy series Mr. and Mrs. Jones and the highly successful Resurrection, Biograph Studios refused to publicly announce her name and fans simply called her the "Biograph Girl".[8] During cinema's formative years, silent screen actors were not named because studio owners feared that fame might lead to demands for higher wages and because many actors were embarrassed to be performing pantomime in motion pictures. She continued to work for Biograph in 1909. Her demand to be paid by the week rather than daily was met, and she received double the normal rate.

Arthur V. Johnson and Florence Lawrence in Resurrection (1909)

She achieved great popularity in the "Jones" series, film's first comedy series, in which she played Mrs. Jones in around a dozen films, with John R. Cumpson as Mr. Jones. More popular still were the dramatic love stories in which she co-starred with Arthur Johnson: The two played husband and wife in The Ingrate, and the adulterous lovers in Resurrection. Lawrence and Solter began to look elsewhere for work, writing to the Essanay Company to offer their services as leading lady and director. Rather than accepting this offer, however, Essanay reported the offer to Biograph's head office, and they promptly were fired.[citation needed]

Independent Moving Pictures Company

Carl Laemmle's promotion of The Broken Oath starring Lawrence (Billboard 1910)

Finding themselves 'at liberty', Lawrence and Solter in 1909 were able to join the Independent Moving Pictures Company of America (IMP). The company, founded by Carl Laemmle, the owner of a film exchange (who later absorbed IMP into Universal Pictures, of which he was founder and president), was looking for experienced filmmakers and actors. Needing a star, he lured Lawrence away from Biograph by promising to give her a marquee. First, Laemmle organized a publicity stunt by starting a rumor that Lawrence had been killed by a street car in New York City. Then, after gaining much media attention, he placed ads in the newspapers that announced "We nail a lie" and included a photo of Lawrence. The ad declared she is alive and well and making The Broken Oath, a new movie for his IMP Film Company to be directed by Solter.

Laemmle had Lawrence make a personal appearance in St. Louis, Missouri in March 1910 with her leading man to show her fans that she was very much alive, making her one of the early performers not already famous in another medium to be identified by name by her studio.[9]

The fans in St. Louis were so thrilled to see Lawrence alive that they grabbed at her and popped the buttons off her coat. Laemmle used this to generate further attention by falsely claiming that Lawrence's St. Louis fans rushed her in a frenzy and tore her clothes off. Partially due to Laemmle's ingenuity, the "star system" was born, and before long, Florence Lawrence became a household name. However, her fame also proved that the studio executives who had concerns over wage demands soon had their fears proved correct. Laemmle managed to lure William V. Ranous, one of Vitagraph's better directors, over to IMP. Ranous introduced Laemmle to Lawrence and Solter, and they began to work together. Lawrence and Solter worked for IMP for 11 months, making 50 films. After this, they went on vacation in Europe.[citation needed]

When they returned to the United States, they joined a film company headed by Siegmund Lubin, described as the "wisest and most democratic film producer in history". She once again teamed with Arthur Johnson, and the pair made 48 films together under Lubin's direction. At the time, the film industry was controlled by the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC), a trust formed by the major film companies. IMP was not a member of the MPPC, and hence operated outside its distribution system. Theaters found showing IMP films lost the right to screen MPPC films. IMP, therefore, had powerful enemies in the film industry. It managed to survive largely due to Lawrence's popularity.[citation needed]

Lubin Studios


By late 1910, Lawrence left IMP to work for Lubin Studios, advising her fellow Canadian, the 18-year-old Mary Pickford, to take her place as IMP's star.[8]

Victor Film Company

Scene of Lawrence (far right) in 1912 Victor production After All; other cast are (from left) Owen Moore, Victory Bateman on step, and Gladden James.

In 1912, Lawrence and Solter made a deal with Carl Laemmle, forming their own company. Laemmle gave them complete artistic freedom in the company, named Victor Film Company, and paid Lawrence $500 per week as the leading lady, and Solter $200 per week as director. They established a film studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey and made a number of films starring Lawrence and Owen Moore, then sold to Universal Pictures in 1913. With this new prosperity, Florence was able to realize a 'lifelong dream,' buying a 50-acre (20 ha) estate in River Vale, New Jersey.[10][11] In August 1912, she had a fight with her husband, in which he "made cruel remarks about his mother-in-law". He left and went to Europe. However, he wrote "sad" letters to her every day, telling her of his plans to commit suicide. His letters "softened her feelings", and they were re-united in November 1912. Lawrence announced her intention to retire.

Owen Moore talks to Florence Lawrence in the silent drama, The Redemption of Riverton (1912)

She was persuaded to return to work in 1914 for her company (Victor Film Company), which had been acquired by Universal Studios. During the filming of Pawns of Destiny in 1915, a staged fire got out of control. Lawrence was burned, her hair was singed, and she suffered a serious fall which fractured her spine.[6] She went into shock for months. She returned to work, but collapsed after the film was completed. To add to her problems, Universal refused to pay her medical expenses, leaving Lawrence feeling betrayed. In mid-1916, she returned to work for Universal and completed Elusive Isabel. However, the strain of working took its toll on her, and she suffered a serious relapse. She was completely paralyzed for four months. In 1921, she traveled to Hollywood to attempt a comeback, but had little success. She received a leading role in a minor melodrama (The Unfoldment), and then two supporting roles. All her film work after 1924 was in uncredited bit parts.

Automotive inventions


Besides her film career, Lawrence is credited with designing the first "auto signaling arm", a predecessor of the modern turn signal, along with the first mechanical brake signal. She did not patent these inventions, however, and as a result she received no credit for, nor profit from, either one.[12][13]

Personal life

Florence Lawrence, silent film actress (1914)

Lawrence was married three times and had no children. Her first marriage was to actor, screenwriter and director Harry Solter in 1908. They remained married until Solter's death in 1920.[14] She then married automobile salesman Charles Byrne Woodring in 1921.[15] They separated in 1929; Lawrence was granted an interlocutory divorce in February 1931, which was finalized the following year.[14][16][17] During the 1920s, Lawrence and Woodring opened a cosmetics store in Los Angeles called Hollywood Cosmetics. The store sold theatrical makeup and also sold a line of cosmetics that Lawrence developed. They continued their partnership after their separation in 1929, but the store was forced to close in 1931.[17][18]

In 1933, Lawrence wed for the third and final time, to Henry Bolton, who turned out to be an abusive alcoholic and beat her severely.[14] The union lasted five months.[15]

Later years


By the late 1920s, Lawrence's popularity had declined and she suffered several personal losses. She was devastated when her mother, to whom she was close, died suddenly in August 1929. Four months later, she separated from her second husband, Charles Woodring.[17] While Lawrence earned a small fortune during her film career, she made many poor business decisions. She lost much of her fortune after the stock market crash in October 1929 and ensuing Great Depression. The cosmetics store that she and her second husband opened in Los Angeles also lost business because of the Depression, and the couple was forced to close its doors in 1931.

By the early 1930s, Lawrence's acting career consisted solely of extra and bit parts which were often uncredited. In 1936, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio head Louis B. Mayer began giving extra and bit parts to former silent film actors for $75 per week.[19] Lawrence, along with other "old timers" from the silent era whose careers had all but ended when sound films replaced silent films, signed with M-G-M. Lawrence remained with the studio until her death.[20]

In mid-1937, Lawrence was diagnosed with what her doctor described as "a bone disease which produces anemia and depression."[20] The disease was likely myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disease, or agnogenic myeloid metaplasia, both of which were incurable at the time. Due to her poor health and chronic pain, Lawrence became depressed but attempted to keep working. Around this time she moved into a home on Westbourne Drive in West Hollywood, with a studio worker named Robert "Bob" Brinlow and his sister.[21]



At 1 p.m. on December 28, 1938, Lawrence phoned the offices of M-G-M where she was to report to work that afternoon, claiming that she was ill. Sometime later in the afternoon, Lawrence ingested ant poison and cough syrup[22] at her home in West Hollywood. Accounts differ as to how Lawrence was discovered; some media reports stated her neighbor Marian Menzer heard her screams, while others say that Lawrence called Menzer stating that she poisoned herself. Menzer called an ambulance, and Lawrence was rushed to Beverly Hills Emergency Hospital. Doctors were unable to save Lawrence, who died at 2:45 p.m.[23] Lawrence left a suicide note in her home addressed to her housemate Bob Brinlow stating:

Dear Bob,

Call Dr. Wilson. I am tired. Hope this works. Good bye, my darling. They can't cure me, so let it go at that.
Lovingly, Florence – P.S. You've all been swell guys. Everything is yours.[24]
Lawrence's gravestone, Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Lawrence's death was ruled a "probable suicide" owing to her "ill health".[23] The Motion Picture & Television Fund paid for Lawrence's funeral, held on December 30, and for her unmarked grave in the Hollywood Cemetery (now Hollywood Forever Cemetery) in Hollywood. Her grave remained unmarked until 1991, when an anonymous British actor paid for a memorial marker for her.[23][25][A] It reads: "The Biograph Girl/The First Movie Star".[23] The date of birth on Lawrence's headstone is given as 1890.[27] This inaccuracy was also stated on her death certificate filled out by the coroner. Lawrence's biographer, Kelly R. Brown, owed this mistake to "Lawrence's own brand of fiction" as she routinely subtracted years off her age. The mistake was repeated by the Pierce Brothers Mortuary, where Lawrence's funeral was held, although most obituaries printed her correct year of birth: 1886.[23]

Cultural references


In William J. Mann's novel The Biograph Girl (2000), Mann blends the facts of Lawrence's life with fiction. Instead of fading into oblivion and committing suicide, Lawrence, with the help of a doctor, fools the public into thinking she committed suicide. A journalist discovers Lawrence at the nursing home where she has lived secretly, and he decides to write a biography of her.[28]



Short subject

Year Title Role Notes
1906 The Automobile Thieves Female accomplice
1907 Daniel Boone Boones' daughter
1907 The Boy, the Bust and the Bath
1907 Athletic American Girls Lost film
1907 Bargain Fiend; or, Shopping à la Mode [it] Lost film
1907 The Shaughraun [cs; it] Moya Lost film
1907 The Mill Girl [cs; it]
1907 The Despatch Bearer; or, Through the Enemy's Lines [cs; it] Lost film
1908 Cupid's Realm; or, A Game of Hearts [it] Lost film
1908 Macbeth Banquet Guest Lost film
1908 Romeo and Juliet Juliet Lost film
1908 Lady Jane's Flight Lady Jane Lost film
1908 The Viking's Daughter: The Story of the Ancient Norsemen Theckla, the Viking's Daughter Lost film
1908 Love Laughs at Locksmiths; an 18th Century Romance Lost film
1908 The Bandit's Waterloo Lost film
1908 Salome Salome Lost film
1908 Betrayed by a Handprint Myrtle Vane
1908 The Girl and the Outlaw Woman Lost film
1908 Behind the Scenes Mrs. Bailey Lost film
1908 The Red Girl The Red Girl Lost film
1908 The Heart of O'Yama O'Yama Lost film
1908 Where the Breakers Roar At the Beach
1908 A Smoked Husband Mrs. Bibbs Lost film
1908 Richard III Lost film
1908 The Stolen Jewels Mrs. Jenkins Lost film
1908 The Devil A Model
1908 The Zulu's Heart The Boer's Wife
1908 Father Gets in the Game First Couple
1908 Ingomar, the Barbarian Parthenia Lost film
1908 The Vaquero's Vow Wedding Party / In Bar Lost film
1908 The Planter's Wife Tomboy Nellie
1908 Romance of a Jewess Ruth Simonson
1908 The Call of the Wild Gladys Penrose
1908 Concealing a Burglar Mrs. Brown Lost film
1908 Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra
1908 After Many Years Mrs. John Davis
1908 The Pirate's Gold Lost film
1908 The Taming of the Shrew Katharina
1908 The Song of the Shirt Working Woman – 1st Sister Incomplete film
1908 A Woman's Way Lost film
1908 The Ingrate The Trapper's Wife Lost film
1908 An Awful Moment Mrs. Mowbray
1908 The Clubman and the Tramp Bridget / Dinner Guest Lost film
1908 Julius Caesar Calpurnia Lost film
1908 Money Mad Bank Customer / Landlady
1908 The Valet's Wife Nurse
1908 The Feud and the Turkey Nellie Caufield's Sister Lost film
1908 The Reckoning The Wife Lost film
1908 The Test of Friendship Jennie Colman Lost film
1908 The Dancer and the King: A Romantic Story of Spain Lost film
1908 The Christmas Burglars Mrs. Martin Lost film
1908 Mr. Jones at the Ball Mrs. Jones
1908 The Helping Hand At Brothel / Wedding Guest Lost film
1908 A Calamitous Elopement
1909 One Touch of Nature Mrs. John Murray Lost film
1909 Mrs. Jones Entertains Mrs. Jones Lost film
1909 The Honor of Thieves Rachel Einstein Lost film
1909 The Sacrifice Mrs. Hardluck Lost film
1909 Those Boys! The Maid Lost film
1909 The Criminal Hypnotist The Maid Lost film
1909 The Fascinating Mrs. Francis Visitor Lost film
1909 Mr. Jones Has a Card Party Mrs. Jones
1909 Those Awful Hats Theatre Audience Uncredited
1909 The Cord of Life Woman in Tenement
1909 The Girls and Daddy Dr. Payson's First Daughter
1909 The Brahma Diamond The Guard's Sweetheart Lost film
1909 A Wreath in Time Mrs. John Goodhusband
1909 Tragic Love The Maid / In Factory Lost film
1909 The Curtain Pole Mrs. Edwards
1909 His Ward's Love The Reverend's Ward Lost film
1909 The Joneses Have Amateur Theatricals Mrs. Jones
1909 The Politician's Love Story
1909 The Golden Louis
1909 At the Altar Girl at Wedding
1909 Saul and David [it] Lost film
1909 The Prussian Spy The Maid Lost film
1909 His Wife's Mother Mrs. Jones Lost film
1909 A Fool's Revenge Lost film
1909 The Wooden Leg Claire Lost film
1909 The Roue's Heart Noblewoman Lost film
1909 The Salvation Army Lass Mary Wilson
1909 The Lure of the Gown Veronica
1909 I Did It Lost film
1909 The Deception Mabel Colton Lost film
1909 And a Little Child Shall Lead Them
1909 The Medicine Bottle Mrs. Ross
1909 Jones and His New Neighbors Mrs. Jones
1909 A Drunkard's Reformation Woman In the Play
1909 Trying to Get Arrested The Nanny
1909 The Road to the Heart Miguel's daughter
1909 Schneider's Anti-Noise Crusade Mrs. Schneider
1909 The Winning Coat [fr; it; pt] Lady-in-Waiting Lost film
1909 A Sound Sleeper Second Woman Lost film
1909 Confidence Nellie Burton
1909 Lady Helen's Escapade Lady Helen
1909 A Troublesome Satchel In Crowd Lost film
1909 The Drive for Life Mignon Lost film
1909 Lucky Jim Wedding Guest
1909 Tis an Ill Wind that Blows No Good Mary Flinn
1909 The Eavesdropper Lost film
1909 The Note in the Shoe Ella Berling Lost film
1909 One Busy Hour Customer Lost film
1909 The French Duel Nurse Lost film
1909 Jones and the Lady Book Agent Mrs. Jones
1909 A Baby's Shoe The Poor Mother
1909 The Jilt Mary Allison – Frank's Sister Lost film
1909 Resurrection Katucha
1909 The Judgment of Solomon Lost film
1909 Two Memories Party Guest Lost film
1909 Eloping with Auntie Margie Lost film
1909 What Drink Did Mrs. Alfred Lucas
1909 Eradicating Aunty Flora – Aunty's Ward Lost film
1909 The Lonely Villa Lost film
1909 Her First Biscuits Mrs. Jones
1909 The Peachbasket Hat Mrs. Jones
1909 The Way of Man Mabel Jarrett
1909 The Necklace
1909 The Country Doctor Mrs. Harcourt Lost film
1909 The Cardinal's Conspiracy Princess Angela
1909 Tender Hearts Minor role
1909 Sweet and Twenty Alice's Sister
1909 Jealousy and the Man Mrs. Jim Brooks Lost film
1909 The Slave Nerada
1909 The Mended Lute Rising Moon
1909 Mr. Jones' Burglar Mrs. Jones
1909 Mrs. Jones' Lover Mrs. Jones Lost film
1909 The Hessian Renegades
1909 Lines of White on a Sullen Sea
1909 Love's Stratagem The Girl Lost film
1909 Nursing a Viper
1909 The Forest Ranger's Daughter The Forest Ranger's Daughter Lost film
1909 Her Generous Way Lost film
1909 Lest We Forget Lost film
1909 The Awakening of Bess Bess Lost film
1909 Mrs. Jones Entertains Mrs. Jones Lost film
1909 The Awakening Lost film
1910 The Right of Love Lost film
1910 The Tide of Fortune Lost film
1910 Never Again Mrs. Henpecker, Temperance Crusader Lost film
1910 The Coquette's Suitors Lost film
1910 Justice in the Far North Lost film
1910 The Blind Man's Tact Lost film
1910 Jane and the Stranger Jane Lost film
1910 The Governor's Pardon Lost film
1910 The New Minister Lost film
1910 Mother Love The Mother Lost film
1910 The Broken Oath Lost film
1910 The Time-Lock Safe The Mother
1910 His Sick Friend The Wife Lost film
1910 The Stage Note Lost film
1910 Transfusion Lost film
1910 The Miser's Daughter The Miser's Daughter Lost film
1910 His Second Wife Lost film
1910 The Rosary Lost film
1910 The Maelstrom
1910 The New Shawl Marie Lost film
1910 Two Men The Orphan Lost film
1910 The Doctor's Perfidy Lost film
1910 The Eternal Triangle The Wife Lost film
1910 The Nichols on Vacation Mrs. Nichols Lost film
1910 A Reno Romance Grace Lost film
1910 A Discontented Woman Lost film
1910 A Self-Made Hero The Girl Lost film
1910 A Game for Two Mrs. Henderson Lost film
1910 The Call of the Circus Lost film
1910 Old Heads and Young Hearts Lost film
1910 Bear Ye One Another's Burden Mrs. George Rand Lost film
1910 The Irony of Fate Lost film
1910 Once Upon a Time Lost film
1910 Among the Roses The Rose Girl Lost film
1910 The Senator's Double Lost film
1910 The Taming of Jane Jane Lost film
1910 The Widow The Widow Lost film
1910 The Right Girl Lost film
1910 Debt Lost film
1910 Pressed Roses Lost film
1910 All the World's a Stage Lost film
1910 The Count of Montebello The Heiress Lost film
1910 The Call Lost film
1910 The Mistake Lost film
1911 His Bogus Uncle The Object of Their Affection Lost film
1911 Age Versus Youth Nora Blake Lost film
1911 A Show Girl's Stratagem Ethel Lane Lost film
1911 The Test Miss Gillman Lost film
1911 Nan's Diplomacy Nan Lost film
1911 Vanity and Its Cure Effie Hart Lost film
1911 His Friend, the Burglar Mrs. Tom Dayton – The Wife Lost film
1911 The Actress and the Singer The Actress Lost film
1911 Her Artistic Temperament Flo Lost film
1911 Her Child's Honor The Mother Lost film
1911 The Wife's Awakening The Wife Lost film
1911 Opportunity and the Man Flora Hamilton Lost film
1911 The Two Fathers Gladys Lost film
1911 The Hoyden Gladys Weston Lost film
1911 The Sheriff and the Man Lost film
1911 A Fascinating Bachelor The Nurse Lost film
1911 That Awful Brother Florence Lost film
1911 Her Humble Ministry The Reformed Woman Lost film
1911 A Good Turn Lost film
1911 The State Line The Sheriff's Daughter Lost film
1911 A Game of Deception The Actress Lost film
1911 The Professor's Ward Edith – The Professor's Ward Lost film
1911 Duke De Ribbon Counter Lillian De Mille Lost film
1911 Higgenses Versus Judsons Freda Judson Lost film
1911 The Little Rebel Rosalind Trevaine Lost film
1911 Always a Way Ruth Craven Lost film
1911 The Snare of Society Mary Williams Lost film
1911 During Cherry Time Violet – the Country Girl Lost film
1911 The Gypsy Zara – the Gypsy Lost film
1911 Her Two Sons The Younger Brother's Wife Lost film
1911 Through Jealous Eyes Flo – the Doctor's Office Nurse Lost film
1911 A Rebellious Blossom Flo = the Rebellious Daughter Lost film
1911 The Secret Diana Stanhope Lost film
1911 Romance of Pond Cove Florence Earle Lost film
1911 The Story of Rosie's Rose Rosie Carter Lost film
1911 The Life Saver Jessie Storm – the Local Girl Lost film
1911 The Matchmaker Evelyn Bruce – the Young Governess Lost film
1911 The Slavey's Affinity Peggy – a Boarding House Drudge Lost film
1911 The Maniac Dora Elsmore Lost film
1911 A Rural Conqueror Marjorie Thorne Lost film
1911 One on Reno Mrs. Appleby Lost film
1911 Aunt Jane's Legacy Bessie Elkins – the Niece Lost film
1911 His Chorus Girl Wife Sybil Sanford – a Chorus Girl Lost film
1911 A Blind Deception Ellen Austin – the Nurse Lost film
1911 A Head for Business Phyllis Moore Lost film
1911 A Girlish Impulse Gladys Stevens Lost film
1911 Art Versus Music Ethel Vernon Lost film
1911 The American Girl Lost film
1912 A Village Romance Flo – the Country Girl Lost film
1912 The Players Flo Lakewood Lost film
1912 Not Like Other Girls Flo Lost film
1912 Taking a Chance Mrs. Flo Mills Lost film
1912 The Mill Buyers Flo Lost film
1912 The Chance Shot Flo Lost film
1912 Her Cousin Fred Flo Ballard Lost film
1912 The Winning Punch Nellie Wilson Lost film
1912 After All Margie Lost film
1912 All for Love Flo Lost film
1912 Flo's Discipline Florence Dow
1912 The Advent of Jane Dr. Jane Bixby Lost film
1912 Tangled Relations Florence the Governess Lost film
1912 Betty's Nightmare Betty Lost film
1912 The Cross-Roads Annabel Spaulding
1912 The Angel of the Studio Roxie Lost film
1912 The Redemption of Riverton June Martin Lost film
1912 Sisters Annie / Mary (twin sisters) Lost film
1912 The Lady Leone Lady Leone Mervyn Lost film
1912 A Surgeon's Heroism Lost film
1913 The Closed Door Florence Ashleigh Lost film
1913 The Girl o'the Woods Mab Hawkins Lost film
1913 The Spender Flo Lost film
1913 His Wife's Child Flo Lost film
1913 Unto the Third Generation Esther Stern Lost film
1913 The Influence of Sympathy The Wife Lost film
1913 A Girl and Her Money Florence Kingsley Lost film
1913 Suffragette's Parade in Washington Lost film
1913 The Counterfeiter
1914 The Coryphee Florence Lost film
1914 The Romance of a Photograph Flo Lost film
1914 The False Bride Florence Gould & Amy St. Clair (Dual Role) Lost film
1914 The Law's Decree Flo Lost film
1914 The Stepmother Flo Lost film
1914 The Honeymooners Florence Blair Lost film
1914 Diplomatic Flo Flo Lost film
1914 The Little Mail Carrier Flo – the Little Mail Carrier Lost film
1914 The Pawns of Destiny Flo Lost film
1914 The Bribe Lost film
1914 A Disenchantment Flo – the Maid Lost film
1914 The Doctor's Testimony Florence Lund Lost film
1914 A Singular Cynic Flo Welton Lost film
1914 Her Ragged Knight Flo – Bob's Ward Lost film
1914 The Mad Man's Ward Lost film
1914 The Honor of the Humble Flo Soule – The Gamekeeper's Daughter Lost film
1914 Counterfeiters Flo Lost film
1914 A Mysterious Mystery Miss Lawrence Lost film
1914 The Woman Who Won Florence Lloyd Lost film
1914 The Great Universal Mystery Herself Lost film
1917 Face on the Screen Lost film
1918 The Love Craze Lost film


Year Title Role Notes
1908 The Red Girl The Red Girl Lost film
1914 A Singular Sinner Lost film
1916 Elusive Isabel Isabel Thorne Lost film
1922 The Unfoldment Katherine Nevin Lost film
1923 The Satin Girl Sylvia Lost film
1923 Lucretia Lombard
1924 Gambling Wives Polly Barker Lost film
1926 The Johnstown Flood Townswoman Uncredited
1926 The Greater Glory Woman Uncredited
Lost film
1930 Sweeping Against the Winds
1931 Homicide Squad
1931 Pleasure Martha
1931 The Hard Hombre The Sister Uncredited
1932 So Big Mina Uncredited
1932 Sinners in the Sun Minor role Uncredited
1933 Secrets Minor role Uncredited
1933 The Silk Express Minor role Uncredited
1934 The Old Fashioned Way Minor role Uncredited
1935 Man on the Flying Trapeze Minor role Uncredited
1935 The Crusades Minor role Uncredited
1936 Yellow Dust Minor role Uncredited
1936 One Rainy Afternoon Minor role Uncredited
1936 Hollywood Boulevard Minor role Scenes deleted
1937 Night Must Fall Minor role Uncredited

See also





  1. ^ Some sources name Roddy McDowall as the anonymous donor.[26]


  1. ^ William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade, Warner Books 1984 p.6.
  2. ^ Hutchinson, Pamela (November 22, 2019). "Fame at last – was this the world's first film star?". The Guardian. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Brown 1999, p. 2.
  4. ^ a b Brown 1999, p. 5.
  5. ^ Brown 1999, p. 4.
  6. ^ a b "Former Film Star Dies: Florence Lawrence, Who Is Known as 'Biograph Girl', Takes Poison". The Reading Eagle. December 29, 1983. p. 11. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  7. ^ Brown 1999, p. 7.
  8. ^ a b Basinger, Jeanine (1999). Silent Stars. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 7. ISBN 0-679-43840-8.
  9. ^ Florence Lawrence and Florence Turner of Vitagraph were publicized by name by their studios to the general public in March 1910, making them the first true "movie stars". Eileen Bowser, The Transformation of Cinema, 1907–1915, University of California Press, 1994, pp. 112–13; ISBN 978-0-520-08534-3.
  10. ^ Florence Lawrence Archived September 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Women Film Pioneers Project; accessed September 23, 2015. "Florence Lawrence intended her last Victor photoplay to be her second two-reel film The Lady Leone (1912), and after its completion, she and Solter retired to their home in River Vale, New Jersey."
  11. ^ PHS Answer Girl & Curator Archived February 4, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Pascack Historical Society; accessed September 23, 2015; "Florence Lawrence was America's first movie star according to movie historians. She lived at 565 Rivervale Road in River Vale from 1913 through 1916."
  12. ^ Gross, Jessica (July 14, 2013). "Who Made That?: Who Made That Turn Signal?". The New York Times Magazine.
  13. ^ Paul, John (March 23, 2016). "Florence Lawrence: Automotive Inventor and the 'World's First Movie Star'". Historic Vehicle Association.
  14. ^ a b c Forster, Merna (2011). 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces. Dundurn. p. 221. ISBN 978-1-459-70085-7.
  15. ^ a b "Silent Film Stars Drinks Poison, Dies". St. Petersburg Times. December 29, 1938. p. 1. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  16. ^ "Florence Lawrence Wins Divorce Decree". The Pittsburg Press. February 12, 1931. p. 25. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c Brown 1999, p. 135.
  18. ^ "Divorced Pair to Continue as Partners", Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1931, p. A1.
  19. ^ Eyman, Scott (2008). Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer. Simon & Schuster. p. 335. ISBN 978-1-439-10791-1.
  20. ^ a b Brown 1999, p. 144.
  21. ^ Brown 1999, pp. 144–145.
  22. ^ "Florence Lawrence – Women Film Pioneers Project". wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu. Archived from the original on September 22, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  23. ^ a b c d e Brown 1999, pp. 146–147.
  24. ^ "Florence Lawrence, Star of Silent Films, Suicide". The Lewiston Daily Sun. December 29, 1938. p. 7. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  25. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 429. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4.
  26. ^ Margaret Heidenry (2018) "Introducing Florence Lawrence, Hollywood’s Forgotten First Movie Star" Vanity Fair, May 25, 2018. Accessed February 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Brown 1999, p. 148.
  28. ^ "The Biograph Girl". publishersweekly.com. May 29, 2000.


  • Bailey, Thomas Melville (1992). Dictionary of Hamilton Biography. Vol. III, 1925–1939. W.L. Griffin Ltd. pp. 106–108.
  • Brown, Kelly R. (1999). Florence Lawrence, the Biograph Girl: America's First Movie Star. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-43089-3.