Ridgeway in 1924
|Born||Fredricka Berneice Hawkes
April 8, 1898
Missoula, Montana, U.S.
|Died||March 29, 1961
Lancaster, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Constantin Bakaleinikoff (m. 1925)
Walter D. Simm
Fredericka Berneice 'Fritzi' Ridgeway (April 8, 1898 – March 29, 1961) was an American silent film actress, vaudeville performer, and hotelier. Though she starred in numerous films, she is perhaps best known for her work in silent Western films.
A native of Montana, Ridgeway worked as both a vaudeville performer and a professional trick rider before making her film debut in 1916. She appeared in 63 films between 1916 and 1934, with prominent roles in Western films populating much of her early career. Other notable roles include supporting parts in Tod Browning's drama The Unpainted Woman (1919) and The Enemy (1927).
Ridgeway officially retired from acting in 1934, making her final screen appearance in Rouben Mamoulian's We Live Again. She would spend the latter half of her life managing the Hotel del Tahquitz in Palm Springs, California, a hotel she built in 1928. She remained the proprietor of the Hotel del Tahquitz until her death in 1961. She was married to Russian composer Constantin Bakaleinikoff. In L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels, historian Paul Young noted Ridgeway as an "iconoclastic silent film star."
Ridgeway was born Frederick Berneice Hawkes on April 8, 1898 in Missoula, Montana, later moving with her family to Butte, Montana, where she attended primary school. Prior to establishing herself as a film actress, Ridgeway worked as both a vaudeville performer and as a trick rider. As a teenager, Ridgeway traveled with her family between Montana and California, and attended Hollywood High School in Los Angeles. She was also educated in Chicago.
She made her film debut in the short The Bridesmaid's Secret (1916), and appeared the following year in her first feature film role in the Western The Hero of the Hour (1917). Ridgeway would appear in several silent Western shorts after, including The Wrong Man (1917) and The Soul Herder (1917). Her appearances in Westerns earned her the name of the "cowgirl star" early in her career. She appeared as Evelyn Hastings in the 1917 picture The Learnin' of Jim Benton opposite Roy Stewart, and was noted in a review for her "delightful" performance in the film.
In 1919, Ridgeway appeared in Victor Schertzinger's comedy When Doctors Disagree, followed by a supporting part in Tod Browning's drama The Unpainted Woman (1919) for Universal Pictures. She would continue to play in silent pictures into the late 1920s, including roles in the drama The Old Homestead (1922), the Western Ruggles of Red Gap (1923), and the drama The Enemy (1927), opposite Lillian Gish.
Later work and retirement
In 1932, she appeared in Ladies of the Big House, which received positive critical acclaim with a review in The New York Times noting: "the film manages to convey this terror with a fair measure of success." In 1934, she appeared in a supporting part in the horror film House of Mystery (1934) opposite Verna Hillie and John Sheehan. Ridgeway made her final screen appearance in a minor uncredited role in We Live Again (1934), an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's Resurrection, before retiring from acting.
Ridgeway married Russian composer Constantin Bakaleinikoff in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 23, 1925. In March 1928, Ridgeway commissioned architect Anthony Miller to design a home for her, which was built in Los Angeles, California. She would later marry Walter D. Simm, whom she remained married to until her death of a heart attack in 1961.
|1916||The Bridesmaid's Secret||Hazel Field||Short film|
|1917||Where Glory Waits||Scylla||Short film|
|1917||The Hero of the Hour||Mildred Nebeker|
|1917||A Blissful Calamity||Annie Smith||Short film; as Fritzie Ridgeway|
|1917||The Wrong Man||Anice Malone||Short film|
|1917||The Soul Herder||Jane||Short film|
|1917||The Calendar Girl||Mazie||As Fritzie Ridgeway|
|1917||Up or Down?||Esther Hollister|
|1917||The Learnin' of Jim Benton||Evelyn Hastings|
|1918||The Law's Outlaw||Rose Davison|
|1918||Real Folks||Joyce Clifton|
|1918||Faith Endurin'||Helen Dryer|
|1918||The Danger Zone||Marie Fitzmaurice||As Fritzie Ridgeway|
|1918||The Fire Flingers||Ellen||As Fritzie Ridgeway|
|1919||When Doctors Disagree||Violet Henny|
|1919||The Unpainted Woman||Edna||As Fritzie Ridgeway|
|1919||The Petal on the Current||Cora Kinealy||As Fritzie Ridgeway|
|1919||Winning a Bride||Mary Pendleton|
|1920||Judy of Rogue's Harbor||Olive Ketchel|
|1921||Bring Him In||Mary Mackay|
|1921||The Fatal 30|||
|1922||The Hate Trail||Mary Munger|
|1922||Boomerang Justice||Ruth Randolph|
|1922||The Old Homestead||Ann|
|1923||Trifling with Honor||Ida Hunt|
|1923||The Cricket on the Heart||Bertha Plummer|
|1923||Ruggles of Red Gap||Emily Judson|
|1927||Nobody's Widow||Mademoiselle Renée|
|1927||Getting Gertie's Garter||Barbara Felton|
|1927||Girl in the Rain|
|1927||Face Value||Muriel Stanley|
|1927||The Enemy||Mitzi Winkelmann|
|1928||Son of the Golden West||Rita|
|1928||Red Hot Speed||Slavey|
|1929||This Is Heaven||Mamie Chase|
|1930||Prince of Diamonds||Lolah|
|1931||The Mad Parade||Prudence Graham|
|1931||Ladies of the Big House||Reno Maggie|
|1932||Frisco Jenny||Miss Jessie||Uncredited|
|1934||House of Mystery||Stella Walker|
|1934||Little Man, What Now?||Party Guest||Uncredited|
|1934||No Ransom||Miss Price|
|1934||We Live Again||Redhead||Uncredited|
- "California Death Index, 1940-1997," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPZF-J1H : 26 November 2014), Fredrick B Simm, 28 Mar 1961; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.
- Wild 2011, p. 128.
- Lech 2005, pp. 20; 300; 373.
- Young 2002, p. 99.
- While Robert Emmet Sherwood in The Best Moving Pictures of 1922–23, Also Who's who in the Movies and the Yearbook of the American Screen (1923) writes that Ridgeway was born in Butte, published sources list Ridgeway's birthdate as April 8, 1898 in Missoula, Montana. See: Rainey (1992), and Vazzana (2001).
- Rainey 1992, p. 214.
- Vazzana 2001, p. 444.
- Thornton, Tracy (April 30, 2000). "Morgue dust". Montana Standard. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- "Popular Players Provide Entertainment in a Variety of Local Pictures". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan. April 27, 1930. p. 59.
- Sanchez 1930, p. 192.
- "Oil Gusher Caught in "Real Folks"". Motography. 19 (1–26): 313. February 16, 1918.
- Rockwell, Helen (December 15, 1917). ""The Learnin' of Jim Benton": Triangle Picture with Roy Stewart. Released December 9". Motography: 1263.
- "Abbreviated view of The Unpainted Woman". The American Film Institute. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- Klepper 2005, p. 463.
- A.D.S. (January 1, 1932). "Women in Prison". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Senn 1996, p. 447.
- Jacobs 1994, p. 485.
- "Commercial Development Between the Wars (1919-1941)". City of Palm Springs. City of Palm Springs Citywide Historic Context Statement & Survey Findings. October 13, 2015. pp. 121–178.
- Sanchez 1930, p. 191.
- Mallory 2011, p. 62.
- "Final Homestead in the Angeles National Forest". Captain Loomis and the Loomis Ranch. Stephen Thomas. 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- "Fredricka Berneice Ridgeway Simm". Find a Grave. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Langman 2009, p. 87.
- Jacobs, Diane (1994). Christmas in July: The Life and Art of Preston Sturges (reprint ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-08928-0.
- Klepper, Robert K. (2005). Silent Films, 1877-1996: A Critical Guide to 646 Movies (updated ed.). McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-42164-0.
- Langman, Larry (2009). The Media in the Movies: A Catalog of American Journalism Films, 1900-1996. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-44091-7.
- Lech, Steve (2005). Resorts of Riverside County. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. ISBN 978-0-73853-0-789. OCLC 62790503.
- Mallory, Mary (2011). Hollywoodland. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-738-57478-3.
- Rainey, Buck (1992). Sweethearts of the Sage: Biographies and Filmographies of 258 Actresses Appearing in Western Movies. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-899-50565-7.
- Sanchez, Nellie Van de Grift (1930). Hunt, Rockwell Dennis, ed. California and Californians. 4. Lews Publishing Company.
- Senn, Bryan (1996). Golden Horrors: An Illustrated Critical Filmography of Terror Cinema, 1931-1939. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-40175-8.
- Vazzana, Eugene Michael (2001). Silent Film Necrology. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-41059-0.
- Wild, Peter (2011). Heiress of Doom: Lois Kellogg of Palm Springs. Tucson, AZ: Estate of Peter Wild. OCLC 748583736.
- Young, Paul (2002). L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-20646-8.
- Doyle, Billy H. (1995). Slide, Anthony, ed. The Ultimate Directory of the Silent Screen Performers: A Necrology of Births and Deaths and Essays on 50 Lost Players. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-810-82958-9.
- Langman, Larry (1992). A Guide to Silent Westerns. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-27858-7.