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Chadwick in 1921
November 25, 1897|
Chadwicks, New York,
|Died||September 4, 1940
Los Angeles, California,
|Other names||Helen Chadwick|
|Spouse(s)||William A. Wellman (July 1918–September 5, 1923)|
Early life and career
Chadwick was born in the small town of Chadwicks, New York, which was named for her grandfather. Her mother was a singer who performed on the stage and her father was a business man.
She began making films for Pathe Pictures in Manhattan, New York. A director was impressed by Chadwicks's talent as an equestrian, thus she began acting as a western star but this did not continue with the exodus of film production from the east to the west coast. Signed by Samuel Goldwyn, Chadwick went to California in 1913 and entered silent movies in 1916. She was a star from 1920 through 1925. At the pinnacle of her acting career, she earned a salary estimated to have been $2,000 per week. From 1929 until 1935, she found success as a character actress when sound was being introduced to films.
In the final five years of her life she was reduced to taking roles as an extra, playing "atmospheric parts". She was always optimistic that her fortunes would turn for the better. Helene made movies with Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, and other studios.
Her most noteworthy performances came in Heartsease (1919), The Long Arm of the Manister (1919), The Cup of Fury (1920), Godless Men (1920), Dangerous Curve Ahead (1921), From The Ground Up (1921), Yellow Men and Gold (1922), Dust Flower (1922), The Sin Flood (1922), The Glorious Fool (1922), and Quicksands (1923).
Personal life and death
In January 1919, Chadwick became engaged to Lieutenant William A. Wellman, an American pilot with the Lafayette Flying Corps. He had just returned from France and was cited for bravery for his valor in World War I. The couple had met at a party at the house of a friend. Wellman was signed to play a prominent role in an upcoming movie with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. The couple wed in July 1921, but in the summer of 1923, Chadwick sued Wellman for divorce on grounds of desertion and nonsupport. At the time of their separation William was directing movies for Fox Film. Wellman directed Wings, the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as many other notable films.
Helene Chadwick died at St. Vincent's Hospital, Los Angeles, California, aged 42, in 1940. Her death was indirectly the result of an accident she suffered in June 1939. She stumbled over a chair and sustained injuries to her left side and eye. Doctors said her illness was exacerbated by "her highly nervous state."
Her funeral was conducted by Pierce Brothers Mortuary and attended by stage and screen friends.
|1916||The Challenge||Alberta Bradley|
|1917||Vengeance Is Mine||Marion De Long|
|1918||The Naulahka||Kate Sheriff|
|1918||The Yellow Ticket||Miss Seaton|
|1919||Caleb Piper's Girl||Mary Piper|
|1919||An Adventure in Hearts||Countess D'Orano|
|1920||Godless Men||Ruth Lytton|
|1920||Scratch My Back||Madeline|
|1921||Dangerous Curve Ahead||Phoebe Mabee|
|1921||Made in Heaven|
|1921||From the Ground Up||Philena Mortimer|
|1922||Brothers Under the Skin||Millie Craddock|
|1924||The Masked Dancer||Betty Powell|
|1924||Why Men Leave Home||Irene Emerson|
|1925||The Golden Cocoon||Molly Shannon|
|1926||Pleasures of the Rich||Mary Wilson||Lost; trailer survives Library of Congress|
|1926||Wise Guys Prefer Brunettes||Helene|
|1927||Stage Kisses||Fay Leslie|
|1928||Say It With Sables||Helen Caswell||Lost film|
|1928||Modern Mothers||Adele Dayton|
|1929||Father and Son||Miss White|
|1930||Men Are Like That||Clara Fisher Hyland|
|1931||Hell Bound||Sanford's Sister|
|1932||Night World||Night Club Customer||Uncredited|
|1933||Merrily Yours||Mrs. Rogers|
|1934||School for Girls||Larson|
|1935||Another Face||Nurse Daniels||Uncredited
Alternative title: It Happened in Hollywood
|1937||A Star Is Born||Woman at preview||Uncredited|
- The Los Angeles Times, "Flashes, Picture Star To Wed", January 11, 1919, Page II3.
- The Los Angeles Times, "She Could Ride", October 15, 1922, Page III30.
- The Los Angeles Times, "Film Star Seeks Divorce", July 24, 1923, Page II1.
- The Los Angeles Times, "Former Star of Films Dies", September 6, 1940, Page A1.
- The Los Angeles Times, "Helene Chadwick Paid Last Honor", September 8, 1940, Page A2.
- The Oakland Tribune, "Cinema Close-Ups", June 3, 1923, Page 92.
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