Julia Faye

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Julia Faye
Faye in 1923
Julia Faye Maloney

(1892-09-24)September 24, 1892
DiedApril 6, 1966(1966-04-06) (aged 73)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Other namesJulia Faye Covell
Julia Faye Wallick
Julia Faye Merrill
Alma materIllinois State University
Years active1915–1957
Harold Leroy Wallick
(m. 1913; died 1918)
Walter Anthony Merrill
(m. 1935; div. 1936)
PartnerCecil B. DeMille

Julia Faye Maloney[1] (September 24, 1892[2] – April 6, 1966), known professionally as Julia Faye, was an American actress of silent and sound films.[3] She was known for her appearances in more than 30 Cecil B. DeMille productions. Her various roles ranged from maids and ingénues to vamps and queens.

She was "famed throughout Hollywood for her perfect legs" until her performance in Cecil B. DeMille's The Volga Boatman (1926) established her as "one of Hollywood's popular leading ladies."[4]

Early life[edit]

Faye was born at her grandmother's home near Richmond, Virginia.[5] Her father, Robert J. Maloney (born c. 1865),[6] worked for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.[7] Her mother, Emma Louise Elliott (1872–1955),[8] was from New Castle, Indiana.[9] Her parents had married in 1890 in Newton, Kansas.[6][10] Faye's paternal grandfather, Thomas Maloney, was born in Ireland and had immigrated to the United States in the 1850s.[11]

Faye's father died sometime before 1901,[12] when her widowed mother married Cyrus Demetrios Covell (1862–1941)[13] in Indiana. Faye took her stepfather's name and listed him as her father.

She had lived in St. Louis, Missouri, prior to coming to Hollywood in 1915, to visit friends. She visited one of the film studios and was introduced to actor and director Christy Cabanne. The two reminisced about St. Louis and discovered that they had lived next door to one another there. Cabanne persuaded Faye's reluctant mother to allow her to be in motion pictures.[14]


Triangle, Fine Arts, and Keystone (1915–1916)[edit]

Publicity photo of Julia Faye from The Blue Book of the Screen by Ruth Wing, 1923

Faye made her debut in silent films with bit roles in Martyrs of the Alamo and The Lamb, both directed by Christy Cabanne for Triangle Film Corporation in 1915.[15] Her first credited and important role was as Dorothea opposite DeWolf Hopper's Don Quixote in the 1915 Fine Arts adaptation of the famous Miguel de Cervantes novel. Neil G. Caward, a reviewer for the film journal Motography, wrote, in his review of Don Quixote, that "both Fay Tincher as Dulcinea and Julia Faye as Dorothea add much enjoyment to the picture."[16] Faye's growing popularity increased with her appearances in several Keystone comedies, including A Movie Star, His Auto Ruination, His Last Laugh, Bucking Society, The Surf Girl, and A Lover's Might, all released in 1916. She also worked for D. W. Griffith, who gave her a minor role in Intolerance (1916).

Famous Players–Lasky (1917–1925)[edit]

Faye's first role for Cecil B. DeMille was featured in The Woman God Forgot (1917).[17] She continued working for DeMille in The Whispering Chorus, Old Wives for New, The Squaw Man and Till I Come Back to You (all 1918).

Faye as Gloria Swanson's maid in DeMille's Male and Female (1919)

In 1919, Faye played the stenographer in Stepping Out. Cast with Enid Bennett, Niles Welch, and Gertrude Claire, Faye was complimented by a critic for playing her role with "class".[18] In DeMille's Male and Female (1919), she played Gloria Swanson's maid.

Her next film, It Pays To Advertise (1919), was a Paramount Pictures release adapted by Elmer Harris from the play of the same name by Rol Cooper Megrue and Walter Hackett. It was directed by Donald Crisp. Faye was among the actors with Lois Wilson depicting the leading lady.[19]

Faye was listed as a member of the Paramount Stock Company School in July 1922. Its noteworthy personalities included Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Betty Compson, Wallace Reid, Bebe Daniels, and Pola Negri.[20]

Faye (center) as the wife of Pharaoh Rameses II in The Ten Commandments (1923)

In 1923, she played The Wife of Pharaoh, one of her most famous roles, in the prologue of DeMille's The Ten Commandments.

Faye joined Raymond Griffith and ZaSu Pitts in the screen feature Changing Husbands (1924), a Leatrice Joy comedy adapted from a magazine story entitled Roles.[21]

DeMille Pictures Corporation (1925–1927)[edit]

When DeMille resigned as director general of Famous Players–Lasky, in January 1925, he became the production head of Cinema Corporation of America. He planned to direct two or three films per year and supervise the making of between ten and twenty more. Faye came along with him as did Joy, Rod La Roque, Florence Vidor, Mary Astor, and Vera Reynolds.[22]

The Volga Boatman (1926) was directed by DeMille and named for the noted Russian song. William Boyd, Elinor Fair, and Faye have primary roles in a production DeMille called "his greatest achievement in picture making."[23] Faye's depiction of a "tiger woman" was esteemed as the most captivating of her career, to this point.[24] Before this role she had been known for "silken siren roles". Theodore Kosloff played opposite her as a stupid blacksmith.[25]

Faye played Martha in The King of Kings (1927). Christ, portrayed by H.B. Warner, is introduced with great majesty in the DeMille photodrama. A blind child searches for the Lord and the producer/director turns the camera gradually down to the child's eyes. The viewer sees Christ initially like the blind child whose sight is restored.[26] Faye traveled to New York City for personal appearances in association with The King of Kings and to address a sales convention in Chicago, Illinois.[27]

Faye won critical acclaim for her leading performance in the 60-minute silent comedy Turkish Delight (1927),[28] directed by Paul Sloane for DeMille Pictures Corporation. She was featured as Velma in the 1927 DeMille-produced film adaptation of the play Chicago; she has the distinction of being the first actress to portray Velma on-screen.

Sound films (1928–1957)[edit]

Faye had a small role as an inmate in DeMille's The Godless Girl (1929), which featured some talking sequences, but she made her "talkie" debut playing Marcia Towne in DeMille's first sound film, Dynamite (1929), co-starring Conrad Nagel, Kay Johnson, and Charles Bickford. Dynamite was also her first Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film. She also appeared in two other MGM productions, the Marion Davies comedy Not So Dumb (1930) and DeMille's third and final remake of The Squaw Man (1931), before her brief retirement from films in the early 1930s.

After a short-lived marriage, Faye returned to films with a minor role in Till We Meet Again (1936) and would go on to appear in every one of DeMille's films after Union Pacific (1939), which marked her return to DeMille films. In Samson and Delilah (1949), she had a prominent supporting role as Delilah's maidservant, Hisham. In The Ten Commandments (1956), she played Elisheba, Aaron's wife. Her last role was as a dowager in the 1958 remake of DeMille's The Buccaneer, produced by DeMille himself but directed by his son-in-law Anthony Quinn.

Personal life[edit]

Faye in a 1920 photograph

Faye married Harold Leroy Wallick on August 2, 1913, in Manhattan.[29] Wallick predeceased her, and she is listed as a widow in the 1930 census.[30][31]

Faye first met Cecil B. DeMille in 1917 and became one of his mistresses. In 1920, Faye resided at 2450 Glendower Avenue in Los Feliz.[32] She later bought a Colonial Revival-style mansion at 2338 Observatory Avenue, also in Los Feliz.[33]

Faye married screenwriter[34] Walter Anthony Merrill on October 24, 1935, in Los Angeles.[35] In April 1936, she announced that she had obtained a Nevada divorce from Merrill. [34]

Faye began writing a memoir, Flicker Faces, in the mid-1940s. Although it remains unpublished, some excerpts from the memoir are included in author Scott Eyman's 2010 biography of DeMille, Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille.


Faye died of cancer at her home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles,[36] on April 6, 1966, at the age of 73. Her cremated remains rest in the Colonnade at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


For her contributions to the American film industry, Faye was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6500 Hollywood Boulevard.[37] Her memoir, preserved in The Cecil B. DeMille Archives at Brigham Young University, has yet to be published.

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Julia Fay Malony – United States Census, 1900". FamilySearch. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  2. ^ "Julia Merrill – United States Social Security Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  3. ^ "The Army of Ushers". New York Times. February 17, 1924. p. X5.
  4. ^ Thomas, Dan (June 19, 1927). "Some Stars Break in Movies By Legs and Backs". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  5. ^ "Miss Julia Faye, Actress, In City But Companions Didn't Recognize Her. Guest At Club". The Free Lance-Star. June 7, 1934. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Robert J Moloney [sic] mentioned in the record of Robert J Moloney and Louise E Elliott". FamilySearch. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "A Wedding and a Reception". Newton Daily Republican. August 7, 1890. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  8. ^ "Louise Elliott Covell – California Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "Emma Louise Covell – United States Passport Applications". FamilySearch. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  10. ^ "An event long to be remembered in railroad circles was the marriage of Fireman R. J. Maloney to Miss Emma Elliott on Wednesday night, at the home of the groom's parents. The attendance of invited guests was large, the entertainment of the evening jovial, the supper splendid and the presents rare and costly. Both of the parties are well known nere, and have already commeneed house keeping on West Seventh street". The Topeka Daily Capital. August 10, 1890. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  11. ^ "Thomas Malony [sic] mentioned in the record of Thomas Malony and Martha Reed". FamilySearch. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  12. ^ "Emma Maloney mentioned in the record of Cyrus Covel and Emma Maloney". FamilySearch. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "Cyrus Demetrios Covell California – Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  14. ^ "Beauty's Visit Here Starts Film Career", Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1926, p. C32
  15. ^ Motion Picture, Volumes 81–82. Macfadden-Bartell. 1951. p. 77.
  16. ^ Caward, Neil G. (January 8, 1916). "The Current Triangle Bill". Motography. XV (2): 84. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  17. ^ DeMille, Cecil B. (1959). The Autobiography of Cecil B. DeMille. Prentice Hall. p. 188.
  18. ^ The Screen, September 22, 1919, New York Times, p. 8
  19. ^ Written On The Screen, New York Times, November 9, 1919, p. XX5
  20. ^ "Pictures Plays And People", New York Times, July 30, 1922, p. 81
  21. ^ Around the Movie World, May 11, 1924, p. X5
  22. ^ "DeMille Organizes A New Film Concern", New York Times, February 6, 1925, p. 14
  23. ^ "DeMille's 'Volga Boatman'", New York Times, April 12, 1926, p. X5
  24. ^ "[Faye] Plays Vivid Role In De Mille Opus", Los Angeles Times, May 12, 1926, p. A9
  25. ^ "Julia Faye Has Comedy Role in Volga Boatman", Los Angeles Times, May 14, 1926, p. A8
  26. ^ "Christ's Life Filmed". New York Times. November 21, 1926. p. X7.
  27. ^ "De Mille, La Rocque Make Up", Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1927, p. A10.
  28. ^ Thomas, Dan (June 17, 1927). "Julia Faye's Willingness To Help Brings Her To Stardom". The Evening Independent. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  29. ^ "Julia Faye Covell mentioned in the record of Harold Leroy Wallick and Julia Faye Covell". FamilySearch. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  30. ^ "Julia Faye – United States Census, 1930". FamilySearch. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  31. ^ "Harold LeRoy Wallick 1890-1918 - Ancestry®". Ancestry.com.
  32. ^ "History". Los Feliz Improvement Association. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  33. ^ "Los Feliz Improvement Association Historical Survey – Volume V: Streets Beginning with M-P" (PDF). Los Feliz Improvement Association. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Julia Faye Gets Divorce". The Milwaukee Journal. April 19, 1936. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  35. ^ "Julia Covell Wallick mentioned in the record of Walter Anthony Merrill and Julia Covell Wallick". FamilySearch. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  36. ^ The Film Daily. Wid's Films and Film Folk Incorporated. 1966. p. 184. Hollywood—Julia Faye Merrill, 72, a beauty of silent films whose acting career continued until 1956, died Wednesday at her home in Pacific Palisades, following an illness of several months.
  37. ^ "Julia Faye – Hollywood Walk of Fame". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 17, 2017.

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