Katherine MacDonald

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Katherine MacDonald
Katherine MacDonald by Evans L.A.jpg
MacDonald, c. 1922
Katherine Agnew MacDonald

(1891-12-14)December 14, 1891
DiedJune 4, 1956(1956-06-04) (aged 64)
OccupationActress, film producer, model
Spouse(s)K. Malcolm Struss
(1910–1919; div.)
Charles Schoen Johnston
(1923–26; div.); 1 son
Christian R. Holmes
(1928–31; div.); 1 daughter
RelativesMary MacLaren (sister)
AwardsHollywood Walk of Fame

Katherine Agnew MacDonald (December 14, 1891[1][2]–June 4, 1956) was an American actress and film producer. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Starting her career as a popular model in New York City in the 1910s, MacDonald moved to Los Angeles in 1917. She became one of the first women to produce films in Hollywood, and produced nine features for her company, Katherine MacDonald Pictures, from 1919 to 1921.[3]

MacDonald was among the top ranks of actresses financially in 1920, earning about $50,000 per picture from a contract with First National. She achieved the peak of her popularity between 1920 and 1923. From 1922 to 1925 produced by B. P. Schulberg.[citation needed]

However, she was considered only a minor talent in the film industry, although her curvaceous figure resulted in the nickname of the "American Beauty".[4]

Her first significant role was her lead role in Shark Monroe (1918) opposite William S. Hart.[5] She was featured in a number of silent films, including The Squaw Man (1918), Mr. Fix-It (1918), Passion's Playground (1920) and The Infidel (1922). Her films typically were romantic dramas. MacDonald made only two pictures after 1923, one each in 1925 and 1926.

Personal life[edit]

MacDonald had a public feud with her sister, fellow actress Mary MacLaren, five years her junior.

While working as a model in New York City, Katherine met her first husband, artist K. Malcolm Struss. They married in 1910 but the marriage was short-lived, and they officially divorced in 1919.[citation needed] She married Charles Schoen Johnston, a young Chicago millionaire, in 1923[6] and they soon had one son, Britt. They divorced in 1926.

In 1928 she married Christian Rasmus Holmes (1898-1944)[citation needed] an heir to the Fleischmann's yeast company, but that marriage ended in a sensational divorce suit in 1931. MacDonald claimed cruelty—that her husband had fired a revolver at her through a locked door, had deliberately burnt her with lit cigarettes, and had sometimes locked her in a cage. Holmes counter-sued, claiming that MacDonald had embarrassed him by having affairs. MacDonald and Holmes had one daughter, Ann.[4]

After leaving the movie industry MacDonald ran a successful cosmetics business in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[4]

Her statistics list her height as 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) with a weight of 130 pounds (59 kg), with brown hair and blue eyes. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard.


MacDonald died in Santa Barbara, California, on June 4, 1956.[7]


MacDonald on the cover of the Motion Picture Classic, July 23, 1921. Cover art by Benjamin Eggleston (1867-1937).[8]
Another portrait of MacDonald featured in the January 1922 issue of Filmplay Journal


  1. ^ The Ultimate Directory of the Silent Screen Performers: A Necrology of Births and Deaths and Essays on 50 Lost Players; edited by Anthony Slide, Scarecrow Press, c.1995
  2. ^ The Ultimate Directory of Film Technicians; A Necrology of Dates and Places of Births and Deaths of More than 9,000 Producers, Screenwriters, Composers, Cinematographers, Art Directors, Costume Designers, Choreographers, Executives and Publicists; Scarecrow Press, 1999
  3. ^ "Katherine MacDonald". latimes.com. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Larry Lee Holland, "Mary MacLaren and Katherine MacDonald" Films in Review (1985), pp. 221-27
  5. ^ "Shark Monroe. 1918. Directed by William S. Hart | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  6. ^ "Milestones". Time. I (14): 27. June 4, 1923. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  7. ^ Katchmer, George A. A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. pp. 223–224. ISBN 978-1-4766-0905-8. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  8. ^ Platnick, Norman I. (February 2017). Lady of Mystery: A Collector's Guide to Edward Eggleston version 3.5. p. 5. those Motion Picture Classic covers, published from at least July, 1921 through August, 1922, were actually done by Benjamin Eggleston...(PDF version book released by Platnick's son).

External links[edit]