Merna Kennedy

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Merna Kennedy
Skinner Steps Out photo 2.jpg
Kennedy and Glenn Tryon from the 1929 film Skinner Steps Out
Maude Kahler

(1908-09-07)September 7, 1908
DiedDecember 20, 1944(1944-12-20) (aged 36)
Years active1928–1934

Merna Kennedy (born Maude Kahler[1]; September 7, 1908 – December 20, 1944) was an American actress of the late silent era and the transitional period into talkies.


Kennedy was best known during her brief career for her role opposite Charlie Chaplin in the silent film The Circus (1928).

Kennedy was brought to the attention of Chaplin by her friend Lita Grey, who became Chaplin's second wife in 1924.[2] A dancer, she had muscular legs which helped her gain the role of the circus bareback rider. Kennedy continued acting after The Circus, starring in early sound films, but retired in 1934 when she married choreographer/director Busby Berkeley. Their marriage broke up a year later.

Kennedy died of a heart attack, aged 36, four days after her marriage to Master Sergeant Forrest Brayton.[3]


Silent Films[edit]



  1. ^ Birth Records from the Kankakee Historical Society.
  2. ^ "The Short Life of Merna Kennedy, Chaplin's Co-Star in "The Circus"". (Travalanche). 7 September 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Chaplin Protégé Taken by Death". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. 28 December 1944. p. 4.

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