Virginia Pearson

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Virginia Pearson
Pearson circa 1918
Virginia Belle Pearson

(1886-03-07)March 7, 1886
DiedJune 6, 1958(1958-06-06) (aged 72)
Years active1910-1932
SpouseSheldon Lewis

Virginia Belle Pearson (March 7, 1886 – June 6, 1958) was an American stage and film actress. She made fifty-one films in a career which extended from 1910 until 1932.[1]


She was born on March 7, 1886 in Anchorage, Kentucky to parents Joseph F. Pearson and Mary Alice Calloway.[1]

She had one younger brother, Harvey Thompson Pearson. Virginia was also the granddaughter of Precious Martha Grable Pearson (actress Betty Grable's great aunt). Virginia worked for a brief time as an assistant in the public library in Louisville, Kentucky after completing school. She was famous in her hometown Louisville playhouse performances. Pearson trained in the tradition of the stars of the American stage, and played in stock productions in Washington, D.C. and New York City. In New York she played the heroine in Hypocrisy, a story which laid bare "the shame of society." She was promoted by William Fox of Fox Film Corporation for the same kind of strong vamp parts as those played by Theda Bara. Among her movies is Blazing Love (1916), Wildness of Youth (1922), The Vital Question (1916), Sister Against Sister (1917), The Red Kimona (1925), Wizard of Oz (1925), and The Phantom of the Opera (1925).

In 1916 Pearson and her husband, movie actor Sheldon Lewis, severed their ties with the Virginia Pearson Producing Company. The couple affiliated themselves with the Independent Productions Company, capitalized at $1,000,000. In 1924 the couple were forced to declare bankruptcy.[citation needed] In 1928, Pearson was legally divorced from Lewis.[2] At the time, it was considered bad box office for screen actresses to be married. However the two remained constant companions., and resided for many years at the old Hollywood Hotel. Later they lived at the Motion Picture Country Home.


Virginia Pearson died of uremic poisoning in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on June 6, 1958, nearly a month to the day after Sheldon Lewis. She was 72.[1] Funeral services were held at the Pierce Brothers Hollywood Chapel. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1910 On Her Doorsteps
1914 The Stain Stevens' daughter
1914 Aftermath Ruth Morgan
1915 The Turn of the Road Marcia Wilbur
1916 Thou Art the Man Emily Raynor
1916 Daredevil Kate Kate
1917 A Royal Romance The Princess Sylvia
1917 Thou Shalt Not Steal Mary Bruce
1917 Wrath of Love
1918 The Firebrand Princess Natalya
1919 The Bishop's Emeralds Hester, Lady Cardew
1922 Wildness of Youth Louise Wesley
1923 A Prince of a King Queen Claudia
1925 Wizard of Oz Lady Vishuss
1925 The Phantom of the Opera Virginia Pearson as Carlotta/Carlotta's mother (1930 redux)
1926 Atta Boy Madame Carlton
1926 The Taxi Mystery Mrs Blaine Jameson
1927 Driven from Home
1928 The Power of Silence Mrs. Wright
1928 The Big City Tennessee
1928 The Actress Mrs. Telfer
1929 Smilin' Guns Mrs. van Smythe
1931 Primrose Path Marie Randeau
1932 Back Street Bit part Uncredited


  1. ^ a b c "Virginia Pearson Dies. Actress HAd Appeared in Many Silent Films". New York Times. June 10, 1958.
  2. ^ "Virginia Pearson Gets Divorce". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 29, 1928. p. 18. ProQuest 104594863. Retrieved December 19, 2020 – via ProQuest.

Further reading[edit]

  • Los Angeles Times, "Silent Screen's Star Virginia Pearson Dies", June 10, 1958, Page B1.
  • Mansfield, Ohio News, "Virginia Quits Her Firm", August 19, 1916, Page 15.
  • Reno Evening Gazette, "Stage People On Reno Screen", Saturday, August 5, 1916, Supplement Pages 7 and 10.

External links[edit]