Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dorothy Mackaill

Born in Hull, England, March 4, 1903, Dorothy Mackaill lived with her father after her parents separated when she was eleven. As a teenager, Dorothy ran away to London to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. She started as chorus girl, eventually landing in Paris. It was there she met a Broadway choreographer who got her a job with the Ziegfeld Follies in New York. At the Follies she met and befriended future film stars Marion Davies and Nita Naldi.

In 1920, Dorothy appeared in her first film, The Face at the Window. In the next couple of years she would appear with leading stars Richard Barthelmess, Rod La Rocque, Colleen Moore, John Barrymore, George O'Brien, and Bebe Daniels. In 1924, Dorothy rose to leading lady status in the drama The Man Who Came Back, opposite George O'Brien. Her role of the nightclub chanteuse Marcelle catapulted her her career and it continued to flourish throughout the remainder of the 1920s. That same year she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star. Another notable recipient that year was Clara Bow. Other successful silents included Chickie and Joanna, both 1925, The Dancer of Paris (1926), and Convoy (1927). Her career continued into the beginning of sound where the silent film The Barker (1928) was reshot as a part-talkie. All the aforementioned films had Dorothy in the lead female role.

Though Dorothy successfully made the transition to talkies, after completing 1931's Safe in Hell, her contract with First National was not renewed. She then free-lanced for several studios. In 1931 she made Once a Sinner (1931) for Fox and Kept Husbands for RKO, both pictures pairing her with Joel McCrea. Her most memorable role of this era may have been Columbia's 1932 release, Love Affair, with Humphrey Bogart as her leading man. However, that same year she was billed third under Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in Paramount's No Man of Her Own.

1933 saw her in MGM's The Chief, and then she made three B-studio pictues, Picture Brides and Cheaters (1934), and finally Bulldog Drummond at Bay (1937). After 66 films, of which 26 were talkies, Dorothy came out of retirement to appear in two TV episodes of Hawaii Five-0, filmed on location where she had lived for several decades.

Dorothy Mackaill died of kidney failure in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1990 at the age of 87.

Click on the images for a larger view.


Publicity still for The Barker (1928), opposite Douglas Faribanks, Jr.


Stars Of The Photoplay, 1930 edition


Publicity still for the musical Bright Lights (1930). Dorothy is Louanne 'Lou'.



Screenland magazine, July 1931 - Cover artist: Thomas Webb



Silver Screen magazine, August 1931


Undated postcard


Screen captures from Safe in Hell.



Screen captures from Kept Husbands.


Screen Captures from Love Affair.


Screen captures from Picture Brides.


Screen captures from Bulldog Drummond at Bay.



Publicity still

Dorothy Mackaill - what do you think - Allure?

2 comments:

Amanda said...

Love her!

COCAMIA said...

What a beauty! They sure don't make women like that anymore...