Saturday, November 21, 2015

Born Today November 21: Jobyna Ralston


Born Jobyna Lancaster Raulston in South Pittsburgh, Tenn., her unusual first name came from her parents naming her after the then very famous stage actress Jobyna Howland, who would go on to have her own successful turn in silent films.  Ralston's mother was a portrait photographer, who from the beginning had plans for her daughter to go into show business; she was literally raised to have some sort of an entertainment career.  She was on the professional stage by the age of 9, and went on to attend acting school  in 1915 in New York City.  Her Broadway debut came at the age of 21, when she began landing dancing chorus roles in musicals and small acting roles in plays.  Famous comedian Max Linder noticed her in one of these productions and persuaded her to go to Hollywood.  She had her film debut in 1919 in the short comedy Starting Out In Life and was credited as "Juliana Ralston."  She did not keep the Juliana part, proudly going back to her famous first name, but she kept the respelling of the last name.  in 1921 she played the "Heroine" in the famously lost first Marx Brothers film Humor Risk.  She then began to work in comedy one reel shorts of Hal Roach, and had a very prolific career throughout the 1920's.  In 1922 she abandoned the live stage altogether.  She starred in her first partial sound film in The Big Hop (1928), which had a mono musical score.  Her first full sound film came in The College Coquette a year later. Her greatest achievement came in 1927 when she had a billed roll in Wings which was the only silent film to technically win a "Best Picture" Oscar in the silent era, starring the likes of Clara Bow and Gary Cooper.  She quit acting in the early 1930's after having a child; she made only two films in that decade.  Her film career was almost entirely confined to the silent era.  During this time she worked with a myriad of Hollywood silent elite talent.  See links below.  She passed away at the age of 67 on 22 January 1967 in Wood Hills, Los Angeles.  Her grave marker states that she was born in 1900; her birth records indicate that 1899 was the correct year.

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