Saturday, July 22, 2017

Born Today July 22: Vivian Martin


Stage and silent film actress Vivian Martin was born on this day in Sparta, Michigan.  Martin got into acting as a child, appearing on stage in Lew Fields.  Her first film appearance came in 1914 in The Wishing Ring: An Idyll Of Old England, a Maurice Tourneur directed early feature.  It survives and has long since been incorporated in Before There Was Hollywood, There Was Fort Lee, NJ.  After appearing in mostly Shubert  and World Film pictures in 1915.  She then appeared in a few Fox films and films mostly for Pallas in the next couple of years, before signing her first contract with Famous Players Jesse L Lasky.  The first film she made while under contract with them was The Girl At Home in 1917.  At the company, she was deliberately set up in the media as a "rival" to Mary Pickford, but the stunt wasn't really all that "explosive," and nothing came of it.  By the early 1920's Martin had started her own production company and secured an agreement that her films would be distributed through Goldwyn.  The first of these that she personally starred in was Pardon My French (1921).  After this she intended to retire from film acting and return to the stage, which she did; however she made an appearance in Fred Windemere's Soiled in1925.  She would appear in front of the camera just two more times in her life.  The first was Life In Hollywood No. 6 a documentary short in 1927.  Her last appearance came in 1935 in the comedic musical Folies Bergère de Paris, her only talking picture.  Upon returning to the stage, she eventually moved to New York, where she became involved in with Professional Children's School there, along with becoming a patron of the arts and benefactress to younger actors, as well as getting involved in charitable works.  She died there at the age of 93 on the 16th of March in 1987.  She was cremated and her ashes were urned.

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