Sunday, October 1, 2017

Born Today October 1: Alice Joyce


Silent movie star Alice Joyce was born on this date in Kansas City, MO.  Her parents divorced when she was quite young and she and her family moved with her mother to Falls Church, Virginia where she grew up.  According to a census in 1910 the family were relocated in The Bronx, after her mother's remarriage.  In New York, Alice worked at a very young age as a telephone operator before she was noticed for her looks.  She then became a fashion model, along with her younger brother, who would later become an entertainment manager.  This lead to her appearance in several illustrated songs.  It was not long before she gained the attention of early studio film makers.  It was Sidney Olcott at Kalem that got her into her first film and her first contract.   The film was A Deacon's Daughter, a film that Olcott appeared in himself.  She was one of their first stars poached from the fashion world to be sent westward  to Hollywood.  She had a rare multi-year run at Kalem that lasted through 1915, during which she became a real super star.  She earned the nickname The Madonna Of The Screen.  After this, she signed in 1916 with Vitagraph.  The first film that she made for them was Whom The God's Destroy.  She stayed at Vitagraph through 1921, after which she worked as at various independent studios, her career was then under the management of her brother Frank (who had gotten into the talent buisiness with Myron Selznick).  Her first film after leaving Vitagraph was probably her most well known--The Green Goddess in 1923.  The film was shot on location back in New York and was directed by her first director Sidney Olcott.  Though she appeared in a number of films in the 1920's her career began to slow, the sound era basically brought an abrupt end to her career.  She did appear in an early talkie in 1929, The Squall, a very late "vamp" film with Loretta Young.  She also appeared in a full sound remake of of The Green Goddess in 1930.  She would appear in just two more films--both in 1930.  The last of these was the musically whimsical romance picture Song o' My Heart featuring Maureen O'Sullivan in her sophomoric role.  During her career, she appeared in more than 200 films--almost all of them silent.  She was also married several times, twice to industry insiders (Tom Moore and Clarence Brown).  After the end of film career, she worked a late era vaudeville circuit with her first ex-husband Tom Moore--though she was forced to declare personal bankruptcy in the early 1930's.  She married for the 3rd time and settled into life in the San Fernando Valley.  She spent time writing book reviews.  Joyce was seriously injured following a car accident in 1946 and her health never seemed to recover fully from that.  She remained in the valley area living to herself following her third divorce in mid 1940's.  She developed a heart condition and on October 9, just 8 days after her 65th birthday, she succumbed to heart failure.  She is buried next to her mother in San Fernando Mission Cemetery.

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