Bebe Daniels

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Bebe Daniels

Bebe Daniels in 1925
BornPhyllis Virginia Daniels
(1901-01-14)January 14, 1901
Dallas, Texas
DiedMarch 16, 1971(1971-03-16) (aged 70)
London, England
Other namesBebe Lyon
OccupationActress, dancer, singer, producer, writer
Years active1910-1960
Spouse(s)Ben Lyon
(m.1930-1971; her death)
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Bebe Daniels

Bebe Daniels in 1925
BornPhyllis Virginia Daniels
(1901-01-14)January 14, 1901
Dallas, Texas
DiedMarch 16, 1971(1971-03-16) (aged 70)
London, England
Other namesBebe Lyon
OccupationActress, dancer, singer, producer, writer
Years active1910-1960
Spouse(s)Ben Lyon
(m.1930-1971; her death)

Bebe Daniels (January 14, 1901 - March 16, 1971) was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer and producer.

She began her career in Hollywood during the silent movie era as a child actress, became a star in musicals such as 42nd Street, and later gained further fame on radio and television in Britain. In a long career, Bebe Daniels made over 230 films.


Early life and career

Daniels was born Phyllis Virginia Daniels (Bebe was a childhood nickname) in Dallas, Texas. Her father was a theater manager and her mother a stage actress.[1] The family moved to Los Angeles, California in her childhood and she began her acting career at the age of four in the first version of The Squaw Man. That same year she also went on tour in a stage production of Shakespeare's Richard III. The following year she participated in productions by Morosooa and David Belasco.

By the age of seven Daniels had her first starring role in film as the young heroine in A Common Enemy. At the age of nine she starred as Dorothy Gale in the 1910 short film The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. At the age of fourteen she starred opposite film comedian Harold Lloyd in a series of Lonesome Luke two-reel comedies starting with the 1915 film Giving Them Fits. The two eventually developed a publicized romantic relationship and were known in Hollywood as "The Boy" and "The Girl."[2]

In 1919, she decided to move to greater dramatic roles and accepted a contract offering from Cecil B. DeMille, who gave her secondary roles in such films as Male and Female (1919), Why Change Your Wife? (1920), and The Affairs of Anatol (1921).

Later life and career

Jackie Coogan"Nazimova" (actress)Gloria SwansonHollywood BoulevardPicture taken in 1907 of this junctionHarold LloydWill RogersElinor Glyn (Writer)"Buster" KeatonWilliam S. Hart (Two-Gun Bill)Rupert Hughes (Novelist)Roscoe "Fatty" ArbuckleWallace ReidDouglas FairbanksBebe Daniels"Bull" MontanaRex IngramPeter the hermitCharlie ChaplinAlice Terry (Actress)Mary PickfordWilliam C. DeMilleCecil Blount DeMilleUse button to enlarge or cursor to investigate
This 1921 Vanity Fair caricature by Ralph Barton[3] shows the famous people who, he imagined, left work each day in Hollywood; use cursor to identify individual figures.

In the 1920s, Daniels was under contract with Paramount Pictures. She became an adult star by 1922 and by 1924 was playing opposite Rudolph Valentino in Monsieur Beaucaire. Following this she was cast in a number of light popular films, namely Miss Bluebeard, The Manicure Girl, and Wild Wild Susan. Paramount dropped her contract with the advent of talking pictures. Daniels was hired by Radio Pictures (later known as RKO) to star in one of their biggest productions of the year. She also starred in the 1929 talkie Rio Rita. It proved to be one of the most successful films of that year, and Bebe Daniels found herself a star and RCA Victor hired her to record several records for their catalog. As did many stars of her day, she used the therapeutic services of Sylvia of Hollywood to stay in shape for her performances.[4]

Radio Pictures starred her in a number of musicals including Dixiana (1930) and Love Comes Along (1930). Towards the end of 1930, Bebe Daniels appeared in the musical comedy Reaching for the Moon. However, by this time musicals had gone out of fashion so that most of the musical numbers from the film had to be removed before it could be released. Daniels had become associated with musicals and so Radio Pictures did not renew her contract. Warner Brothers realized what a box office draw she was and offered her a contract which she accepted. During her years at Warner Brothers she starred in such pictures as My Past (1931), Honor of the Family (1931) and the extremely successful 1931 pre-code version of The Maltese Falcon, which opened to rave reviews. In 1932, she appeared in Silver Dollar (1932) and the successful Busby Berkeley choreographed musical comedy 42nd Street (1933) in which she sang once again. That same year she played opposite John Barrymore in Counsellor at Law. Her last film for the Warner Brothers was Registered Nurse (1934).

She retired from Hollywood in 1935. With her husband, film actor Ben Lyon, whom she married in 1930, she moved to London. A few years later, Daniels starred in the London production of Panama Hattie in the title role originated by Ethel Merman. The Lyons then did radio shows for the BBC. Most notably, they starred in the series Hi Gang!, continuing for decades and enjoying considerable popularity during World War II. Daniels wrote most of the dialogue for the Hi Gang radio show. The couple remained through the days of the The Blitz.

Publicity photo, circa 1924

Following the war, Daniels was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Harry S. Truman for war service. In 1945 she returned to Hollywood for a short time to work as a film producer for Hal Roach and Eagle-Lion Films. She returned to the UK in 1948 and lived there for the remainder of her life. Daniels, her husband, her son Richard and her daughter Barbara all starred in the radio sitcom Life With The Lyons (1951 to 1961), which later made the transition to television.


On March 16, 1971, Daniels died of a cerebral hemorrhage in London at the age of 70.[5] Her remains were cremated at London's Golders Green Crematorium and the ashes returned to the United States; she was interred in the Chapel columbarium at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

Selected filmography

1910The Wonderful Wizard of OzDorothy Gale
1910Justinian and Theodora
1911A Counterfeit Santa Claus
1913The SavageBit part
1914Anne of the Golden Heart
1915Bughouse Bellhops
1915Ruses, Rhymes and Roughnecks
1916Lonesome Luke Leans to the Literary
1916Luke, the Candy Cut-Up
1917BlissThe Girl
1917All AboardThe Girl
1918The Non-Stop KidMiss Wiggleextant
1918Two-Gun GussieThe Girl
1919Don't ShoveBebe
1919Male and FemaleThe King's Favouriteextant
1920Why Change Your Wife?Sally Clarkextant
1920The Dancin' FoolJunie Buddextant
1920Sick AbedNurse Durantextant
1920You Never Can TellRowena Patricia Jonesextant; Library of Congress
1920The Fourteenth ManMarjory Seatonlost
1920Oh, Lady, LadyMary Barberlost
1920She Couldn't Help ItYoung Nancelost
1921Ducks and DrakesTeddy Simpsonextant; Library of Congress
1921Two Weeks with PayPansy O'Donnell/Marie La Tour?extant;(??unless listed in Library of Congress as Two Weeks Pay)
1921The March HareLisbeth Ann Palmerlost
1921One Wild WeekPauline Hathawaylost
1921The Affairs of AnatolSatan Synneextant
1921The Speed GirlBetty Leelost
1922Nancy from NowhereNancylost
1922A Game ChickenInez Hastingslost
1922North of the Rio GrandeVal Hannon ?extant; (film with this title but no info listed at Library of Congress; other films with this title appeared in 1937 and 1949)
1922Nice PeopleTheodora Gloucesterlost
1922Pink GodsLorraine Templelost
1922Singed WingsBonita della Guerdalost
1923The World's ApplauseCorinne d'Alyslost
1923The Glimpses of the MoonSusan Branchlost
1923The ExcitersRonnie Randlost
1923HollywoodHerself (cameo)lost
1923His Children's ChildrenDianelost
1924Heritage of the DesertMescalextant; Gosfilmofond archive, Russia
1924Daring YouthAlita Allenlost
1924Unnguarded WomenBreta Banninglost'
1924Monsieur BeaucairePrincess Henrietteextant
1924Sinners In HeavenBarbara Stockleylost
1924Dangerous MoneyAdele Clarklost
1924Argentine LoveConsuelo Garcialost
1925Miss BluebeardColette Girardlost
1925The Crowded HourPeggy Laurencelost
1925The Manicure GirlMaria Marettilost
1925Wild, Wild SusanSusan Van Dusenlost
1925Lovers in QuarantineDianaextant; Library of Congress
1925The Splendid CrimeJennylost'
1926Miss Brewster's MillionPolly Brewsterlost
1926The Palm Beach GirlEmily Bennettlost
1926Volcano!Zabette de Chavalonsextant; Library of Congress
1926The Campus FlirtPatricia Mansfieldlost
1926Stranded in ParisJulie McFaddenlost
1927A Kiss in a TaxiGinettelost
1927SeñoritaSeñorita Francesca Hernandezextant;...prints held in European archives
1927Swim Girl, SwimAlice Smithlost
1927She's a SheikZaidalost
1928Feel My PulseBarbara Manningextant; Library of Congress
1928The Fifty-Fifty GirlKathleen O'Haralost
1928Hot NewsPat Clancylost
1928Take Me HomePeggy Lanelost
1928What a Night!Dorothy Winstonlost;...Daniels's last silent film[6]
1929Rio RitaRita Fergusonextant
1930Reaching for the MoonVivien Bentonextant
1930DixianaDixiana Caldwell
1931The Maltese FalconRuth Wonderly
1932Silver DollarLily Owens Martin
1933Counsellor at LawRegina "Rexy" Gordon
1933A Southern MaidJuanita/Dolores
193342nd StreetDorothy Brock
1936Treachery on the High SeasMay HardyAlternative title: Not Wanted on Voyage
1938The Return of Carol DeaneCarol Deane
1941Hi Gang!The Liberty Girl
1947The Fabulous Joe
1954Life with the LyonsBebe LyonAlternative title: Family Affair
1955The Lyons in ParisBebeAlternative titles: Mr. and Mrs. in Paree
The Lyons Abroad
1955–1960Life with the LyonsBebe LyonUnknown episodes, producer, writer


  1. ^ Golden, Eve (2001). Golden Images: 41 Essays on Silent Film Stars. McFarland. pp. 18. ISBN 0-7864-0834-0.
  2. ^ The Girl and The Boy, "Bebe and Harold Were A Perfect Match On and Off The Screen" by Tim Lussier
  3. ^ Vanity Fair magazine September 1921, accessed 2009
  4. ^ Hollywood Undressed: Observations of Sylvia As Noted by Her Secretary (1931) Brentano's.
  5. ^ Donnelley, Paul (November 1, 2005). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. Omnibus Press. pp. 301. ISBN 1-84449-430-6.
  6. ^ "What a Night (1928)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 5, 2012.


External links