Leatrice Joy

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Leatrice Joy
BornLeatrice Joy Zeidler
(1893-11-07)November 7, 1893
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
DiedMay 13, 1985(1985-05-13) (aged 91)
Riverdale, Bronx, New York, United States
Other namesBeatrice Joy
OccupationActress
Years active1915–1954
Spouse(s)John Gilbert (1922–1925)
William S. Hook (1931–19??)
 
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Leatrice Joy
BornLeatrice Joy Zeidler
(1893-11-07)November 7, 1893
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
DiedMay 13, 1985(1985-05-13) (aged 91)
Riverdale, Bronx, New York, United States
Other namesBeatrice Joy
OccupationActress
Years active1915–1954
Spouse(s)John Gilbert (1922–1925)
William S. Hook (1931–19??)

Leatrice Joy (November 7, 1893 – May 13, 1985) was an American actress most prolific during the early silent film era.

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Early life and career

Born as Leatrice Joy Zeidler in New Orleans, Louisiana, she began her acting career in stock theater companies and made her film debut for the little-known small New Orleans based Nola Film Company in 1915. By 1917 she relocated to the relatively young film colony in Hollywood, California and began appearing in comedy shorts opposite Billy West and Oliver Hardy. Signed under contract with Samuel Goldwyn Studios, her first role for the studio was in 1917's The Pride of the Clan opposite Mary Pickford. By 1920, Joy's career quickly gained momentum and she became a highly popular actress with the film-going public and was given leading lady status opposite such performers as Wallace Beery, Conrad Nagel, Nita Naldi and Irene Rich.

Joy was often cast by directors in the role of the strong-willed and independent woman, and in the liberated atmosphere of the Jazz Age Roaring Twenties solidified her public popularity, especially with women film-goers. Her close-cropped hair and somewhat boyish persona (she was several times cast as a woman mistaken for a young man) became fashionable during the era. With her increasing popularity, Joy was sought out by Cecil B. DeMille and signed to contract to Paramount Pictures in 1922 and that same year was cast in the successful high-society drama Saturday Night opposite Conrad Nagel. Joy starred in a number of successful releases for Paramount and was heavily promoted as one of DeMille's most prominent protégés.

"Talkies" and retirement

In 1925, against the advice of studio executives, Joy parted ways with Paramount and followed DeMille to his new film company, Producers Distributing Corporation, and she made a few modestly successful films for the company, including Lois Weber's last silent film The Angel of Broadway in 1927. A professional dispute ended the partnership with DeMille and Joy in 1928 and Joy was signed with MGM. Joy headlined MGM's second part-talkie effort, The Bellamy Trial in 1928, opposite Betty Bronson and Margaret Livingston.

Joy's career began to falter with the advent of talkies, possibly because her heavy southern accent was considered unfashionable in comparison with the refined east coast diction of other actresses. In 1929 Joy became a freelance actress without a contract.

By the early 1930s, Joy was in semi-retirement from the motion picture industry, but she later made several guest appearances in a few modestly successful films. One such appearance was in the 1951 release Love Nest, which featured a young Marilyn Monroe.

In the 1960s, Joy made an appearance on the long-running game show To Tell the Truth.

In 1980, she appeared in the television documentary series Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film,[1] and spoke about her relationship with John Gilbert.

Personal life

Leatrice Joy married John Gilbert in 1922. The union produced a daughter, Leatrice Gilbert Fountain, but they divorced in 1924 on the grounds of Gilbert being an alleged philanderer. Joy married William S. Hook in 1931.

In her later years Leatrice Joy retired to Greenwich, Connecticut.

She died in 1985 of acute anemia in Riverdale, Bronx, New York[2] and was interred at the Saint Savior Episcopal Churchyard in Old Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Leatrice Joy was awarded a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6517 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood, California.

Filmography

References

  1. ^ Brownlow, Kevin; Gill, David (1980). Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film. (video). Thames Video Production. http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-1-James-Mason/dp/6301931556. 
  2. ^ Folkart, Burt A. "Featured in DeMille's `The Ten Commandments' Silent Film Star Leatrice Joy Dies at 91", Los Angeles Times, May 15, 1985. Accessed May 4, 2008. "Leatrice Joy, one of Hollywood's leading silent screen stars and the last surviving featured player from Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 epic 'The Ten Commandments' died Monday in a Riverdale, N.Y., convalescent home."

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