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Constance Talmadge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Constance Talmadge
Talmadge in 1919
Constance Alice Talmadge

(1898-04-19)April 19, 1898
DiedNovember 23, 1973(1973-11-23) (aged 75)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Years active1914–1929
John Pialoglou
(m. 1920; div. 1922)
Alastair Mackintosh
(m. 1926; div. 1927)
Townsend Netcher
(m. 1929; div. 1939)
Walter Michael Giblin
(m. 1939; died 1964)
RelativesNatalie Talmadge (sister)
Norma Talmadge (sister)

Constance Alice Talmadge (April 19, 1898 – November 23, 1973) was an American silent film star. She was the sister of actresses Norma and Natalie Talmadge.

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Early life

Talmadge was born on April 19, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York, to poor parents, Margaret L. "Peg" and Frederick O. Talmadge. Her father was an alcoholic, and left them when she was still very young. Her mother made a living by doing laundry. When a friend recommended Talmadge's mother use older sister Norma as a model for title slides in flickers,[clarification needed] which were shown in early nickelodeons, Peg decided to do so. This led all three sisters into acting careers.[1]


On the cover of Photoplay magazine, 1919

She began making films in 1914, in a Vitagraph comedy short, In Bridal Attire (1914). Her first major role was as the Mountain Girl and Marguerite de Navarre in D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916).

Griffith re-edited Intolerance repeatedly after its initial release, and even shot new scenes long after it was in distribution. Grace Kingsley found Talmadge in her dressing room at the Fine Arts Studio, in Los Angeles, in the midst of making up for some new shots.

"Did you really drive those galloping brutes of horses?" asked Kingsley.

"Indeed I did," said Talmadge. "Two women sat behind me at the Auditorium the other night. They said, 'Of course she never really drove those horses herself. Somebody doubled for her.' Know what I did? I turned around and told them, 'I wish I could show you my knees, all black and blue even yet from being cracked up against the dashboard of that chariot!'"[citation needed]

Drawing of actress Constance Talmadge by Treichler, page 40 of the December 1921 Screenland.

So popular was Talmadge's portrayal of the tomboyish Mountain Girl, Griffith released in 1919 the Babylonian sequence from Intolerance as a new, separate film called The Fall of Babylon. He refilmed her death scene to allow for a happy ending.

Her friend Anita Loos, who wrote many screenplays for her, appreciated her "humour and her irresponsible way of life".[2] Over the course of her career, Talmadge appeared in more than 80 films, often in comedies such as A Pair of Silk Stockings (1918), Happiness a la Mode (1919), Romance and Arabella (1919), Wedding Bells (1921), and The Primitive Lover (1922).

Constance Talmadge (1923)

Talmadge, along with her sisters, was heavily billed during her early career. According to her 1923 Blue Book of the Screen biography, she was "5'5" tall, 120 lbs, with blonde hair and brown eyes, ... an outdoor girl who loved activities."[3]

When Talmadge was asked by a writer for Green Book magazine what sort of stories she wanted to do in 1920, she said:

Although no less than sixty manuscripts are submitted to me every week, it is exceedingly difficult to get exactly the kind of comedy I especially want. I want comedies of manners, comedies that are funny because they delight one’s sense of what is ridiculously human in the way of little everyday commonplace foibles and frailties – subtle comedies, not comedies of the slap stick variety.

I enjoy making people laugh. Secondly, because this type of work comes easiest and most naturally to me, I am not a highly emotional type. My sister could cry real tears over two sofa cushions stuffed into a long dress and white lace cap, to look like a dead baby, and she would do it so convincingly that 900 persons out front would weep with her. That is real art, but my kind of talent would lead me to bounce that padded baby up and down on my knee with absurd grimaces that would make the same 900 roar with laughter.

With the advent of talkies in 1929, Talmadge left Hollywood. Her sister Norma did make a handful of appearances in talking films, but for the most part the three sisters retired all together, investing in real estate and other business ventures. Only a few of her films survive today.[1]

Personal life

Norma and Constance Talmadge

She was married four times; all the unions were childless:

  • Her first marriage, to John Pialoglou (1893–1959), a Greek tobacco importer, occurred in 1920 at a double wedding with Dorothy Gish and James Rennie; she divorced Pialoglou two years later. Her marriage to him, a Greek subject, caused her to lose her natural-born U.S. citizenship; following her divorce, she had to apply for U.S. naturalization.[4][5]
  • She married Scottish soldier Alastair William Mackintosh (grandfather of author Edward St Aubyn) in February 1926, divorcing him in 1927 on grounds of adultery.[6]
  • She married Townsend Netcher in May 1929, divorcing in 1939.[7]
  • She married Walter Michael Giblin in 1939. This marriage lasted until his death on May 1, 1964.

Talmadge's mother fostered the belief she might one day return to films. "Success and fame cast a spell that can never been quite shaken off", her mother said in her autobiography. "A woman, because of her love, may say, and in the fervor of the moment believe, that she is ready to give up her chosen work. But there is sure to come a time when keen longing and strong regret for her lost career dominate over the more placid contentments of love and marriage. Then unhappiness and friction ensue."[citation needed]

She died of pneumonia.[8] Along with her sister Norma, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, Talmadge inaugurated the tradition of placing her footprints in concrete outside Grauman's Chinese Theater. She left a trail of five footprints in her slab.

Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6300 Hollywood Blvd.


Advertisement promoting films with Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge, on page 9 of the December 25, 1920 Exhibitors Herald.
Short Subject
Year Film Role Notes Status
1914 Buddy's First Call Grace Forster
The Maid from Sweden Marie Cook
Our Fairy Play Helen Payne - the Actress
The Moonstone of Fez Winifred Osborne
Uncle Bill Gladys
Buddy's Downfall Lily - the City Flirt
The Mysterious Lodger Lucy Lane
Father's Timepiece Marjorie Stillwell
The Peacemaker Kitty Grey
The Evolution of Percival Mildred
In Bridal Attire Mary
Fixing Their Dads Florence
The Egyptian Mummy Florence Hicks
Forcing Dad's Consent Connie Boggs
1915 In the Latin Quarter Manon Incomplete
Billy's Wager Connie
The Green Cat Constance
The Young Man Who 'Figgered Nan Tubbs
Burglarious Billy Nellie
A Study in Tramps Mary Stretch
The Master of His House Mrs. Greene
The Lady of Shalott Minor Role
The Boarding House Feud Connie Drexel
The Vanishing Vault Connie
Spades Are Trumps Ella Cunningham
Bertie's Stratagem Letty Grey
Insuring Cutey Cutey's Bride
Billy the Bear Tamer Constance
A Keyboard Strategy Mrs. Walter Gibson
Can You Beat It? Dill - Pike's Wife
Beached and Bleached
The Little Puritan Corinne
1916 The She-Devil
The Matrimaniac [cy; fi] Marna Lewis Extant
Year Title Role Notes Status
1915 Captivating Mary Carstairs Bit Part Uncredited
Georgia Pearce
1916 The Missing Links Laura Haskins Lost
Intolerance Marguerite de Navarre / The Mountain Girl Extant
The Microscope Mystery Jessie Barton
1917 A Girl of the Timber Claims Jessie West
Betsy's Burglar Betsy Harlow Lost
The Lesson Helen Drayton
Scandal Beatrix Vanderdyke
The Honeymoon Helen Drayton
1918 The Studio Girl Celia Laird
The Shuttle Bettina Vandepoel
Up the Road with Sallie Sallie Waters Extant
Good Night, Paul Mrs. Richard Extant
A Pair of Silk Stockings Mrs. Molly Thornhill Extant
Sauce for the Goose Kitty Constable Unknown
Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots Mrs. Leffingwell Unknown
A Lady's Name Mabel Vere Incomplete
1919 Who Cares? Joan Ludlow Lost
Romance and Arabella Arabella Cadenhouse Lost
Experimental Marriage Suzanne Ercoll Unknown
The Veiled Adventure Geraldine Barker Extant
Happiness a la Mode Barbara Townsend Unknown
A Temperamental Wife Billie Billings Extant
A Virtuous Vamp Gwendolyn Armitage / Nellie Jones Also produced Extant
1920 Two Weeks Lillums Blair Extant
In Search of a Sinner Georgianna Chadbourne Unknown
The Love Expert Babs Also produced Extant
The Perfect Woman Mary Blake Extant
Good References Mary Wayne Extant
Dangerous Business Nancy Flavelle Lost
1921 Mama's Affair Eve Orrin Extant
Lessons in Love Leila Calthorpe Extant
Wedding Bells Rosalie Wayne Lost
Woman's Place Josephine Gerson Extant
1922 Polly of the Follies Polly Meacham Also produced Lost
The Primitive Lover Phyllis Tomley Also produced Extant
East Is West Ming Toy Also produced Extant
1923 Dulcy Dulcy Lost
The Dangerous Maid Barbara Winslow Extant
1924 The Goldfish Jennie Wetherby Incomplete
Her Night of Romance Dorothy Adams Also produced Extant
In Hollywood with Potash and Perlmutter Herself Lost
1925 Learning to Love Patricia Stanhope Incomplete
Seven Chances Girl in Car Uncredited Extant
Her Sister from Paris Helen Weyringer / La Perry Extant
1926 The Duchess of Buffalo Marian Duncan Also produced Extant
1927 Venus of Venice Carlotta Also produced Incomplete
Breakfast at Sunrise Madeleine Also produced Extant
1929 Venus Princess Beatrice Doriani Unknown


  1. ^ a b Profile,; accessed August 27, 2014.
  2. ^ From Anita Loos's Biography on Il Cinema - Grande Storia Illustrata, Istituto Geografico De Agostini, Novara
  3. ^ "Constance Talmadge". Archived from the original on May 6, 2006. Retrieved July 14, 2006.
  4. ^ "Movie Queen Again Becomes U.S. Citizen", page 12, The Atlanta Constitution, December 6, 1925
  5. ^ "Connie Talmadge Becomes Citizen", page 2, The Ogden Standard-Examiner, December 5, 1925
  6. ^ "Film Actress's Divorce Suit". The Times. September 29, 1927. p. 9.
  7. ^ "Gets Divorce". Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. January 6, 1939. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  8. ^ "Constane Talmadge, 73, Dead; A Film Star of the Silent Era". The New York Times.


  • The Griffith Actresses. By Anthony Slide. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1973.
  • The Talmadge Sisters. By Margaret L. Talmadge. New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1924.
  • The Quality You Need Most. By Constance Talmadge in Green Book Magazine, April, 1914.
  • 1900 United States Federal Census, Brooklyn Ward 8, Kings, New York; Roll T623_1047; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 109.
  • 1910 United States Federal Census, Brooklyn Ward 29, Kings, New York; Roll T624_982; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 933; Image: 948.
  • 1920 United States Federal Census, Manhattan Assembly District 15, New York, NY; Roll T625_1212; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1061; Image: 877.
  • 1905 New York State Census for Kings County, Brooklyn, New York.
  • U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925,

External links

This page was last edited on 31 March 2024, at 12:33
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