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Lois Wilson (actress)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lois Wilson
Lois Wilson (actress) by Edwin Bower Hesser.jpg
Wilson in 1920
Born(1894-06-28)June 28, 1894
DiedMarch 3, 1988(1988-03-03) (aged 93)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Years active1915–1952

Lois Wilson (June 28, 1894 – March 3, 1988) was an American actress who worked during the silent film era. She also directed two short films and was a scenario writer.[1]

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Early life

Born to Andrew Kenley Wilson and Constance (née Coolidge) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[2] Wilson's family moved to Alabama when she was still very young. She earned a degree from Alabama Normal College (now the University of West Alabama), and became a school teacher for young children, soon leaving to pursue a film career.

In 1915, Wilson moved to California after winning a beauty contest put on by Universal Studios and the Birmingham News.[3] This pageant was the predecessor to the Miss Alabama/Miss America pageant system, and Wilson is considered the first Miss Alabama. Upon arriving in Hollywood, she auditioned and was hired by the Victor Film Company for several small film roles.[citation needed]

In 1916, she visited Chicago, where she met pioneer female film director Lois Weber, who gave her a small part in her film The Dumb Girl of Portici,[4] which starred famed ballerina Anna Pavlova. Weber then took her to Los Angeles, where she was groomed for stardom and began playing leads opposite actors such as J. Warren Kerrigan and Frank Keenan.[5][6]


After appearing in several films at various studios, Wilson settled in at Paramount Pictures in 1919, where she remained until 1927.[7] She was a WAMPAS Baby Star of 1922, and appeared in 150 movies. Her most recognized screen portrayals are Molly Wingate in The Covered Wagon (1923), in which she was well reviewed,[8] and Daisy Buchanan in the silent film version of The Great Gatsby (1926).[9] She acted opposite male stars such as Rudolph Valentino and John Gilbert.[10]

Wilson played both romantic leads and character parts. Despite making a successful transition to sound, Wilson was dissatisfied with the roles she received in the 1930s, and she soon retired in 1941, making only three films after 1939. Lois ventured to Broadway and television following her final role in The Girl from Jones Beach (1949) with Ronald Reagan. Wilson played in the network soap operas The Guiding Light in 1951, The Secret Storm and The Edge of Night. She portrayed featured character roles.[11]

Wilson was also the model of the official poster for "America Welcomes the World", the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Celebration, in 1926.[12]

In 1934, her performance in No Greater Glory inspired a Birmingham, Alabama sculptor to create a monument for the city's celebration of World Peace Day.[13]

Personal life

Wilson, 1922
Wilson, 1922

She was once described as having a screen image of "the soft, marrying kind of woman"; in real life, however, she never married. She was chosen by Paramount Pictures to represent the motion picture industry at the British Empire Exposition of 1924.[14] She was described as "a typical example of the American girl in character, culture and beauty".


Lois Wilson died of pneumonia at the Riverside Hospital for Skilled Care in Reno, Nevada at age 93. Her funeral service was conducted at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in nearby Glendale.[1]


The following is a list of films that Lois Wilson either directed, acted in, wrote or produced:

Silent films

Sound films


  1. ^ a b "Lois Wilson, Actress of Stage, Television and Silent-Film Era". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 10, 1988. Retrieved August 31, 2012. Lois Wilson, an actress who appeared in more than 100 early films including the 1923 Western epic The Covered Wagon, died of pneumonia on March 3 at Riverside Hospital for Skilled Care. She was 93 years old.
  2. ^ Katchmer, George A. (May 20, 2015). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-0905-8.
  3. ^ "Lois Wilson". The Moving Picture World. Vol. 27, no. 8. February 26, 1916. p. 1303. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  4. ^ Fox, Charles Donald; Silver, Milton L., eds. (1920). Who's Who on the Screen. New York: Ross Publishing. p. 316.
  5. ^ "Lois Wilson". Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  6. ^ "Several Bluebirds to Make a Summer". The Moving Picture World: 75. July 1, 1916."The Silent Battle (Bluebird)". July 18, 2016: 271. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)"The Silent Battle". July 22, 1916. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "Screen Beauties of "Paramount" Importance". Theatre Magazine: 36. August 1926. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  8. ^ Hall, Mordaunt (December 8, 1924). "THE SCREEN; Texas Cattlemen". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  9. ^ Hall, Mordaunt (November 22, 1926). "Gold and Cocktails". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  10. ^ Slide, Anthony (September 27, 2002). Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2249-6.
  11. ^ Irvin, Richard (February 23, 2018). The Early Shows: A Reference Guide to Network and Syndicated PrimeTime Television Series from 1944 to 1949. BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-6293-3241-3.
  12. ^ Ristine, James D. (2009). Philadelphia's 1926 Sesqui-Centennial International Exhibition. Charleston SC: Arcadia Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-7385-6544-6.
  13. ^ "Lois Wilson sculpture 1934". The Birmingham News. May 4, 1934. p. 28. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  14. ^ "Questions and Answers". Photoplay. 26 (1): 93–100. June 1924.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 March 2023, at 21:46
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