Wilson in 1920
|Died||March 3, 1988 (aged 93)|
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)|
Born to Andrew Kenley Wilson and Contance (née Coolige) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 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. 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.
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, 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.
After appearing in several films at various studios, Wilson settled in at Paramount Pictures in 1919, where she remained until 1927. 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, and Daisy Buchanan in the silent film version of The Great Gatsby (1926). She acted opposite male stars such as Rudolph Valentino and John Gilbert.
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.
Wilson was also the model of the official poster for "America Welcomes the World", the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Celebration, in 1926.
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. 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 the age of 93. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Her funeral service was conducted at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California.
The following is a list of films that Lois Wilson either directed, acted in, wrote or produced:
- The Hypocrite (1915) Extant
- The New Adventures of Terence O'Rourke (1915)
- The Palace of Dust (1915) (*short)
- When a Queen Loved O'Rourke (1915) (*short)
- The Road to Paradise (1915) (*short)
- Langdon's Legacy (1916)
- Married on the Wing (1916)
- The Pool of Flame (1916)
- The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916); Extant
- The Gay Lord Waring (1916)
- Hulda the Silent (1916)
- A Son of the Immortals (1916)
- The Decoy (1916/I) (*Mutual film)
- The Silent Battle (1916)
- He Wrote a Book (1916) (*short)
- The Beckoning Trail (1916)
- Arthur's Desperate Resolve (1916) (*short)
- The White Man's Law (1916)
- A Soul at Stake (1916) (*short)
- The Decoy (1916) (*Universal film)
- Her Chance (1916) (*short)
- The Morals of Hilda (1916)
- Green Eyes (1916) (*short)
- Alone in the World (1917) Lost(*short: wrote, directed)
- The Whispered Name (1917) (*short)
- Black Evidence (1917) (*short)
- Won by Grit (1917) (*short)
- Flames of Treachery (1917) (*short)
- Treason (1917)
- Parentage (1917)
- Alimony (1917)
- A Man's Man (1918)
- His Robe of Honor (1918)
- The Turn of a Card (1918)
- One Dollar Bid (1918)
- Maid o' the Storm (1918)
- A Burglar for a Night (1918)
- The Bells (1918)
- Prisoners of the Pines (1918)
- Three X Gordon (1918)
- The Drifters (1919) Lost
- Come Again Smith (1919) Lost
- The End of the Game (1919) Survives
- Gates of Brass (1919) Lost
- The Best Man (1919) Lost
- A Man's Fight (1919) Lost
- Love Insurance (1919) Lost
- Why Smith Left Home (1919); Incomplete; Library of Congress
- The Price Woman Pays (1919) Lost
- It Pays to Advertise (1919) Lost
- Too Much Johnson (1919) Lost
- Who's Your Servant?(1920) Lost
- Thou Art the Man (1920) Lost
- The City of Masks (1920) Lost
- What's Your Hurry? (1920); Extant; Gosfilmofond
- A Full House (1920) Lost
- Burglar Proof (1920) Lost
- Midsummer Madness (1920); Extant;Library of Congress
- What Every Woman Knows (1921); Lost
- The City of Silent Men(1921) Lost
- The Lost Romance (1921); Incomplete; Library of Congress
- The Hell Diggers (1921) Lost
- Miss Lulu Bett (1921); Extant; Library of Congress
- The World's Champion (1922); Incomplete; Library of Congress
- Is Matrimony a Failure? (1922) Lost
- Our Leading Citizen (1922) Lost
- Manslaughter (1922); Extant;Library of Congress, George Eastman House, other...
- Broad Daylight (1922) Lost
- Without Compromise (1922) Lost
- The Covered Wagon (1923); Extant; Paramount Pictures
- Bella Donna (1923); Extant;Gosfilmofond
- Only 38 (1923) Lost
- A Man's Man (1923) Lost
- To the Last Man (1923)Extant; Gosfilmofond
- Ruggles of Red Gap (1923) Lost
- The Call of the Canyon (1923); Extant; Gosfilmofond 2010
- Pied Piper Malone (1924); 'Extant; Gosfilmofond
- Icebound (1924); Lost
- Another Scandal (1924) Lost
- The Man Who Fights Alone (1924)
- Monsieur Beaucaire (1924); Extant; Library of Congress
- North of 36 (1924); Extant; Library of Congress
- Contraband (1925); Lost
- The Thundering Herd (1925); Lost
- Welcome Home (1925); Extant; Library of Congress
- Marry Me (1925); uncredited; Lost
- Rugged Water (1925); Lost
- The Vanishing American (1925); Extant; Library of Congress
- The King on Main Street (1925); Extant
- Irish Luck (1925) Extant
- Bluebeard's Seven Wives (1925); Lost
- Let's Get Married (1926); Extant; Library of Congress
- The Show-Off (1926); Extant; Library of Congress
- The Great Gatsby (1926); Lost
- New York (1927); Lost
- Broadway Nights (1927); Lost)
- The Gingham Girl (1927)
- Alias the Lone Wolf (1927); Extant; UCLA Film & TV, per IMDb
- French Dressing (1927); Lost
- Coney Island (1928)
- Miss Information (1928); *short
- Ransom (1928); Lost
- Sally's Shoulders (1928)
- On Trial (1928); Lost
- Conquest (1928); Lost
- Object: Alimony (1928 Columbia) Lost
- A Bird in the Hand (1929); *short; Incomplete; reel#2
- Kid Gloves (1929); Lost; IMDb
- The Gamblers (1929); Lost
- Her Husband's Women (1929); *short
- The Show of Shows (1929)Extant
- Wedding Rings (1929); Lost
- For Love or Money (1930) (*short;Extant UCLA unpreserved nitrate)
- The Furies (1930) Lost
- Lovin' the Ladies (1930)Extant; Library of Congress
- Temptation (1930)Extant; Library of Congress
- Once a Gentleman (1930) Lost
- Seed (1931)
- The Age for Love (1931) Lost
- Law and Order (1932)Extant
- The Expert (1932)Extant; Library of Congress
- The Rider of Death Valley (1932)Extant
- Drifting Souls (1932)Extant
- Divorce in the Family (1932)Extant
- The Crash (1932)Extant
- The Devil Is Driving (1932)Extant
- The Secrets of Wu Sin (1932)Extant
- Obey the Law (1933)Extant; Library of Congress
- Laughing at Life (1933)
- Deluge (1933)Extant
- In the Money (1933)
- Female (1933)Extant
- The Show-Off (1934)Extant
- No Greater Glory (1934)
- School for Girls (1934)
- There's Always Tomorrow (1934)
- Ticket to a Crime (1934)
- Bright Eyes (1934)
- Life Returns (1935)
- Public Opinion (1935)
- Born to Gamble (1935)
- Society Fever (1935)
- Cappy Ricks Returns (1935)
- Your Uncle Dudley (1935)
- The Return of Jimmy Valentine (1936)
- Wedding Present (1936)
- Laughing at Trouble (1936)
- Bad Little Angel (1939)
- Nobody's Children (1940)
- For Beauty's Sake (1941)
- The Girl from Jones Beach (1949)
- "Lois Wilson, Actress of Stage, Television and Silent-Film Era". 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.
- Katchmer, George A. (May 20, 2015). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. ISBN��978-1-4766-0905-8.
- The Moving Picture World. World Photographic Publishing Company. 1916.
- Fox, Charles Donald; Silver, Milton L. (1920). Who's who on the Screen. Ross publishing Company. p. 316.
- Lois Wilson profile, goldensilents.com; accessed 31 July 2015.
- The Moving Picture World. World Photographic Publishing Company. 1916.
- Theatre Magazine. Theatre Magazine Company. 1926.
- Hall, Mordaunt (December 8, 1924). "THE SCREEN.; Texas Cattlemen". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- Hall, Mordaunt (November 22, 1926). "Gold and Cocktails". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- 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.
- Irvin, Richard (February 23, 2018). The Early Shows: A Reference Guide to Network and Syndicated PrimeTime Television Series from 1944 to 1949. BearManor Media.
- Ristine, James D. Philadelphia's 1926 Sesqui-Centennial International Exhibition (Chicago: Arcadia Press, 2009)
- "Lois Wilson sculpture 1934". The Birmingham News. May 4, 1934. p. 28. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- Photoplay: The Aristocrat of Motion Picture Magazines. Photoplay Magazine Publishing Company. 1924.
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