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Mercedes Dagmar Godowsky
November 24, 1897
|Died||February 13, 1975 (aged 77)|
New York City, U.S.
(m. 1921; annulled 1926)
James D. Sloan
(m. 1926, divorced)
|Relatives||Leopold Godowsky Jr. (brother)|
Mercedes Dagmar Godowsky (November 24, 1897 – February 13, 1975) was an American silent film actress.
Mercedes Dagmar Godowsky was born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 24, 1897, the daughter of Polish-Jewish composer Leopold Godowsky and Frederica "Frieda" Saxe (1870–1933), who was of German descent, although she later claimed she was born in Vilna, Russian Empire (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania) in her autobiography, First Person Plural. She had an older sister, Vanita Hedwig (1892–1961), and two younger brothers, Leopold Godowsky Jr. and Gutram "Gordon" (1905–1932), who was born in Berlin. In November 1914, the family immigrated from Liverpool, England to Montreal, Quebec in Canada.
Her Hollywood film career spanned the years from 1919 through 1926. She played in A Sainted Devil (1924) with Rudolph Valentino and The Story Without a Name (1924). The latter co-starred Tyrone Power Sr. and Louis Wolheim. Among her other film credits are Red Lights (1923), The Common Law (1923), Virtuous Liars (1924), and The Price of a Party (1924).
Godowsky wed silent screen actor Frank Mayo in Tijuana, Mexico, on October 2, 1921. She named actress Anna Luther as co-respondent in a suit brought against Mayo in March 1925. The marriage was annulled on August 28, 1926, on the grounds that Mayo had another wife. On June 24, 1926, Godowsky remarried to James D. Sloan.
In 1958, Godowsky published a thoroughly candid (disputed; according to the Arthur Rubinstein biography by Harvey Sachs, Godowsky's memoirs were "apparently uninhibited but in fact heavily self-censored") autobiography titled First Person Plural. She wrote, "I lived only for pleasure and I spoiled my own fun. Where was I running? From whom? Little feet running around the globe. Nothing but circles, and I never once bumped into myself."
In the book, she named Enrico Caruso, Arthur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, Charles Chaplin, Igor Stravinsky, and Valentino among her "great loves." When queried about the number of husbands she had, Godowsky responded, "Two of my own, my dear, and several of my friends."
Godowsky died aged 77 in Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan on February 13, 1975. It was the anniversary of her father's birth. Her funeral was held at Riverside Chapel. She was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Westchester, New York. She was survived by her brother, Leopold. He was married to Frances Gershwin, sister of George Gershwin.
- The Red Lantern (1919)
- Bonds of Honor (1919)
- The Kid and the Cowboy (1919)
- Stronger Than Death (1920)
- Hitchin' Posts (1920)
- The Forged Bride (1920)
- The Path She Chose (1920)
- The Trap (1922)
- The Altar Stairs (1922)
- Red Lights (1923)
- The Common Law (1923)
- The Story Without a Name (1924)
- Meddling Women (1924)
- A Sainted Devil (1924)
- Virtuous Liars (1924)
- Roulette (1924)
- Greater Than Marriage (1924)
- Playthings of Desire (1924)
- The Lost Chord (1925)
- Camille of the Barbary Coast (1925)
- The Price of a Party (1926)
- In Borrowed Plumes (1926)
- Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922
- Passenger List SS Washington November 18, 1933
- "Film Actress Given Divorce From Actor". Modesto News-Herald. California, Modesto. Associated Press. August 29, 1926. p. 5. Retrieved May 15, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sachs, Harvey. Arthur Rubinstein: a life. New York: Grove Press, 1995. P.123
- Godowsky, Dagmar. First Person Plural. The Lives of Dagmar Godowsky by Herself. New York: The Viking Press, 1958.
- "Dagmar Godowsky, 78, Vamp Of the Silent Screen, Is Dead", The New York Times, February 14, 1975, Page 35.
- "Frank Mayo Accused By Silent Screen Star", Oakland Tribune, Wednesday Evening, March 18, 1925, Page 1.
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