Saturday, November 3, 2012

Miss Carol Dempster

When I think about Carol Dempster, I think about the girl that no one liked. Which, that isn't exactly true, but Lillian Gish didn't like her...and that is saying something.

Carol Dempster was born in Duluth, Minnesota on December 9, 1901. Her father's name was John, and her mother's name was Carrie. Carol also joined an older brother named Howard. (There is also an older sister named Ethel and an older brother named Dan listed in the 1900 census but are not listed in the 1920 census. So, I am not sure if they passed away or were old enough to get married and move away).

When she was just 15 years old, Carol appeared on screen for the first time in 1916's Intolerance. It was also the beginning of the relationship/partnership that she had with famed director D.W. Griffith.

Carol quickly became a favorite of Griffith's, both on screen and on. This did not sit well with the other "Griffith girls," Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Mae Marsh, and Miriam Cooper. They felt that the way Carol acted was somehow mocking the way they acting. Oh, cat fight!

Her most famous role that she was actually billed for was in Isn't Life Wonderful in 1924. The film was not a big success when it first came out, but it is now considered one of Griffith's best works.

She had a pretty good run in the silents. She didn't make a huge splash like her rival Lillian Gish, but she did appear alongside such big names as John Barrymore, William Powell, and W.C. Fields.

All but two of her almost 20 films were directed by D.W. Griffith. One of her non-Griffith works was 1922's version of Sherlock Holmes.

Carol book ended her film career, and by that I mean she started with a Griffith film and she ended with a Griffith film. Her last screen appearance was in 1926's The Sorrows of Satan with Adolphe Menjou and Lya De Putti.

Carol Dempster passed away on February 1, 1991 in La Jolla, California.

She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Gledale, California.

Carol was married once, to banker Edwin Larson in 1929. They never had children and remained married until his death in 1978.

Perhaps what she is more famous for now is her affair with D.W. Griffith. He first saw her when she was a dancer for the Ruth St. Denis Dancing School.  He soon provided her with dancing and acting lessons to help groom his latest find for the big screen. Apparently, he once asked her to marry him, but she refused. There was quite a big age difference, but that didn't seem to be a problem. D.W. was borderline obsessed with her. The romance must have fizzled in the mid 1920s because she retired from films and then got married. Oh! Did I mention that he was already married when this affair happened? Yeah...

According to an old film magazine from 1920, Carol enjoyed driving her car, all kinds of sports, and riding horses.

She must have enjoyed speeding in said car because in a 1928 news article, it is written that Carole was involved in a car accident that left her hospitalized with deep cuts. They were saying that it may prevent her from being in films again. Guess they were right.

"I just never think about my days in pictures. I am always surprised that anyone remembers me. It was so long ago. So many of my movies were so sad. Maybe my fans would like to know that in real life Carol Dempster had a happy ending." ~~ Carol Dempster

Miss Jetta Goudal

Jetta Goudal was born Juliette Henriette Goudeket on July 12, 1891 in Amsterdam, Holland. Her mother's name was Geertruida, and her father, who worked as a diamond cutter, was named Wolf Mozes. Although, when she began her movie career, she stated that her father was a man named Maurice Goudal, who worked as a lawyer. Maurice did not exist and I am not sure why she listed a fictional name as her father, especially since her real father was still alive.

In 1918, she left Europe for New York where she fashioned herself as a young, French lady who was 10 years younger than she really was. She first appeared on stage in 1921 and was picked up by a movie director pretty quick because she appeared in her first film the following year.

Since California was becoming the new place for movie production, Jetta headed out west to work more on her blossoming film career. She appeared in a few small films before she was brought to the attention of the great Cecil B. DeMille. With DeMille behind the helm she appeared in The Coming of Amos (1925) with Noah Beery, and Three Faces East (1926) with Henry B. Walthall.

The DeMille/Goudal partnership ended bitterly when he started saying how difficult Jetta was to work with. He got so fed up that he fired her and voided her contract. This obviously did not sit well with Jetta, so she filed a lawsuit against him for loss of wages. DeMille countered saying that HE was the one who lost money on Jetta's movies because of her unprofessional behavior that caused filming delays. In a shocking settlement, Jetta was actually the winner of the case mainly due to the fact that DeMille couldn't positively prove that he lost money.

Because of her famous case and the gall she had in suing the famous director, some studios in Hollywood didn't want anything to do with Jetta. She did appear in the 1928 film, The Cardboard Lover with Marion Davies, but big roles were a thing of the past. Her last film was in a talkie called Business and Pleasure (1932) with Will Rogers and Boris Karloff.

Jetta Goudal passed away on July 12, 1985 in Los Angeles.

She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Jetta was married once, to art director Harole Grieve (he was also one of the founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). They were married in 1930 and once she was (forced) to retire, she and her husband ran an interior design company. They remained married until her death, and never had children.

Even after their bitter battle, Jetta and DeMille were on somewhat friendly terms after the end of the case. Jetta continued to fight for Actor's rights as well as unions.

Apparently her first name is pronounced "Zah-hetta." Yeah, I was pronouncing it wrong too.

"I don't like being called a silent star. I was never silent." ~~ Jetta Goudal