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Mabel Normand

Mabel Normand

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Also Known As: Muriel Fortescue Died: February 23, 1930
Born: November 9, 1892 Cause of Death: pneumonia and tuberculosis
Birth Place: Staten Island, New York, USA Profession: Cast ... actor director model
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BIOGRAPHY

Widely considered to be the first major comedienne, and perhaps cinema's first comic star, actress Mabel Normand was rambunctious and non-conformist while exuding an ineffable charm and gentleness on screen. She rivaled her contemporaries Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle as one of early Hollywood's top box office draws, while more often than not starring alongside both. After starting her film career with D.W. Griffith at the Biograph Company, she rose to stardom under the direction of Mack Sennett at his Keystone Studios, with whom she had a tumultuous romance. Because she never received her acting training in the theater - her entire education came on set - Normand was never prone to mugging for the camera like many of her silent film contemporaries, thus pioneering a more naturalistic form of acting. She became box office star with such Sennett film as "At Coney Island (1912) and "The Bangville Police" (1913), while making her mark alongside Arbuckle in "For the Love of Mabel" (1913), "Mabel and Fatty's Simple Life" (1915) and "Fatty and Mabel Adrift" (1915). During this time, Normand also developed into a capable director, and even orchestrated several early Chaplin efforts, including his first appearance as The Tramp in "Mabel's Strange Predicament" (1914). But in the latter half of the decade, Normand became increasingly unreliable due to late nights and drug abuse. In the early 1920s, she became embroiled in three separate scandals, effectively ending her career. Meanwhile, her health rapidly declined from tuberculosis and she died in 1930. Though remembered more for her involvement in the scandals of the early 1920s, Normand possessed both the talent and success to be ranked alongside the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as one of early cinema's finest comic talents.

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