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Kathlyn Williams

Kathlyn Williams

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Also Known As: Died: September 23, 1960
Born: May 31, 1888 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Butte, Montana, USA Profession: actor, director, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Athletic blonde star of the first successful movie serial, Kathlyn Williams was a major film player from the early 1910s and later became an equally busy character actress. The Montana native was active in stock companies when signed by Col. William Selig to star for his Chicago-based film company in 1910. Williams specialized in action films, often co-starring the famed Selig zoo animals. She made scores of films in the early 1910s, but it was "The Adventures of Kathlyn" (1913-1914) which earned her a place in the history books.This action/adventure serial pre-dated "The Perils of Pauline," and was so popular it was largely responsible for the serial craze of the late 1910s. Williams continued starring for Selig until 1916, when she moved with her new husband, executive Charles Eyton, to Paramount. She continued as a leading lady until the mid-1920s, by which time her frankly middle-aged looks typecast her as a character actress. She mothered such stars as Greta Garbo ("The Single Standard") and Anita Page ("Our Dancing Daughters") before retiring shortly after the advent of talkies.

Athletic blonde star of the first successful movie serial, Kathlyn Williams was a major film player from the early 1910s and later became an equally busy character actress. The Montana native was active in stock companies when signed by Col. William Selig to star for his Chicago-based film company in 1910. Williams specialized in action films, often co-starring the famed Selig zoo animals. She made scores of films in the early 1910s, but it was "The Adventures of Kathlyn" (1913-1914) which earned her a place in the history books.

This action/adventure serial pre-dated "The Perils of Pauline," and was so popular it was largely responsible for the serial craze of the late 1910s. Williams continued starring for Selig until 1916, when she moved with her new husband, executive Charles Eyton, to Paramount. She continued as a leading lady until the mid-1920s, by which time her frankly middle-aged looks typecast her as a character actress. She mothered such stars as Greta Garbo ("The Single Standard") and Anita Page ("Our Dancing Daughters") before retiring shortly after the advent of talkies.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Rendezvous at Midnight (1935) Mrs. Dewey
2.
 Blood Money (1933) Mannish girl
3.
 Unholy Love (1932) Mrs. Bradford
4.
 Daddy Long Legs (1931) Mrs. Pendleton
5.
 Road to Paradise (1930) Mrs. Wells
6.
 The Single Standard (1929) Mrs. Glendenning
7.
 Wedding Rings (1929) Agatha
8.
 A Single Man (1929) Mrs. Cottrell
9.
 Honeymoon Flats (1928) Mrs. Garland
10.
 We Americans (1928) Mrs. Bradleigh
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1910:
Film debut, "Gold Is Not All"
1910:
Signed with Selig (through 1916)
1912:
Screenwriting and directing debut, "The Last Dance" (also starred)
1913:
Starred in "The Adventures of Kathlyn," first successful movie serial
1917:
Signed with Paramount (through 1926)
1929:
Talking film debut, "Wedding Rings"
1935:
Last film, "Rendezvous at Midnight"
1949:
Lost leg in a car accident
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Wesleyan University: Middletown , Connecticut -
Empire School of Acting: New York , New York -

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Victor Kainer. Married in 1913; divorced c. 1915.
husband:
Charles Eyton. Producer, actor. Married in 1916; divorced in 1931.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Victor Kainer Jr. Died of fever on trip to China in 1920s.

Contributions

shadycady ( 2010-05-10 )

Source: not available

Most of her her early biographical information is incorrect. I have done extensive research on Kathlyn Williams' early life through historical documents and newspaper articles. I have copies of her college programs from 1899 to 1901, so her birth year could not have been 1888. I received them from the Montana Historical Society. Kathlyn Williams was born on May 31, 1879 in Butte, Montana to Joseph E., a hotel proprietor, and Mary C. Boe Williams. Her father was of Welsh heritage and her mother was born in Norway. Although Williams birth year has been disputed throughout her career, she was in fact born in 1879 according to the 1880 Census for Silver Bow County, Montana. As a child, Williams became interested in acting, and as a teenager in the late 1890s she was enrolled at Montana Wesleyan University in Helena where she majored in elocution and voice. She won several awards for elocution and voice, and she graduated from there in 1901. She performed in several theatrical productions in Butte where many of her roles were highly praised by the local citizens. She caught the attention of Senator William Clark who helped finance her acting career by attending the Sargent School of Acting and the Academy of Dramatic Art in New York City. After receiving extensive acting lessons from both schools, she became a member of a touring acting group called Norris&Hall and Company where she played the lead role of Phyllis Ericson in "When We Were Twenty-One" from 1902 to 1903. Williams married Otto Hugo Kainer, an import and export businessman on Wall Street on October 3, 1903 according to court documents. Their son, Victor Hugo Kainer, was born in 1905 in New York City. Williams was never able to get rid of the acting bug, and she divorced Kainer in the state of Nevada in 1909. She, therefor, revived her acting career. She married fellow actor, Frank R. Allen, in 1903 in Los Angeles, but they separated a year later, and she married movie executive Charles Eyton in 1916 until 1931. Her son, Victor Kainer Eyton, died in February 1922 of complications from the influenza in Los Angeles at Good Samaritan Hospital according to an article from the Los Angeles Times. (He did not get sick going to the Orient) The Eytons took a 4 months trip to the Orient after their son died to help them overcome their grief.

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