Marie Prevost


Actor

About

Also Known As
Mary Bickford Dunn
Birth Place
Sarnia, Ontario, CA
Born
November 08, 1898
Died
January 21, 1937
Cause of Death
Acute Alcoholism Complicated By Malnutrition

Biography

A vivacious, charming leading lady of the silent era, Marie Prevost is, fortunately, remembered for her work in several sparkling Ernst Lubitsch comedies of the 1920s and, unfortunately, also remembered for the grim (if often misrepresented) circumstances of her tragic early demise.Born in Canada, Prevost relocated to Denver and then Los Angeles while still young. After a very brief stin...

Photos & Videos

Three Wise Girls - Lobby Cards
Three Wise Girls - Movie Poster
Three Wise Girls - Behind-the-Scenes Photo

Family & Companions

H B Gerke
Husband
Married 1918, divorced 1923.
Kenneth Harlan
Husband
Actor. Married 1924, separated not long thereafter, but did not divorce until 1929; acted together in several films included "The Beautiful and Damned", "The Married Flapper" (both 1922) and "Bobbed Hair" (1925).

Biography

A vivacious, charming leading lady of the silent era, Marie Prevost is, fortunately, remembered for her work in several sparkling Ernst Lubitsch comedies of the 1920s and, unfortunately, also remembered for the grim (if often misrepresented) circumstances of her tragic early demise.

Born in Canada, Prevost relocated to Denver and then Los Angeles while still young. After a very brief stint as a stenographer, Prevost broke into silent films before the age of 18 as one of the "Bathing Beauties" featured "en masse" in so many of Mack Sennett's comedy shorts. Before long the perky brunette was playing leads, especially after she signed with Universal in 1921. She soon became a prominent embodiment of the Jazz Age in films including "Moonlight Follies" (1921) and "The Married Flapper" (1922).

In 1922, Prevost began her tenure at Warner Bros., with whom she would be associated for over four years during the peak of her career. She soon began a 10-film liaison with leading man Monte Blue and also made three films with her greatest director, Ernst Lubitsch. Recently imported from Germany, Lubitsch quickly became the master of Hollywood sex farce, and Prevost was one of the stars of his breakthrough, "The Marriage Circle" (1924). As flirtatious Mizzi, Prevost attempted to seduce a happily married doctor (Blue) away from his wife, to delightfully witty effect. She enjoyed a change of pace with a dual role in the gangster drama "Cornered" (1924), and continued her fine work for Lubitsch in "Three Women" (1924) and "Kiss Me Again" (1925). A portent of the future occurred in the latter, though, as Prevost was almost outshone by rising newcomer Clara Bow.

Prevost didn't possess the sex appeal of Bow or the pep of Colleen Moore, two stars close to her in type, but her popularity continued in the likes of "Getting Gertie's Garter" (1927). She also starred in the first version of a very similar farce, "Up in Mabel's Room" (1926), one of half a dozen co-starring appearances Prevost made with Harrison Ford (no relation to the modern star) after she signed with Producers Distributing Corporation. When her mother was killed in a car accident, though, Prevost became despondent, and took to the drinking which would eventually kill her.

Prevost was not under contract to a big studio when sound came in, and, as the Jazz Age gave way to the Great Depression, the public looked for new faces in its cinema. Cecil B. DeMille's "The Godless Girl" (1929), plagued by production problems, died at the box office, and Prevost began having weight problems as well. Suddenly, she was relegated to supporting roles: In "Three Wise Girls" (1932), Jean Harlow had the allure and Mae Clarke the drama, while a fourth-billed Prevost struggled gamely with the comic relief. She continued to perform well as Joan Crawford's reckless prison pal in "Paid" (1930) and was especially superb as Barbara Stanwyck's wiseacre crony in "Ladies of Leisure" (1930). By mid-decade, though, Prevost was playing bits in major films and larger parts in "Poverty Row" productions. Kenneth Anger's dishy book "Hollywood Babylon" tells of a sensationalized death by starvation in a desperate attempt to lose weight, and of the hungry, trapped dog who resorted to nibbling on her, but it was really a slow decline from changing audience tastes and that actors' bane, alcoholism, which did in a delicious blaze of 20s Flaming Youth.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Ten Laps to Go (1938)
Elsie
Tango (1936)
Betty Barlow
13 Hours by Air (1936)
Waitress
Bengal Tiger (1936)
Girl in saloon
Cain and Mabel (1936)
Receptionist
Hands Across the Table (1935)
Nona
Only Yesterday (1933)
Amy
Parole Girl (1933)
Jeanie
The Eleventh Commandment (1933)
Tessie Florin
Hell Divers (1932)
Lulu
Carnival Boat (1932)
Babe
Slightly Married (1932)
Nellie
Three Wise Girls (1932)
Dot
The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)
Rosalie
It's a Wise Child (1931)
Annie [Ostrom]
Sporting Blood (1931)
Angela
Gentleman's Fate (1931)
Mabel
Call of the Rockies (1931)
Arleta
The Good Bad Girl (1931)
Trixie
The Runaround (1931)
Margy
Reckless Living (1931)
Alice
War Nurse (1930)
Rosalie
Paid (1930)
Agnes Lynch
Sweethearts on Parade (1930)
Nita
Party Girl (1930)
Diana Hoster
Ladies of Leisure (1930)
Dot Lamar
Divorce Made Easy (1929)
Mabel Deering
The Godless Girl (1929)
Mame
The Flying Fool (1929)
Pat
The Sideshow (1928)
Queenie Parker
The Racket (1928)
Helen Hayes, an entertainer
On to Reno (1928)
Vera
A Blonde for a Night (1928)
Marie
The Rush Hour (1927)
Margie Dolan
The Night Bride (1927)
Cynthia Stockton
The Girl in the Pullman (1927)
Hazel Burton
Getting Gertie's Garter (1927)
Gertie Darling
Other Women's Husbands (1926)
Kay, his wife
Man Bait (1926)
Madge Dreyer
Up in Mabel's Room (1926)
Mabel Ainsworth
The Caveman (1926)
Myra Gaylord
Almost a Lady (1926)
Marcia Blake, a gownshop model
His Jazz Bride (1926)
Gloria Gregory
For Wives Only (1926)
Laura Rittenhaus
Seven Sinners (1925)
Molly Brian
Recompense (1925)
Julie Gamelyn
Bobbed Hair (1925)
Connemara Moore
Kiss Me Again (1925)
Loulou Fleury
The Lover of Camille (1924)
Marie Duplessis
How To Educate a Wife (1924)
Mabel Todd
Daughters of Pleasure (1924)
Marjory Hadley
The Dark Swan (1924)
Eve Quinn
Being Respectable (1924)
Valerie Winship
Cornered (1924)
Mary Brennan/Margaret Waring
The Marriage Circle (1924)
Mizzi Stock
Tarnish (1924)
Nettie Dark
Three Women (1924)
Harriet
The Wanters (1923)
Myra Hastings
Red Lights (1923)
Ruth Carson
Brass (1923)
Marjorie Jones
The Beautiful and Damned (1923)
Gloria
Heroes of the Street (1922)
Betty Beaton
The Married Flapper (1922)
Pamela Billings
Don't Get Personal (1922)
Patricia Parker
Kissed (1922)
Constance Keener
Her Night of Nights (1922)
Molly May Mahone
The Dangerous Little Demon (1922)
Teddy Harmon
A Small Town Idol (1921)
Marcelle Mansfield
Moonlight Follies (1921)
Nan Rutledge
Nobody's Fool (1921)
Polly Gordon
A Parisian Scandal (1921)
Liane-Demarest
Love, Honor and Behave (1920)
Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919)
A Belgian girl
When Love Is Blind (1919)
East Lynne With Variations (1919)
Unto Those Who Sin (1916)
Celeste

Life Events

1916

Began career in films as a bathing beauty in Mack Sennett comedy shorts; soon promoted to leading lady

1921

Left Sennett Studios; signed by Universal

1922

First film for Warner Bros., "The Beautiful and the Damned", based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel

1923

Made first film opposite Monte Blue at Warner Bros., "Brass"

1924

Starred in three films directed by Ernst Lubitsch: "The Marriage Circle" (1924), "Three Women" (1924) and "Kiss Me Again" (1925)

1926

Signed with Producers Releasing Corporation; made the first of six films directed by E. Mason Hopper; also began making a series of six films co-starring silent screen actor Harrison Ford

1930

Began playing almost exclusively supporting roles in features including "Paid" and "Ladies of Leisure"

1934

With less and less work coming in, Prevost sold her Malibu home and moved into a small apartment located at 6230 Afton Place, near Sunset Blvd. in the middle of Hollywood (date approximate)

1936

Last film, "Cain and Mabel"; played a bit part

Photo Collections

Three Wise Girls - Lobby Cards
Three Wise Girls - Lobby Cards
Three Wise Girls - Movie Poster
Three Wise Girls - Movie Poster
Three Wise Girls - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Three Wise Girls - Behind-the-Scenes Photo

Videos

Movie Clip

Gentleman's Fate (1931) - He Don't Look Like You Now informed that he’s not an orphan as he’d been told his whole life, and that he has a gangster father who’s about to die across the river in Jersey City, New Yorker Jack (John Gilbert) meets thug Mike (George Cooper), Mabel (Marie Prevost), and his brother Frank (Louis Wolheim), in Gentleman’s Fate, 1931.
Racket, The (1928) - Dirty Little Gold Digger Capone-based gangster Scarsi (Louis Wolheim) is throwing a birthday party for his innocent college man little brother Joe (George E. Stone), so there's trouble when showgirl Helen (Marie Prevost) starts taking liberties, in director Lewis Milestone's The Racket, 1928.
Hands Across The Table - Up Where The Rich Live Regi (Carole Lombard), with pal Nona (Marie Prevost), arriving at work, sent upstairs to give a manicure to Allen (Ralph Bellamy), who is duly charmed, opening Mitchell Leisen's Hands Across The Table, 1935.
Hands Across The Table - Future Hopscotch Champion Manicurist Regi (Carole Lombard), en route back to her shop in the hotel lobby, bumps into oddball Ted (Fred MacMurray), who gives chase, meeting her boss (Ruth Donnelly) and pal (Marie Prevost), in Mitchell Leisen's Hands Across The Table, 1935.
Paid (1930) - I Said Disrobe! Wrongly (of course) convicted Mary (Joan Crawford) being inducted to prison, various shocks, then making friends with Aggie (Marie Prevost), in Paid, 1930, directed by Sam Wood.
Sin Of Madelon Claudet, The - A Remarkable Child! Well-heeled and living in Paris, Madelon (Helen Hayes) drops in on friends Victor (Cliff Edwards) and Rosalie (Marie Prevost) who care for her secret child, in The Sin Of Madelon Claudet, 1931.
Sin Of Madelon Claudet, The - Take It Away! Unwed Madelon (Helen Hayes) calls her newborn "it" and is horrified, but won over by the child and friend Rosalie (Marie Prevost), in The Sin Of Madelon Claudet, 1931, from a script by Hayes' husband Charles MacArthur.
Ladies of Leisure - Open, Look Out Below! Opening credits, a substantial social statement, and the introduction of Jerry (Ralph Graves) and Standish (Lowell Sherman), from Frank Capra's Ladies of Leisure, 1930, also starring Barbara Stanwyck.
Ladies of Leisure - You Can't Weigh Sex Appeal Regrouping after nights on the town, room-mates Dot (Marie Prevost) and Kay (Barbara Stanwyck) review their results and prospects, in Frank Capra's provocative Ladies of Leisure, 1930.

Trailer

Family

Margaret Prevost
Sister
Actor. Acted in a number of silent films including "The Old Swimmin' Hole" (1921) and "The Fog" (1923); survived Marie.

Companions

H B Gerke
Husband
Married 1918, divorced 1923.
Kenneth Harlan
Husband
Actor. Married 1924, separated not long thereafter, but did not divorce until 1929; acted together in several films included "The Beautiful and Damned", "The Married Flapper" (both 1922) and "Bobbed Hair" (1925).

Bibliography