Edna Flugrath

Edna Flugrath (December 29, 1892 – April 6, 1966) was the eldest of three sisters who found fame as silent film stars.

Edna Flugrath
Flugrath, c. 1920
Born(1892-12-29)December 29, 1892
DiedApril 6, 1966(1966-04-06) (aged 73)
RelativesViola Dana (sister)
Shirley Mason (sister)

Early life

Edna was the first born of Emil and Mary (née Dubois) Flugrath. Her father, a printer by trade, was the son of Polish-German immigrants[1] and had at one time been considered a talented amateur athlete.[2] Mary Dubois was born in New York. Some years later when their daughters were working on films, the Flugraths moved to the West Coast where they became popular on movie sets conversing with curious Hollywood tourists.[2] Mary Flugrath died in Los Angeles in 1922 at the age of 55. Her husband died there 20 years later, aged 74.[3][4][5]


Edna began working on stage at a very early age appearing in vaudeville shows, legitimate theater and ballet. Before she had turned twenty Edna had tired of the road and decided to try her hand working in the fledgling film industry.[6] She began as a stock player with The Edison Film Company and eventually was given starring roles in one or two reel productions that were common for that period.[6] At some point during her time with Edison she became involved with director Harold Marvin Shaw and later followed him to England after her contract with Edison had expired. Edna achieved some success as a leading lady working with Shaw in England but left acting after they married in Johannesburg, South Africa while filming Die Voortrekkiers (1917).[7] Three years later she attempted a comeback working on a few films for the London Film Company and Stoll Pictures before returning to America where she found it difficult to get work.[6]

Later life

Eventually Edna gave up on acting and opened a beauty salon in Hollywood. Her husband later became secretary for the Motion Picture Directors’ Association. On January 30, 1926, while driving in Los Angeles, Harold Marvin Shaw was killed instantly in a head-on collision. He was 48 years old and a native of Tennessee. Coincidentally, all three of the Flugrath sisters married motion picture directors, Shaw, Bernard Durning and John Collins, who all died prematurely.[8] Sometime around 1930 Edna next married Halliburton (or Haliberton) Houghton, a broker from Dallas, Texas. In the years to follow, Edna became estranged from her sisters Leonie (Shirley Mason) and Virginia (Viola Dana), a rift that lasted until the end of her life.[6]


Edna Flugrath died in San Diego in 1966,[9] some seven years after her husband’s passing. Her sisters did not immediately learn of her death until notified by a stranger (most likely a reporter).[6]

Selected filmography


  1. 1900 US Census Records
  2. The Oakland Tribune, October 2, 1921.
  3. Chicago Daily Tribune, December 1, 1922.
  4. The Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1942
  5. US Passport Application, dated April 12, 1916.
  6. Lowe, Denise. An encyclopedic dictionary of women in early American films, 1895-1930
  7. Silent Players: a biographical and autobiographical study of 100 silent film actors and actresses
  8. Ogden Standard-Examiner, February 21, 1926
  9. California Death Index
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