Lillian Worth

Lillian Worth (born Lillian Burgher Murphy, June 24, 1884 – February 23, 1952) was an American actress. She appeared in 58 films between 1913 and 1937.

Lillian Worth
Worth in 1914
Lillian Burgher Murphy

(1884-06-24)June 24, 1884
DiedFebruary 23, 1952(1952-02-23) (aged 67)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Years active1909–1937
Benjamin Platt Wiggins
(m. 1905; div. 1914)

Erville Alderson
(m. 1918; div. 1925)

Early life and career

Lillian Burgher Murphy was born on June 24, 1884, in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Katherine Stahler and John B. Murphy.[1][2] After she married in 1905, she began using her husband's surname as her stage name; and by 1909 she, as Lillian Wiggins, had gained public attention and favorable reviews for her performance in the theatrical production The Beauty Spot.[3] By early 1913, she was a leading actress at Pathé's West Coast studio in Edendale, Los Angeles, where she starred in Western films. Pathé transferred Wiggins a few months later to its East Coast studio in Jersey City, New Jersey, and then in October 1913 to its new Southern studio in St. Augustine, Florida.[4][5][6] In March 1914, Pathé once again relocated her, dispatching her to Europe, where she worked at the company's Paris studio before moving to London. There she made films first for British and Colonial Kinematography Company and then for Motograph Film Company.

Wiggins returned to the United States in September 1914 and the next year started performing in films for Deer Film Company.[7][8][9][10] Following the dissolution of her first marriage, she married again in 1918. She, however, elected not to use her second husband's surname professionally; instead, she adopted the new stage name Lillian Worth, which is how she continued to be credited until 1937.[11]

Personal life and death

Lillian Worth was married twice. On May 3, 1905, she married Benjamin Platt Wiggins in Brooklyn, New York. The couple separated after a couple of years, and she filed for divorce in Reno, Nevada in 1911, although on that occasion she did not obtain the divorce. She filed again in Los Angeles, California, and was finally granted a divorce in 1914.[12][13] She then married Erville Alderson, an American actor, on January 14, 1918, in Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. That marriage too ended in divorce in 1925.[14][15]

Worth died at age 67 in Los Angeles, California, on February 23, 1952. In death records from that time, she is identified as Lillian Alderson despite the fact that she had divorced Erville Alderson 27 years earlier.[16] Her gravesite is located at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Selected filmography


  1. New York, Passenger Lists, August 1, 1912, "President Grant," entries for Catherine Murphy and Lillian Wiggins.
  2. New York, Passenger Lists, June 15, 1925, "Deutschland," entries for Katherine Murphy and Lillian Alderson.
  3. Jefferson De Angelis Scores In 'The Beauty Spot,'" Repository (Canton, Ohio), May 9, 1909, p. 23.
  4. "She's 'Convert" Of Outdoor Living," Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, Ohio), June 6, 1913, p. 8 c. 2.
  5. "Showgirl Of Two Years Ago Today Is Star In the Movies," Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), December 7, 1913, sec. 5 p. 2.
  6. "Lillian Wiggins of Pathe," Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), December 14, 1914, p. 14 c. 3.
  7. "Letters to the Editor," Motion Picture Magazine (Brooklyn, New York), vol. 8 no. 11 (December 1914), p. 166-7.
  8. New York, Passenger Lists, September 24, 1914, "New York," entry for Lillian Wiggins.
  9. A Shattered Romance at
  10. Her Atonement at
  11. Lillian Worth at
  12. Beauty Spot Girl Sues; Lillian Wiggins, Claiming Desertion, Asks Divorce," Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), February 7, 1911, p. 2 c. 6.
  13. Pathe Actress Wants Divorce," Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), December 19, 1914, p. 12 c. 1.
  14. Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics, entry for Lillian Burgher Wiggins and Erville Alderson.
  15. U.S. Passport Applications, Certificate No. 504750, January 12, 1925, for "Lillian Alderson, professionally known as Lillian Worth."
  16. "California, Death Index, 1940-1997", entry for Lillian Alderson.
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