Mary Loretta Philbin (July 16, 1902 – May 7, 1993) was an American film actress of the silent film era, who is best known for playing the roles of Christine Daaé in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera opposite Lon Chaney, and as Dea in The Man Who Laughs. Both roles cast her as the beauty in Beauty and the Beast-type stories.
Philbin c. 1920
Mary Loretta Philbin
July 16, 1902
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||May 7, 1993 90) (aged|
Philbin began her acting career after winning a beauty contest sponsored by Universal Pictures in Chicago. Relocating to California, Erich von Stroheim signed her to a contract with Universal, deeming her a "Universal Super Jewel."
She made her screen debut in 1921 and the following year was awarded at the first annual WAMPAS Baby Stars awards, a promotional campaign sponsored by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers in the United States, which honoured thirteen young women each year whom they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom.
Over the course of 1920s, Philbin became a successful film actress and starred in a number of high-profile films, most notably in D. W. Griffith's 1928 film Drums of Love. In 1927, she appeared in the horror film Surrender, though her most celebrated role was in the Universal horror film The Phantom of the Opera in 1925. Philbin's ethereal screen presence was noted in a 1924 edition of Motion Picture Classic, in which she was referred to as "one of the astonishing anomalies of motion pictures...Pat O'Malley once said of her: "If I were superstitious I would think that the spirit of some great tragedienne of a forgotten past slipped into Mary's soul."
Philbin played a few parts during the early talkie era and most notably dubbed her own voice when The Phantom of the Opera was given sound and re-released. She retired from the screen in the early 1930s and devoted her life to care for her aging parents.
Later life and death
Philbin spent the remainder of her life after leaving the film industry as a recluse, living in the same home in Huntington Beach, California. She never married and rarely made public appearances. One rare public appearance by Philbin occurred in her later years at the Los Angeles opening of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera.
|1921||The Blazing Trail||Talithy Millicuddy|
|1921||Danger Ahead||Tressie Harloow|
|1921||Twelve Hours to Live||Short|
|1921||No Clothes to Guide Him||Short|
|1921||Red Courage||Eliza Fay||Lost film|
|1921||Sure Fire||Lost film|
|1922||Foolish Wives||Crippled girl||Uncredited|
|1922||The Trouper||Mary Lee||Lost film|
|1922||His First Job||Jimmy's Sweetheart|
|1922||Once to Every Boy||Jimmy's Sweetheart|
|1923||Penrod and Sam||Margaret Schofield|
|1923||Where Is This West?||Sallie Summers|
|1923||The Age of Desire||Margy (age 18)|
|1923||The Temple of Venus||Moira|
|1923||The Thrill Chaser||Herself||Cameo appearance|
|1924||Fools Highway||Mamie Rose||Lost film|
|1924||The Gaiety Girl||Irene Tudor||Lost film|
|1924||The Rose of Paris||Mitsi|
|1925||The Phantom of the Opera||Christine Daaé|
|1925||Fifth Avenue Models||Isoel Ludant|
|1925||Stella Maris||Stella Maris / Unity Blake|
|1927||Love Me and the World Is Mine||Hannerl|
|1928||Drums of Love||Princess Emanuella|
|1928||The Man Who Laughs||Dea|
|1929||Port of Dreams||Joan|
|1929||Girl Overboard||Joan||Lost film|
|1929||The Last Performance||Julie Fergeron|
|1929||The Shannons of Broadway||Tessie Swanzey|
|1929||After the Fog||Faith Barker||(final film role)|
Notes and references
- Resting Places
- "California Death Index, 1940–1997," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VP2K-JTB : 26 November 2014), Mary Loretta Philbin, 07 May 1993; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.
- Slide 2002, p. 307.
- "Recently Noted". The Catholic Charities Review. 26–27: 70. 1942.
- Sanchez 1930, p. 159.
- Beck 1978, p. 63.
- Beck 1978, p. 62.
- "Tears". Motion Picture Classic. 20–21: 41. 1924.
- Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 588. ISBN 978-1476625997. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
- Beck, Calvin Thomas (1978). Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-020-12140-4.
- Sanchez, Nellie Van de Grift (1930). California and Californians. 3. The Lewis Publishing Co.
- Slide, Anthony (2002). Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-813-12249-6.