Neva Gerber

Genevieve Dolores Gerber (April 3, 1894 January 2, 1974) was an American silent film actress who appeared in 128 films between 1912 and 1930.

Neva Gerber
Gerber on cover of Reel Life, 1915
Genevieve Dolores Gerber

(1894-04-03)April 3, 1894
DiedJanuary 2, 1974(1974-01-02) (aged 79)
Resting placeDesert Memorial Park
Other namesJean Dolores
Genevieve Millett
Years active19121930
Arthur Nelson Millett (m. 19131920)

Edward Dana Nolan (m.1923–19??)
W.A. Booth (m.19??19??)
William Munchoff (m.19??1960)
Partner(s)William Desmond Taylor (19141919)

Early life and career

She was born in Argenta, Illinois, to S. Nelson Gerber and Jean Pullman.[1] Her parents separated when she was young and her mother moved her to Los Angeles, California. She was raised by nuns from the College of the Immaculate Heart. After the death of her father, Gerber's impoverished mother gave guardianship of her daughter to an attorney.[2]

After her graduation from high school, Gerber became an actress and appeared in several one-reelers. Her film debut came in The Flower Girl's Romance (1912).[3] Beginning in 1917, she starred in multiple serial films, and she is considered one of the top ten "serial queens" of the silent film period. She teamed with director and actor Ben F. Wilson in many of these productions,[4] and starred in the first crude sound era serial, The Voice from the Sky, also directed by Wilson. However, her career stalled in 1930 after Wilson died from heart disease. Gerber retired from acting shortly thereafter.[1]

Personal life and death

Gerber's first marriage was to actor Arthur Nelson Millett on July 22, 1913. They separated the following year. In 1915, she became engaged to director William Desmond Taylor. The two never married because Gerber was still married to Millett (their divorce became final in 1920), and Taylor was murdered in February 1922. The following year Gerber married contractor Edward Dana Nolan. They later divorced. She remained married to her fourth husband, contractor William Munchoff, until his death in 1960.[1]

On January 2, 1974, Gerber died of a cerebral thrombosis in Palm Springs, California. She was buried in a "pauper's grave" in Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.[1]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1912 The Flower Girl's Romance Bessie Berkow Short film
1912 The Water Rights War Mabel Short film
1913 The Redemption Ogle - the Nursemaid Short film
1914 Mrs. Peyton's Pearls Eleanor Barton - the Daughter Short film
1914 The Judge's Wife Mrs. Livingston
1915 The Madonna Gertie Short film
1915 Little Chrysanthemum Little Chrysanthemum Short film
1916 The Impersonation Rhoda Lyons
1916 The Mansard Mystery Brina Short film
1917 The Voice on the Wire Polly Marion Film serial
1917 The Mystery Ship Betty Lee Film series
Lost film
1918 Hell Bent Bess Thurston Alternative title: The Three Bad Men
1918 Three Mounted Men Lola Masters Lost film
Alternative title: Three Wounded Men
1919 Roped Aileen Lost film
1919 A Fight for Love Kate McDougal Lost film
1919 The Trail of the Octopus Ruth Stanhope Film serial
1920 The Screaming Shadow Mary Landers Film serial
Lost film
1920 Bill's Wife Short film
1921 A Yankee Go Getter Lucia Robilant/Vera Robilant
1921 The Mysterious Pearl Ariel/The Pearl Film serial
1922 The Price of Youth Adela Monmouth
1922 Impulse Julia Merrifield
1923 In the West Florence Jackson
1923 The Santa Fe Trail Film serial
Lost film
1924 Sagebrush Gospel Lucy Sanderson
1924 Days of '49 Sierra Sutter Film serial
1925 The Power God Aileen Sturgess Film serial
1925 A Daughter of the Sioux Nanette
1926 Officer 444 Gloria Grey Film serial
1926 West of the Law Alice Armstrong
1927 The Range Riders Betty Grannan
1927 Hell Hounds of the Plains Esther Lawson
1928 The Old Code Lola
1928 The Lone Patrol Credited as Jean Dolores
1929 The Saddle King Felice Landreau
1929 Thundering Thompson Maria Valerian
1930 The Voice From the Sky Jean Lowell Credited as Jean Dolores
1930 A Woman's Justice Credited as Jean Dolores


  1. Doyle, Billy (February 1999). "Whatever Became of Neva Gerber ?". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  2. Lowe, Denise (2004). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films, 18951930. Haworth Press. pp. 234–236. ISBN 0-7890-1843-8.
  3. Mayer, Geoff (2017). Encyclopedia of American Film Serials. McFarland. pp. 134–135. ISBN 9781476627199. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  4. Strickland, A.W.; Ackerman, Forrest J. (1981). A reference guide to American science fiction films. T.I.S. Publications Division. p. 188. ISBN 0-89917-268-7.
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