Sally O'Neil

Sally O'Neil (born Virginia Louise Concepta Noonan, October 23, 1908 June 18, 1968) was an American film actress of the 1920s. She appeared in more than 40 films, often with her name above the title.[1]

Sally O'Neil
Born(1908-10-23)October 23, 1908
DiedJune 18, 1968(1968-06-18) (aged 59)
Resting placeMemorial Park Cemetery, Galesburg, Illinois
Other namesVirginia Louise Noonan
Years active1925 - 1937
Spouse(s)Stewart S. Battles (1953-1968)

Early years

O'Neil was one of 9 children born to Mr. and Mrs. F.T. Noonan in Bayonne, New Jersey. Her father was a lawyer and a judge.[1] One of her sisters was actress Suzanne Dobson Noonan, an actress known professionally as Molly O'Day.[2] Another sister, Isabelle, also acted in films.[3]


Convent-educated, she started her career in vaudeville, billed as Chotsie Noonan and known for her petite but curvaceous frame and curly brown hair. She was teamed with Constance Bennett and Joan Crawford in the MGM film Sally, Irene and Mary (1925), directed by Edmund Goulding, which was "her big break."[3]

She was paired with Crawford again as a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1926.[4] Her fame began to subside after sound films replaced silent pictures; she also had a problem with stage fright.

Her pictures include The Brat, a 1931 pre-Code film directed by John Ford and screened at New York City's Museum of Modern Art in November 2016. A showcase for O'Neil, the movie involves a brash chorus girl's effect upon a snobbish family when their son brings her home in order to research a novel.


O'Neil appeared on Broadway in When We Are Married (1940).[5]

Later years

By the late 1930s, her film career was over, but she continued on stage and toured with the USO until the 1950s.

Personal life

In October 1953, O'Neil married businessman S.S. Battles. They divorced in 1957, but they soon remarried.[1]:13


O'Neil died of pneumonia in Galesburg, Illinois, aged 59, on June 18, 1968.[1]:13

Partial filmography


  1. O'Dell, Cary (October 2016). "The Movie Star Next Door: Sally O'Neil". Classic Images (496): 6–13.
  2. "Easy Come, Easy Go in Movies; Sisters Now Are Bankrupt". Albuquerque Journal. New Mexico, Albuquerque. United Press. November 10, 1930. p. 2. Retrieved October 18, 2016 via
  3. Villecco, Tony (2001). Silent Stars Speak: Interviews with Twelve Cinema Pioneers. McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 9780786482092. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  4. Thomas, Dan (July 11, 1934). "The Tough Job of Being a Prophet in Hollywood". The Edwardsville Intelligencer. Illinois, Edwardsville. p. 5.
  5. "("Sally O'Neil" search results)". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
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