Bessie Love (1898-1986)

Bessie Love - Silent and Sound Movie Star

Silent film star Bessie Love was born Juanita Horton on September 10th, 1898 in Midland, Texas. She attended school in Midland until she was in the eighth grade, after which her chiropractor father moved the family to Hollywood. Bessie graduated from Los Angeles High School and then received a graduation present from her parents of a trip around the United States. After six months of traveling to the cities of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans, Salt Lake City and Detroit she finally returned home to Los Angeles. She was introduced to D.W. Griffith who, seeing how pretty she was, gave her small roles in his landmark films “The Birth Of A Nation” (1915) and in “Intolerance” (1916). It was Griffith who renamed Juanita “Bessie Love”. Bessie worked for Fine Arts Film Company and Triangle, and became popular with audiences, working well with actors like Douglas Fairbanks in “Reggie Mixes In” (1916) and with William S. Hart in “The Aryan” (1916). She gave a fine performance in the strange little Sherlock Holmes parody film “The Mystery of the Leaping Fish” (1916). She then moved to Vitagraph Studios and starred in a number of comedies and dramas. Throughout the 1920’s she continued to act in even more significant films, such as “St. Elmo” (1923) opposite John Gilbert, “Those Who Dance” (1924) with Blanche Sweet, and “The King on Main Street” (1925), with Adolphe Menjou, in which she danced the first Charleston on screen. She also played a major role in “The Lost World” (1925), the first dinosaur film made by Hollywood. Bessie gave some of her best performances in Cecil B. DeMille’s lavish “Dress Parade” (1927), and in Frank Capra’s “The Matinee Idol” (1928).

When the sound era arrived, Bessie made the transition triumphantly, receiving an Academy Award nomination for her role in the early M-G-M musical “The Broadway Melody” (1929). However, by 1932 her American film career was waning. She moved to England in 1935 and did stage work and occasional films in that country. As war loomed she returned to the States for awhile, worked for the Red Cross, and entertained the troops. After the war she moved back to Great Britain where she kept her primary residence, and continued to play sporadic minor film roles for film companies in both the US and Britain. She appeared in pictures like “The Barefoot Contessa” (1954) with Humphrey Bogart, and as an American tourist in one of my all time favorite films “The Greengage Summer” (1961) starring Kenneth More. Bessie showed her tenacity to keep going in show business despite old age by playing in a handful of low budget movies and television films from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. She even appeared in small roles in the big budget movies “Ragtime” (1981), starring James Cagney, and “Reds” (1981), starring Warren Beatty. Her last film was made in 1983; her career had spanned an incredible seven decades. Bessie was married once, from 1929 to 1935, to film producer William Hawks (director Howard Hawk’s brother), and she had a daughter from that marriage. She wrote a play called “The Homecoming” in 1958. She died in London, England from natural causes on April 26th, 1986. ~ Copyright © 2004

Bessie Love’s Silent Films

Anybody Here Seen Kelly? (1928) …. Mitzi Lavelle
… aka Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly? (1928) (UK)
Sally of the Scandals (1928) …. Sally Rand
Matinee Idol, The (1928) …. Ginger Bolivar
American, The (1927)
… aka Flag Maker, The (1927)
Dress Parade (1927) …. Janet Cleghorne
Amateur Night (1927) …. (unconfirmed)
Harp in Hock, A (1927) …. Nora Banks
… aka Samaritan, The (1927)
Rubber Tires (1927) …. Mary Ellen Stack
… aka Ten Thousand Reward (1927)
Going Crooked (1926) …. Marie
Young April (1926) …. Victoria
Meet the Prince (1926)

Bessie Love - Silent and Sound Film Actress

Girlish and feminine silent star Bessie Love in a pensive pose

Lovey Mary (1926) …. Lovey Mary
… aka Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1926)
Song and Dance Man, The (1926) …. Leola Lane
Bulldog Courage (1925) …. Gloria Phillips
Marqueray’s Duel (1925)
New Brooms (1925) …. Geraldine Marsh
Woman on the Jury, The (1925) …. Grace Pierce
King on Main Street, The (1925) …. Bessie Humphreys
Son of His Father, A (1925) …. Nora Shea
Soul-Fire (1925) …. Teita
Lost World, The (1925) (as Miss Bessie Love) …. Miss Paula White
Tongues of Flame (1924) …. Lahleet
Sundown (1924) …. Ellen Crawley
Dynamite Smith (1924) …. Violet
Silent Watcher, The (1924) …. Mary, his wife
Those Who Dance (1924) …. Veda Carney
Torment (1924) …. Marie
Gentle Julia (1923) …. Julia
Slave of Desire (1923) …. Pauline Gaudin
St. Elmo (1923/I) …. Edna Earle
Eternal Three, The (1923) …. Hilda Gray
Purple Dawn (1923) …. Mui Far
Souls for Sale (1923) …. Celebrity
Ghost Patrol, The (1923) …. Effie Kugler
Three Who Paid (1923) …. John Caspar/Virginia Cartwright
… aka Three Men to Pay (1923)
Deserted at the Altar (1922) …. Anna Moore (the country girl)
Village Blacksmith, The (1922) …. Rosemary, His Daughter
Forget Me Not (1922) …. Ann, The Girl
Vermilion Pencil, The (1922) …. Hyacinth
Sea Lion, The (1921) …. Nymph
Swamp, The (1921) …. Mary
Penny of Top Hill Trail (1921) …. Penny
Midlanders, The (1920) …. Aurelie Lindstrom
Bonnie May (1920) …. Bonnie May
Pegeen (1920) …. Pegeen O’Neill
Fighting Colleen, A (1919) …. Alannah Malone
Over the Garden Wall (1919) …. Peggy Gordon
Cupid Forecloses (1919) …. Geraldine Farleigh
Little Boss, The (1919) …. Peggy Winston (The Little Boss)
Yankee Princess, A (1919) …. Patsy O’Reilly
Wishing Ring Man, The (1919) …. Joy Havenith
Carolyn of the Corners (1919) …. Carolyn May Cameron
Enchanted Barn, The (1919) …. Shirley Hollister
Great Adventure, The (1918) …. Rags
Dawn of Understanding, The (1918) …. Sue Prescott
Little Sister of Everybody, A (1918) …. Celeste Janvier
How Could You, Caroline? (1918) …. Caroline Rogers
Polly Ann (1917) …. Polly Ann
… aka Pernickety Polly Ann (1917)
Wee Lady Betty (1917) …. Wee Lady Betty
Sawdust Ring (1917) …. Janet Magie
Cheerful Givers (1917) …. Judy
Daughter of the Poor, A (1917) …. Rose Eastman
… aka Spitfire, The (1917)
Nina, the Flower Girl (1917) …. Nina
Heiress at Coffee Dan’s (1916) …. Waffles
Sister of Six, A (1916) …. Prudence
Intolerance (1916) …. The Bride of Cana
Hell-to-Pay Austin (1916) …. Briar Rose Dawson
… aka Love in the West (1916)
Stranded (1916/I) …. The Girl
Mystery of the Leaping Fish, The (1916) …. The Little Fish Blower
Reggie Mixes In (1916) …. Agnes
… aka Facing the Music (1916)
Good Bad Man, The (1916) …. Amy
… aka Passing Through (1916)
Aryan, The (1916) …. Mary Jane Garth
Flying Torpedo, The (1916) …. Hulda
Acquitted (1916) …. Helen Carter
Georgia Pearce (1915)
Birth of a Nation, The (1915) …. Piedmont girl

To learn more about Bessie Love visit her profile on The Internet Movie Database

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