Aileen Pringle (born Aileen Bisbee; July 23, 1895 – December 16, 1989) was an American stage and film actress during the silent film era.
Pringle in 1926
July 23, 1895
|Died||December 16, 1989 (aged 94)|
New York, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Aileen Savage|
Charles McKenzie Pringle
(m. 1916; div. 1926)
James M. Cain
(m. 1944; div. 1946)
Born into a prominent and wealthy San Francisco family and educated in Europe, Pringle began her acting career shortly after her 1916 marriage to Charles McKenzie Pringle, the son of a wealthy titled British Jamaican landowner and a member of the Privy and Legislative Councils of Jamaica.
One of Pringle's first high-profile roles was in the Rudolph Valentino film Stolen Moments (1920). Many of Pringle's early roles were only modestly successful, and she continued to build her career until the early 1920s when she was selected by friend and romance novelist Elinor Glyn to star in the 1924 film adaptation of her novel Three Weeks with matinee idol Conrad Nagel. The role catapulted Pringle into leading-lady status and her career began to build momentum.
On November 15, 1924, a Sunday, Pringle was among a select group of Hollywood elites who boarded the Oneida, a yacht owned by newspaper scion and billionaire William Randolph Hearst, in San Pedro, California,. The event was a 42nd-birthday party organized by Hearst for film producer and director Thomas Ince.
Early Monday morning, Ince was taken from the yacht by water taxi and brought ashore, accompanied by Dr. Goodman a licensed, though non-practicing, physician. By Tuesday night, Ince was dead.
Ince's death was ruled to have been caused by a gastro-intestinal illness, but the press frenzy that followed turned the event into a Hollywood legend; with various enigmatic and lurid stories being proffered by gossips. Among these, was a story of Hearst accidentally shooting Ince while aiming for Chaplin, who he believed to be having an affair with Marion Davies. Pringle's career weathered the controversy.
Pringle's acting career continued throughout the early 1920s, however, she allegedly was disliked by many of her co-workers for her allegedly haughty and dismissive behavior. She was prone to make witty, sometimes caustic, comments on Hollywood and her fellow actors. During a romantic scene in Three Weeks, in which actor Conrad Nagel carried her in his arms to the bedroom, lip readers saw her say: "If you drop me, you bastard, I'll break your neck". Pringle's apparent disdain for her profession began to hurt her career, and by the late 1920s her roles became fewer.
During the late silent and early period of talking pictures, Pringle co-starred in a series of light films with actor Lew Cody, including Adam and Evil (1927), Tea for Three (1927), Wickedness Preferred (1928), The Baby Cyclone (1928), Beau Broadway (1928), A Single Man (1929) and By Appointment Only (1933). Of Pringle’s performance in Adam and Evil, Mourdant Hall in the August 9, 1927 edition of The New York Times wrote, “Evelyn Trevelyn, the Eve of this tale, is alluded to by Ralph Spence is (sic) one of the titles as a “spare rib.” She is impersonated by Aileen Pringle and therefore is an asset to the scenes.”
Although disliked by some Hollywood insiders, Aileen Pringle often was dubbed by the press as the "Darling of the Intelligentsia" because of her close friendship with such literary figures as Carl Van Vechten, Joseph Hergesheimer, Rupert Hughes, and H.L. Mencken who became a lifelong friend of the actress. She brokered the meeting of Mencken and Valentino, of which Mencken wrote an account, some weeks after Valentino had died. Mencken does not name her but describes her as "discreet as she is charming." Ralph Barton, American artist, was also a devoted friend and used her as the model for Dorothy in his illustrations for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos. Another admirer was George Gershwin who met her in Hollywood and wrote much of the Second Rhapsody at her Santa Monica, California, home. Her wit, keen intellect and sparkling personality made her a sought-after companion.
After her 1926 divorce from Charles Pringle, Aileen Pringle further focused on her acting career, including Dream of Love (1928) with Joan Crawford and Wall Street (1929) co-starring Ralph Ince, brother of Thomas Ince. However, with the advent of sound film, the studios heavily began promoting a new crop of starlets and Pringle's career faded.
During the sound era, she continued to take small parts in major films and even uncredited roles. In 1944 Pringle married the author James M. Cain, but the union lasted only two years and ended in divorce. By the late 1940s, Pringle retired from the screen and lived a wealthy retirement in New York City, where she died in 1989 at the age of 94.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Aileen Pringle was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6723 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, California.
|1920||The Cost||Olivia||as Aileen Savage|
|The Sport of Kings||as Aileen Savage|
|Earthbound||as Aileen Savage|
|Stolen Moments||Inez Salles||as Aileen Savage|
Short film; Extant
|The Strangers' Banquet||Mrs. Schuyler-Peabody|
|My American Wife||Hortensia deVereta||Lost film|
|1923||The Christian||Lady Robert Ure||Extant|
|The Tiger's Claw||Chameli Brentwood|
|Souls for Sale||Lady Jane||Extant (Turner/Warner Brothers)|
|Don't Marry for Money||Edith Martin|
|In the Palace of the King||Princess Eboli||Lost film|
|1924||Name the Man||Isabelle|
|Three Weeks||The Queen||Extant|
|True As Steel||Mrs. Eva Boutelle||fragment|
|His Hour||Tamara Loraine||Extant|
|The Wife of the Centaur||Inez Martin||Lost film|
|1925||A Thief in Paradise||Rosa Carmino||Lost film|
|One Year to Live||Elsa Duchanier|
|A Kiss in the Dark||Janet Livingstone|
|Wildfire||Claire Barrington||Extant (Library of Congress)|
|The Mystic||Zara||Extant (Turner/Warner Brothers)(Trailer-Library of Congress)|
|The Wilderness Woman||Juneau MacLean||Lost|
|The Great Deception||Lois||Lost|
|Tin Gods||Janet Stone||Lost|
|1927||Adam and Evil||Evelyn Trevelyan||Lost|
|Body and Soul||Hilda|
|Tea for Three||Doris Langford||Lost|
|1928||Wickedness Preferred||Kitty Dare||Lost|
|The Baby Cyclone||Lydia||Lost|
|Show People||Herself||Cameo appearance; Extant (Turner/Warner Brothers)|
|Dream of Love||The Duchess||Lost film|
|1929||A Single Man||Mary Hazeltine||Lost film|
|Night Parade||Paula Vernoff||Incomplete (Library of Congress)|
|Wall Street||Ann Tabor|
|1930||Puttin' On the Ritz||Mrs. Teddy Von Rennsler|
|Prince of Diamonds||Eve Marley|
|Soldiers and Women||Brenda Ritchie|
|1931||Subway Express||Dale Tracy|
|Murder at Midnight||Esme Kennedy|
|1932||Police Court||Diana McCormick|
|The Age of Consent||Barbara|
|The Phantom of Crestwood||Mrs. Herbert Walcott|
|1933||By Appointment Only||Diane Manners|
|1934||Love Past Thirty||Caroline Burt|
|Jane Eyre||Lady Blanche Ingram|
|Once to Every Bachelor||Judy Bryant|
|Sons of Steel||Enid Chadburne|
|1935||Vanessa: Her Love Story||Herries Servant||Uncredited|
|1936||Wife vs. Secretary||Mrs. Anne Barker||Uncredited|
|The Unguarded Hour||Diana Roggers|
|Piccadilly Jim||Paducah Pomeroy|
|Wanted! Jane Turner||Norris' Secretary||Uncredited|
|1937||Criminal Lawyer||Mrs. Manning||Uncredited|
|The Last of Mrs. Cheyney||Maria|
|John Meade's Woman||Mrs. Melton|
|Thanks for Listening||Lulu, Blackmailer Leader|
|She's No Lady||Mrs. Douglas|
|Nothing Sacred||Mrs. Bullock||Uncredited|
|1938||Man-Proof||Second Gossipy Woman||Uncredited|
|Too Hot to Handle||Mrs. Arthur MacArthur||Uncredited|
|1939||The Hardys Ride High||Miss Booth, Dress Saleslady|
|Calling Dr. Kildare||Mrs. Thatcher||Uncredited|
|Should a Girl Marry?||Mrs. White|
|The Women||Miss Carter (saleslady)||Uncredited|
|The Night of Nights||Dress Saleslady||Uncredited|
|1941||Appointment for Love||Nurse Gibbons||Uncredited|
|They Died with Their Boots On||Mrs. Sharp||Uncredited|
|1942||Between Us Girls||Guest||Uncredited|
|1943||The Youngest Profession||Miss Farwood||Uncredited|
|Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case||Chaperon||Uncredited|
|Happy Land||Mrs. Prentiss||Uncredited|
|1944||Since You Went Away||Woman at Cocktail Lounge||Uncredited|
|A Wave, a WAC and a Marine||Newswoman|
- De Witt Bodeen. Films in Review Vol.XXX No.8, Oct. 1979, p.468 ISSN 0015-1688
- Elinor Glyn. Romantic Adventure. Ivor Nicholson and Watson Ltd., London 1936, p.300
- Kenneth Anger. Hollywood Babylon. San Francisco, California:Straight Arrow Books, 1979 p.97 ISBN 0-87932-086-9
- Richard Griffith and Arthur Mayer. The Movies. Simon and Schuster, 1970 ISBN 067120680X
- Marion Elizabeth Rogers. Mencken: The American Iconoclast. Oxford University Press. 2005 ISBN 0-19-507238-3
- Allan R. Ellenberger. The Valentino Mystique:The Death and Afterlife of the Silent Film Idol, McFarlan & Co., North Carolina, 2005
- Anita Loos. A Girl Like I, New York: The Viking Press, 1966, pp. 120, 275
- Robert Kimball and Alfred Simon. The Gershwins, New York: Atheneum, 1973. pp 133-135.
- Kenneth Anger, "Hollywood Babylon", San Francisco California: Straight Arrow Books, 1975. ISBN 0-87932-086-9
- "Films In Review", October 1979, Vol.XXX No.8. Article on Aileen Pringle by De Witt Bodeen. ISSN 0015-1688.
- "Films In Review", March 1990, Vol.XLI No.3. Article on Aileen Pringle by Stuart Oderman. ISSN 0015-1688
- Rodgers, Marion Elizabeth (2005) Mencken: The American Iconoclast. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507238-3
- Bruce Kellner. The Last Dandy: Ralph Barton, American Artist, 1891-1931. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8262-0774-X
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