Flora Finch

Flora Finch (17 June 1867 – 4 January 1940) was an English-born vaudevillian, stage and film actress who starred in over 300 silent films, including over 200 for the Vitagraph Studios film company. Unfortunately, the vast majority of her films from the silent era are currently classified as lost.

Flora Finch
Flora Finch.jpg
Portrait on postcard, c. 1916
Born(1867-06-17)17 June 1867
London, England
Died4 January 1940(1940-01-04) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California
OccupationActress
Years active1908–1939
Spouse(s)Harold March (?–?)

Early life and careerEdit

Finch was born into a music hall and travelling theatrical family in London and was taken to the United States as a young child. She kept up the family tradition and worked in theatre and the vaudeville circuit right up until her 30s.

She had her first film roles at the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company starting in 1908. There she worked with Fatty Arbuckle, Mack Sennett (with whom she was reportedly involved romantically for a short time), Charlie Chaplin, and other leading performers and producers of the silent era.[1]

Work with John Bunny and later careerEdit

 
Aurora Theater (Lawrence, Kansas) advertising film with Bunny and Finch, 1912

Starting in 1910 at Vitagraph, she was paired with John Bunny for the first of 160 very popular shorts produced between 1910 and 1915. Those shorts, known as "Bunnygraphs", "Bunnyfinches", and "Bunnyfinchgraphs", established Finch and Bunny as the first popular comedy team in films.[2] The duo became a short-lived trio when Mabel Normand arrived at the studio.

After Bunny's death in 1915, Finch continued to make comedy shorts, but with less success. She started her own production company in 1916,[3][4] and released a film with the company the following year,[5] but was never able to regain her popularity. One of her best-known roles in the later silent years was Aunt Susan in Paul Leni's The Cat and the Canary (1927).[6]

She found film work in the sound era, although predominantly in small supporting parts. The Scarlet Letter (1934) gave her one of her more substantial roles in sound films, and she had a cameo in one of Laurel and Hardy's best-known features, Way Out West (1937). Her last film was The Women (1939).

DeathEdit

Finch died in 1940 at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles from blood poisoning. She was taken to the hospital after a streptococcus infection followed an accidental cut to her arm.[2] The infection spread beyond control and the actress lapsed into a coma from bronchial pneumonia. At the time of her death, she was working as a stock player at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios.[7]

Partial filmographyEdit

Sourcing: American Film Institute catalogue:[8]

 
Advertisement, 1917
 
Finch in Postal Inspector (1936)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "First 'Ugly Ducking' of Silent Films, Flora Finch, Dies of Blood Poisoning". The Indianapolis Star. 5 January 1940. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c d "Flora Finch of Silent Movies Dies in Los Angeles Hospital". Detroit Free Press. 5 January 1940. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Flora Finch Has Own Company". The Moving Picture World. 23 December 1916. p. 1792.
  4. ^ "Floria Finch Dies: Age Interred With Bones". The Minneapolis Star. 5 January 1940. p. 22 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Flora Finch's First Fun Film". The Moving Picture World. 28 April 1917. p. 629.
  6. ^ a b Klepper 2005, p. 399.
  7. ^ "Flora Finch, Star of Film Comedies". The New York Times. 5 January 1940. p. 23.
  8. ^ "AFI Catalog - Flora Finch". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 23 February 2018.
  9. ^ Klepper 2005, p. 42.
  10. ^ Klepper 2005, p. 63.
  11. ^ Klepper 2005, pp. 213–214.
  12. ^ "Flora Finch with Chadwick". The Moving Picture World. 21 February 1925. p. 811.
  13. ^ Klepper 2005, p. 312.
  14. ^ Klepper 2005, p. 434.

BibliographyEdit

  • Klepper, Robert K. (2005). Silent films, 1877–1996 : a critical guide to 646 movies. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-2164-0.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit