Gertrude Olmstead

Gertrude Olmstead (November 13, 1904[1] – January 18, 1975) was an American actress of the silent era. She appeared in 56 films between 1920 and 1929. Her last name was sometimes seen as Olmsted.[1][2]

Gertrude Olmstead
Olmstead in 1927
Born(1897-11-13)November 13, 1897
DiedJanuary 18, 1975(1975-01-18) (aged 77)
Years active1920–1929
(m. 1926; died 1968)


Olmstead was born in Chicago, Illinois,[3] and was noticed after winning a 5,900-entrant[4] contest to represent "The Spirit of America" at the 1920 Elks Club national convention.[5] The victory included an opportunity to receive a $10,000 one-year contract to appear in films.[6]

Olmstead initially was signed by Universal Motion Picture company.[7] Her first film was Tipped Off (1920),[8] following which she became the leading lady in western films that starred Hoot Gibson.[9] She appeared in her first credited film role in the 1921 film The Fox. She obtained several more roles that same year, appearing in nine films in 1921, and another five in 1922. She appeared in 17 more films by the time she received what is today her best-known role, opposite Rudolph Valentino in the 1925 film Cobra.

Throughout the silent film era her career thrived. From 1925 through 1929 she appeared in twenty eight films, most often portraying the heroine. With the advent of sound film her career stalled, and she retired from acting in 1929.

Personal life and deathEdit

In 1926 she met MGM director Robert Z. Leonard and they were married in Santa Barbara[1] on June 8 of that year. Leonard and Olmstead remained married until his death in 1968.[10]

After Leonard's death, Olmstead remained in the Los Angeles area, and died in Beverly Hills on January 18, 1975.[3] She is interred at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, near her husband.

Partial filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b c Slide, Anthony (2010). Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 9780813137452. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  2. ^ "Gertrude Olmsted Plays Small Town Bell in 'The Monster'". Pittsburgh Daily Post. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. March 22, 1925. p. 57. Retrieved January 14, 2019 – via
  3. ^ a b Vazzana, Eugene Michael (1995). Silent Film Necrology: Births and Deaths of Over 9000 Performers, Directors, Producers, and Other Filmmakers of the Silent era, Through 1993. McFarland. p. 252.
  4. ^ "Wins Prize". Santa Ana Register. California, Santa Ana. July 8, 1920. p. 1. Retrieved January 14, 2019 – via
  5. ^ "Winner Announced in Elks Beauty Contest: 17-Year-Old La Salle Girl Is Chosen to Lead Parade and Star in Film". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 10 (26): 64. June 26, 1920.
  6. ^ "Illinois Girl Wins $10,000 Beauty Prize". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Indiana, Logansport. June 17, 1920. p. 1. Retrieved January 13, 2019 – via
  7. ^ "Elks Meet Contest Winner". Salt Lake Telegram. Utah, Salt Lake City. July 15, 1920. p. 2. Retrieved January 14, 2019 – via
  8. ^ "Contest Winner Is Making Good". The Vancouver Sun. Canada, British Columbia, Vancouver. January 9, 1921. p. 28. Retrieved January 14, 2019 – via
  9. ^ "Shifts Leading Women". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. December 30, 1920. p. 32. Retrieved January 14, 2019 – via
  10. ^ Willis, John A. (1969). Screen World. 20. Crown Publishers. p. 236.

External linksEdit