Gladys Brockwell

Gladys Brockwell (née Lindeman; September 26, 1894[1] – July 2, 1929) was an American actress whose career began during the silent film era.

Gladys Brockwell
Gladys Brockwell by Hartsook.jpg
Brockwell, c. 1920
Gladys Lindeman

September 26, 1894
Died(1929-07-02)July 2, 1929 (aged 34)
Years active1913–1929
Robert B. Broadwell
(m. 1915; div. 1918)

Harry Edwards
(m. 1918; annulled 1919)

Early life and careerEdit

Gladys Lindeman was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 26, 1894.[2] Her father was H. R. Lindeman. Her mother, Lillian Lindeman (nee Voltaire), a chorus girl turned actress, put her daughter on stage at an early age.[3] By the time Gladys was 14, she played leading roles, and when she was 17 she had her own company. She took on the stage name Gladys Brockwell , and made her film debut in 1913 for Lubin Studios.[2] Within a short time she was starring in a number of films. Developing her craft, she moved to Hollywood where she garnered a role in the acclaimed 1922 version of Oliver Twist and in The Hunchback of Notre Dame the following year.

Gladys Brockwell (1917)

Her mother Lillian took to the screen in 1914 and also adopted the surname Brockwell, first as Lillian Brockwell then as Billie Brockwell, achieving fame in her own right but after her daughter. The name Brockwell appears to be a corruption of Gladys' fiance's surname, Broadwell but may stem from a remarriage of Lillian around 1907/8 with both mother and daughter taking a new surname.[citation needed]

By the mid-1920s she was past the age of 30 and although still given top female billing, Brockwell performed mainly in supporting roles. Regarded as one of the finest character actresses of the day who not only adapted to sound films but excelled in them, her first appearance in a "talkie" came in 1928 in Lights of New York. Her performance received strong reviews at the time of the film's release as well as by present-day critics of the preserved film.

A Warner Bros. feature-length production, Lights of New York was filmed with microphones strategically hidden around the sets, creating the first motion picture released with fully synchronic dialogue. She was then signed by Warner Bros. and was looking forward to continued success in talkies. She died in an automobile accident in 1929.

Personal lifeEdit

Brockwell married actor Robert B. Broadwell on March 3, 1915. They separated on September 1, 1915, due to "Much quarreling and unpleasantness generally," as she told the court when she sought a divorce in March 1918. "We never seemed to agree on anything," she added. Los Angeles Judge Jackson granted her divorce decree on March 13, 1918, on grounds of desertion.[4]

On July 1, 1918, she married Harry Edwards, a film director, but the marriage was annulled the next year.[3]: 9 


On June 27, 1929, Brockwell and a friend, Thomas Brennan, were involved in an automobile accident near Calabasas, California. She was crushed beneath the automobile driven by Brennan, an advertising man from Los Angeles, California. The automobile went over a 75-foot (23 m) embankment on the Ventura Highway near Calabasas.[citation needed]

Seriously injured, she underwent four blood transfusions as part of the effort to save her life, the last just before her death. Following a second blood transfusion, Brockwell appeared to improve until peritonitis set in from her internal injuries, particularly a puncture of her large intestine. After two more transfusions, Brockwell died at 7 p.m. on July 2, 1929, at Osteopathic Hospital. Brennan recovered after sustaining serious injuries. He said a bit of dust had blown into his eye, temporarily blinding him. No negligence was placed on Brennan, who was still recovering in the hospital. Brockwell's final film, The Drake Case, was directed by Edward Laemmle while she was on loan to Universal Pictures, and was released posthumously in September 1929.[citation needed]

Gladys Brockwell was cremated at Hollywood Cemetery and her ashes given to her mother. Her ashes now lie with her mother in the columbarium of Inglewood Park Cemetery on the outskirts of Los Angeles.[5]

Selected filmographyEdit

Conscience (1917)
Year Title Role Notes
1913 The Rattlesnake Tony's sister Incomplete film
When Mountain and Valley Meet Beth
His Blind Power
1914 The Geisha
The Last of the Line
One of the Discard Flora
A Political Feud Helen Kent
A Relic of Old Japan Annette Walsh
Stacked Cards Edna Johnson
The Typhoon Helene
The Worth of a Life Ruby Baker
1915 A Confidence Game
Double Trouble Daisy Scarlett
A Man and His Mate Betty
On the Night Stage Saloon girl
Providence and the Twins Miss Abagail Dean
1916 The Crippled Hand The Prima Donna
The End of the Trail Adrienne Cabot
The Fires of Conscience Margery Burke
Sins of Her Parent Adrian Gardiner / Valerie Marchmont
1917 A Branded Soul Conchita Cordova Lost film
Her Temptation Shirley Moreland
The Honor System Trixie Bennett Lost film
The Price of Her Soul Ailene Graham
The Soul of Satan Miriam Lee
1918 The Bird of Prey Adele Durant
The Devil's Wheel Blanche De Montfort
Her One Mistake Harriet Gordon / Peggy Malone
Kultur Countess Griselda von Arenburg Lost film
The Moral Law Isobel de Costa / Anita de Costa
The Scarlet Road Mabel Halloway
The Strange Woman Inez de Pierrefond
1919 Broken Commandments Nella Banard
The Call of the Soul Barbara Deming
Chasing Rainbows Sadie
The Divorce Trap Eleanor Burton
The Forbidden Room Ruth Lester
Pitfalls of a Big City Molly Moore
The Sneak Rhona
1920 Flames of the Flesh Candace Lost film
The Mother of His Children Princess Yve Lost film
A Sister to Salome Elinore Duane
1921 The Sage Hen The Sage Hen
1922 Oliver Twist Nancy
Double Stakes
Paid Back Carol Gordon
1923 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Sister Gudule
Penrod and Sam Mrs. Schofield
The Darling of New York Light Fingered Kitty Lost film, only the last reel survives
1924 The Foolish Virgin Nancy Owens Lost film
So Big Maartje Poole Lost film
1925 Chickie Jennie Lost film
Stella Maris Louisa Risca
The Ancient Mariner Life In Death Lost film
The Reckless Sex Mrs. Garcia
1926 The Skyrocket Rose Kimm (prologue) Lost film
Her Sacrifice Mary Cullen
Twinkletoes Cissie Lightfoot
The Last Frontier Cynthia Jaggers
Spangles Mademoiselle Dazie
1927 Long Pants His Mother
The Country Doctor Myra Jones
Man, Woman and Sin Mrs. Whitcomb
7th Heaven Nana
1928 A Girl in Every Port Madame Flore
My Home Town Mae Andrews
Hollywood Bound Hollywood Leading Lady short; Vitaphone sound
The Home Towners Lottie Bancroft Lost film
Lights of New York Molly Thompson
The Woman Disputed Countess
The Law and the Man Margaret Grayson
1929 The Hottentot Mrs. Chadwick Lost film
The Argyle Case Mrs. Martin Lost film, but the sound to reels 3, 5, 7, and 9 survive
Hardboiled Rose Julie Malo The soundtrack is lost except for the fourth reel disc
The Drake Case Lulu Marks


  1. ^ Scott, Tony. The Stars of Hollywood Forever - Tony Scott. ISBN 9781312916975. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Slide, Anthony (2010). Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. University Press of Kentucky. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-8131-3745-2. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Golden, Eve (2015). Golden Images: 41 Essays on Silent Film Stars. McFarland. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7864-8354-9. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  4. ^ Staff, "Gladys Brockwell Is Granted Divorce by Judge on Grounds of Desertion", Los Angeles Evening Herald, Los Angeles, California, Wednesday 13 March 1918, Volume XLIII, Number 113, page 1.
  5. ^ Resting Places: The Burial Places of 14,000 Famous Persons, by Scott Wilson


External linksEdit