Ouida Bergère

Ouida Bergère (born Eunie Branch; December 14, 1886 – November 29, 1974) was an American screenwriter and actress.

Ouida Bergère
Ouida Bergère c. 1920 (extracted).jpg
Who's Who on the Silver Screen, 1920
Born
Eunie Branch

(1886-12-14)December 14, 1886
DiedNovember 29, 1974(1974-11-29) (aged 87)
OccupationActress, screenwriter
Spouse(s)Louis Timothy Weadock (divorced)
George Fitzmaurice (divorced)
Basil Rathbone (1926–1967; his death); 1 child
ChildrenCynthia Rathbone

BiographyEdit

Eunie Branch was born in Madrid, Spain, the daughter of Stephen W. and Ida Branch, both natives of Tennessee. Her early years were spent in Madrid, Paris and England. She came to the U.S. at eight years of age. Her father was a merchant who would later work as a railroad timekeeper. By the time of the taking of the 1900 Federal Census she was living with her brother's family in Searcy, Arkansas as Eunie Branch.[1]

A decade later she is listed in the census with her parents in Little Rock, Arkansas as Eula Burgess. Her marital status then was recorded as divorced and occupation, actress.[2][3][4] In January of that year she appeared as Ouida Bergère playing the stenographer in the play Via Wireless and was one of few cast members to receive positive reviews in the production.[5]

CareerEdit

Bergère began her career as an actress. Playwright Winchell Smith gave her her first role, but she eventually abandoned her stage career and turned her attention to writing. She wrote for the New York Herald and for various magazines, besides writing the stories (or 'scenarios') for silent film productions. [6]

 
Bergère, 1920

She wrote most of the stories for the films of Elsie Ferguson, and many for Mae Murray, including On With the Dance. She also wrote for Pola Negri, Corinne Griffith, Bert Lytell, and Betty Compson, many of which were directed by her second husband, George Fitzmaurice. In 1920 she wrote the screen version of Peter Ibbetson, starring Elsie Ferguson and Wallace Reid. During this time she met Basil Rathbone, who was playing the lead role in the stage production of the play, whom she eventually married in 1926.[7]

As well as the United States, Bergère also worked on films in England, France and Italy. While in Rome, she wrote a screenplay entitled The Eternal City (1923), based on the Hall Caine novel, directed by her husband George Fitzmaurice, and released by the Samuel Goldwyn Company. The film enlisted the assistance of the Fascists, and of Mussolini himself, with the help of the American ambassador in Rome. The film included a scene in which Mussolini appeared writing a letter and summoning a man to post it. Ten thousand real Blackshirts appeared in the Coliseum scenes for the film.[8][9]

FamilyEdit

After her marriage to actor Basil Rathbone on April 18, 1926,[10] Bergère gave up her film work to assist him in his work and in the management of his business affairs. Together they had one child, an adopted daughter named Cynthia Rathbone (1939–1969), and raised Ouida's niece, Ouida Branch, who married David Bruce Huxley, brother of Julian Huxley, Aldous Huxley, and Andrew Huxley.[11]

DeathEdit

Bergere died about two weeks shy of her 88th birthday at Roosevelt Hospital in New York from complications after falling and breaking her hip. She was survived by her younger brother, Bernice C. Branch.[12] She is buried next to her husband at Ferncliff Cemetery in New York.

FilmographyEdit

WriterEdit

Casting DirectorEdit

  • At Bay (1915)

ActressEdit

  • Getting Even (1912)
  • Mates and Mis-Mates (1912)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 1900 US Census
  2. ^ 1910 US Census Records
  3. ^ New York Times, December 1, 1974 (surviving brother B.C. Branch), pg. 83
  4. ^ SS Europa Passenger Manifest October 23, 1933 (listed place of birth as Little Rock)
  5. ^ The Indianapolis Star, January 25, 1910, p. 10
  6. ^ California and Californians, Vol. Three. Hunt, Rockwell D., ed. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1932.
  7. ^ The New York Times, December 1, 1974.
  8. ^ California and Californians, Vol. Three. Hunt, Rockwell D., ed. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1932.
  9. ^ The New York Times, December 1, 1974.
  10. ^ The New York Times, April 19, 1926.
  11. ^ The New York Times, September 23, 1992.
  12. ^ The New York Times obituary, December 1, 1974.

External linksEdit