Renée Adorée

Renée Adorée (born Jeanne de la Fonte; 30 September 1898 – 5 October 1933) was a French stage and film actress who appeared in Hollywood silent movies during the 1920s. She is best known for portraying the role of Melisande, the love interest of John Gilbert in the melodramatic romance and war epic The Big Parade. Adorée‘s career was cut short after she contracted tuberculosis in 1930. She died of the disease in 1933 at the age of 35.

Renée Adorée
Renée Adorée.jpg
Renée Adorée, c.1922
Born
Jeanne de la Fonte

(1898-09-30)30 September 1898
Lille, France
Died5 October 1933(1933-10-05) (aged 35)
OccupationActress
Years active1918–1930
Spouse(s)
(m. 1921; div. 1924)

William Sherman Gill
(m. 1927; div. 1929)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Lille as Jeanne de la Fonte,[1][page needed] Adorée was the daughter of circus artists and performed regularly with her parents as a child.[2] She performed as an acrobat, dancer and bareback rider throughout Europe. She adopted the stage name Renée Adorée (French for "reborn" and "adored", both in the feminine form), and established a reputation for her dancing skills in countries including Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden. She was performing in Brussels when World War I began.[2]

She was billed as Renée Adorée in an Australian film produced in 1918, £500 Reward, which was her movie debut. She was then a dancer touring Australia on the Tivoli circuit with an act called "The Magneys".[3]

CareerEdit

Adorée went to New York City in 1919,[4] where she was cast in a vaudeville-style musical called Oh, Uncle.[2] This opened at the Garrick Theatre in Washington, D.C. in March 1919; by mid March, it was being staged in Trenton, New Jersey, and subsequently toured through the summer. In July, it was renamed Oh, What a Girl![2] and opened at the Shubert Theatre in New York City. Over the next several months, she toured in The Dancer, another Shubert production.[2]

 
Adorée with John Gilbert in The Big Parade (1925)

In January 1920, the opportunity arose for her to further her motion picture career when she was cast for the lead role in The Strongest, directed by Raoul Walsh.[4] The Strongest was a dramatic photoplay written by French prime minister Georges Clemenceau. She went on to star in several other silent films in the early 1920s,[4] including Reginald Barker's The Eternal Struggle, the film which established her as a Hollywood star and also starred Barbara La Marr and Earle Williams.[2]

Adorée is most famous for her role as Melisande in the melodramatic romance and war epic The Big Parade (1925) opposite John Gilbert.[2] It became one of MGM's highest-grossing silent films, earning between $18 million and $22 million, and made her into a major star.[5]

In all, Adorée made nine films with Gilbert and appeared in four with leading Hollywood actor Ramón Novarro. She starred with Lon Chaney in 1927's Mr Wu.[6] In The Mating Call, a 1928 film produced by Howard Hughes, Adorée had a very brief swimming scene in the nude that caused a commotion at the time.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

While in New York City on New Year's Eve 1921, she met Tom Moore (1883–1955), who was fifteen years her senior. Moore and his brothers were Irish immigrants who had become popular Hollywood actors. Six weeks after their meeting, on 12 February 1921, Adorée married Moore at his home in Beverly Hills, California. The marriage ended in divorce in 1926. In June 1927, Adorée married again, this time to William Sherman Gill whom, in 1929, she also divorced.[8]

Illness and deathEdit

 
Adorée and Lew Cody in Elinor Glyn's production Man and Maid for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1925

With the advent of sound in film, Adorée was one of the fortunate stars whose voices met the film industry's new needs, appearing in two all-talking films before her death.[4] By the end of 1930, Adorée had appeared in forty five films, the last four of which were sound pictures. That year, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and lived only a few years longer. Adorée went against her physician's advice by finishing her final film Call of the Flesh with Ramón Novarro. At its completion, she was rushed to a sanatorium in Prescott, Arizona, where she lay flat on her back for two years in an effort to regain her physical health. In April 1933, she left the sanatorium. At this point, it was thought she had recovered sufficiently to resume her screen career, but she swiftly weakened and her health declined day by day. In September 1933, Adorée was moved from her modest home in the Tujunga Hills to the Sunland health resort in Los Angeles. She died there on October 5, 1933.[9] She is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[10][page needed]

Adorée left an estate valued at $2,429. The only heir was her mother, who lived in England. No will was found.[11] For her contributions to the film industry, Adorée has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601, Vine Street.[12]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1918 £500 Reward Irene
1920 The Strongest Claudia
1921 Made in Heaven Miss Lowry
1922 Day Dreams The Girl
1922 Honor First
1922 Mixed Faces Mary Allen Sayre
1922 Monte Cristo Eugenie Danglars, her daughter
1922 A Self-Made Man
1922 West of Chicago Della Moore
1923 The Six-Fifty Hester Taylor Lost film
1923 The Eternal Struggle Andrée Grange
1924 The Bandolero Petra Lost film
1924 Defying the Law
1924 A Man's Mate Wildcat
1924 Women Who Give Becky Keeler
1925 Exchange of Wives Elise Moran
1925 Excuse Me Francine Lost film
1925 Man and Maid Suzette Lost film
1925 Parisian Nights Marie
1925 The Big Parade Melisande
1926 Blarney Peggy Nolan
1926 The Flaming Forest Jeanne Marie
1926 La Bohème Musette
1926 The Blackbird Mademoiselle Fifi Lorraine
1926 The Exquisite Sinner Silda, a gypsy maid Lost film
1926 Tin Gods Carita Lost film
1927 Back to God's Country Renee DeBois
1927 Heaven on Earth Marcelle
1927 Mr Wu Wu Nang Ping
1927 On Ze Boulevard Musette
1927 The Show Salome
1928 A Certain Young Man Henriette
1928 The Cossacks Maryana
1928 Forbidden Hours Marie de Floriet
1928 The Mating Call Catherine
1928 Show People Herself Cameo
1928 The Michigan Kid Rose Morris
1928 The Spieler Cleo d'Alzelle
1929 The Pagan Madge
1929 Tide of Empire Josephita Guerrero
1930 Redemption Masha
1930 Call of the Flesh Lola

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bracquart, Michel (1989). Le Vrai Nom des Stars. Paris: M.A. Editions. ISBN 978-28-66764-63-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Renée Adorée". Los Angeles Times. 10 October 1933. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  3. ^ "It All Began With a Feature Movie On The Kelly Gang". The News. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 16 November 1946. p. 2. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d McCaffrey, Donald W.; Jacobs, Christopher P. (1999). Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 18. ISBN 978-03-13303-45-6.
  5. ^ Landazuri, Margarita. "The Big Parade". San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  6. ^ Fortune, Danny. "'Mr Wu' Movie: Morbid Lon Chaney & Renée Adorée in Silent Era Classic". Alt Film Gide. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Theater Gossip". Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. 26 March 1929. It is a dull picture, these days that does not show a beautiful girl bathing in the nude. ... In 'The Mating Call', it was Renée Adorée who plunged into the water in nature's bathing suit.
  8. ^ "Renée Adorée divorces". The Alexandria Times-Tribune. Elwood, Indiana. 2 July 1927. p. 1.
  9. ^ "Renée Adorée, 31, Film Player, Dead". New York Times. 6 October 1933. p. 17.
  10. ^ Stephens, E. J. (2017). Legends of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4671-2586-4. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Renée Adorée Left No Will". New York Times. 11 October 1933. p. 26.
  12. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame – Renée Adorée". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 1 November 2017.

BibliographyEdit

  • Bermingham, Cedric Osmond (1931). Stars of the Screen 1931, A volume of biographies of contemporary actors and actresses engaged in photoplay throughout the world. London: Herbert Joseph.
  • Stuart, Ray (1965). Immortals of the Screen. New York: Bonanza Books.
  • "Renée Adorée". Stars of the Photoplay. Chicago: Photoplay Magazine. 1924.

External linksEdit