Open main menu

Renée Adorée (born Jeanne de la Fonte;[1] 30 September 1898 – 5 October 1933[2]) was a French actress who appeared in Hollywood silent movies during the 1920s. She is most famous for her role as Melisande in the melodramatic romance and war epic The Big Parade.[2]

Renée Adorée
Renée Adorée.jpg
Jeanne de la Fonte

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

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

Early lifeEdit

Born in Lille, Adorée was the daughter of circus artists and performed regularly with her parents as a child.[2] In her teens, she began acting in minor stage productions and toured Europe with her troupe. She was performing in Russia when World War I broke out, causing her to flee to London.


Having made a reputation in France, England and Australia for her dancing skills, she went to New York City very early in 1919,[3] where she was cast in a vaudeville-style musical called Oh, Uncle,[2] which 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,[2] another Shubert production.

By January 1920, the opportunity arose for her to work in the motion picture business when she was cast for the lead role in The Strongest, directed by Raoul Walsh.[3] The Strongest was a dramatic photoplay written by Georges Clemenceau, France's celebrated prime minister. She went on to star in several other silent films in the early 1920s,[3] including Reginald Barker's The Eternal Struggle, the film which established her as a Hollywood star.[2]

Before coming to America, she already had adopted the romantic stage name "Renée Adorée" (French for "reborn" and "adored," both in the feminine form), and was billed as such in an Australian film produced in 1918. While in New York City on New Year's Eve 1921, she met Tom Moore (1883–1955), who was 15 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, and in June 1927, Adorée married again, this time to William Sherman Gill.[4]

Suzette (Renée Adorée) makes the tedious hours of the wounded Sir Nicholas Thormonde (Lew Cody) seem less monotonous. A scene from Elinor Glyn's production Man and Maid for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1925

She is most famous for her role as Melisande in the melodramatic romance and war epic The Big Parade (1925) opposite John Gilbert. It became one of MGM's all-time biggest hits,[5] and a film that historians rank as one of the best of the silent film era.[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 significant commotion at the time.

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.[3] She starred with Lon Chaney and her former brother-in-law Owen Moore, made three more films with John Gilbert, and appeared in four films with leading Hollywood actor Ramón Novarro.

Illness and deathEdit

By the end of 1930, Adorée had appeared in 45 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 sanitarium 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 sanitarium. 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. She was moved from her modest home in the Tujunga Hills to the Sunland health resort in September 1933.[7]

Adorée died there on 5 October 1933 in Tujunga, California. She is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Adorée left an estate valued at $2,429. The only heir was her mother, who lived in England. No will was found.[8]

For her contributions to the film industry, Adorée has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street.[9]


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


  1. ^ Le Vrai Nom des stars de Michel Bracquart - M.A. Editions - 1989 - (ISBN 2866764633)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Renee Adoree". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d McCaffrey, Donald W.; Jacobs, Christopher P. (1999). Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 18.
  4. ^ "2 Jul 1927, Page 1 - The Alexandria Times-Tribune at".
  5. ^ H. Mark Glancy, 'MGM Film Grosses, 1924–28: The Eddie Mannix Ledger', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 12 No. 2 1992 pp. 127–44
  6. ^ War and American Popular Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. 1999. p. 198.
  7. ^ New York Times, Renee Adoree, 31, Film Player, Dead, October 6, 1933, p. 17.
  8. ^ New York Times, Renee Adoree Left No Will, October 11, 1933, p. 26.
  9. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame - Renée Adorée". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  • 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.
  • "RENEE ADOREE". Stars of the Photoplay. Chicago: Photoplay Magazine. 1924.

External linksEdit