Renée Adorée

Renée Adorée (born Émilia Louisa Victoria Reeves,[4][5] 30 September 1897 – 5 October 1933[6]) was a German-born 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.[6]

Renée Adorée
Renée Adorée.jpg
Émilia Louisa Victoria Reeves

(1897-09-30)30 September 1897
Died5 October 1933(1933-10-05) (aged 36)
Years active1918–1930
(m. 1921; div. 1924)

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

Early lifeEdit

Born in Altona, Hamburg, Adorée was the daughter of Joe Reeves and Maria de la Floente (also spelt as de la Flointe, later known as Victoria Adorée or Victorine Lamarr Adorée[7]), who was born in Spain.[8] She had a brother and a younger sister named Mira who also became an actress and appeared with Adorée in Mr. Wu (1927).[9][10] Her parents were circus artists and she performed regularly with her parents as a child.[6] She performed as an acrobat, dancer, and bareback rider and was performing in Brussels when World War I broke out, causing her to leave for New York.[6]


Having made a reputation in France, England, and Australia for her dancing skills, she went to New York City very early in 1919,[11] where she was cast in a vaudeville-style musical called Oh, Uncle,[6] 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![6] and opened at the Shubert Theatre in New York City. Over the next several months, she toured in The Dancer,[6] 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.[11] 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,[11] 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.[6]

Before coming to America, she already had adopted the 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, The Five Hundred Pound Reward.

Adorée and Lew Cody in 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.[6] It became one of MGM's highest-grossing silent films, earning between $18 million and $22 million.[12] In The Mating Call, a 1928 film produced by Howard Hughes, Adorée had a very brief swimming scene in the nude[13] that caused a significant commotion at the time.[citation needed]

She also starred with Lon Chaney in 1927's Mr. Wu,[14] made three more films with John Gilbert, and appeared in four films with leading Hollywood actor Ramón Novarro.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

While in New York City on New Year's Eve 1921, she met Tom Moore, who was 14 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.[15]

Illness and deathEdit

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.[11] 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.[16]

Adorée died there on 5 October 1933 in Tujunga, California. She is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[17] Adorée left an estate valued at $2,429. The only heir was her mother, who lived in England. No will was found.[18]

For her contributions to the film industry, Adorée has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street.[19]


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 First film Adorée and John Gilbert made together
Mixed Faces Mary Allen Sayre
Monte Cristo Eugenie Danglars, her daughter Second film with Gilbert
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 Third film with Gilbert
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 Fourth film with Gilbert
1926 Blarney Peggy Nolan
The Flaming Forest Jeanne Marie
La Bohème Musette Fifth 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 Sixth film with Gilbert
1928 A Certain Young Man Henriette First film starring Adorée and Ramon Novarro
The Cossacks Maryana Seventh film with Gilbert
Forbidden Hours Marie de Floriet Second film with Novarro
The Mating Call Catherine
Show People Herself Cameo. Eighth 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 Ninth and final film Adorée and Gilbert made together
Call of the Flesh Lola Final film with Novarro; Adorée's final film


  1. ^ Adorée's birth place has often been cited as Lille, France, and she claimed throughout her life that she was born there to French parents. Municipal archives and her baptismal certificate confirm that she was not born in Lille on 30 September 1898 but in the district of Altona in Hamburg on 30 September 1897. Adorée most likely took on a French identity due to the anti-German sentiment after World War I.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Adorée's birth name has also been reported as Émilie Louise Victorine Reeves and Jeanne de la Fonte. Her birth certificate says Émilia Louisa Victoria Reeves.
  5. ^ -15011.pdf
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Renee Adoree". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  7. ^
  8. ^ New York Times, Renee Adoree Left No Will, October 11, 1933, p. 26.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d McCaffrey, Donald W.; Jacobs, Christopher P. (1999). Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 18.
  12. ^ Landazuri, Margarita. "The Big Parade". San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Theater Gossip". Evening Independent. 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 Renee Adoree who plunged into the water in nature's bathing suit.
  14. ^ Fortune, Danny. "'Mr. Wu' Movie: Morbid Lon Chaney & Renée Adorée in Silent Era Classic". Alt Film Gide. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  15. ^ "2 Jul 1927, Page 1 - The Alexandria Times-Tribune at".
  16. ^ New York Times, Renee Adoree, 31, Film Player, Dead, October 6, 1933, p. 17.
  17. ^ Stephens, E.J. (17 July 2017). Legends of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4671-2586-4. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  18. ^ New York Times, Renee Adoree Left No Will, October 11, 1933, p. 26.
  19. ^ "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