|Date of Birth||13 November 1894, New York City, New York, USA|
|Date of Death||17 February 1961, New York City, New York, USA (heart attack)|
|Birth Name||Mary Nonna Dooley|
|Height||5' 7½" (1.71 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Nonna Dooley, the future silent screen star, began her career as a showgirl in a Shubert revue in the Winter Garden, later went on to the famed Ziegfeld Follies.
After a successful career on the stage with the Follies, Nita decided to try her hand with films in Hollywood. Her rise to fame was very quick. In 1920, at the age of 25, she starred with the legendary John Barrymore in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This early role seemed to solidify her film career right from the beginning. It was said she was outstanding and beautiful. Her vamp roles were grand. In 1921, she starred in three fine productions: The Last Door, A Divorce of Convenience, and Experience. She was fast becoming filmdom's leading, sexy lady.
However, it was 1922's Blood and Sand that was to set apart from others. Nita starred opposite Rudolph Valentino in one of the silent era's epic last truly great productions. And it was also the last of the vamp roles filmed since Clara Bow had shown that good girls knew about sex too instead of just her more worldly counterparts. Nita would go on to be Valentino's most frequent co-star.
Nita played Dona Sol who leads the Valentino character into dissipation and disgrace. Nita was an absolute hit as the film was at the box-office. Blood and Sand was a smash hit! She made two more hits in 1922, The Snitching Hour and Anna Ascends, but neither measured up to her role as Dona Sol. Nita made several good films in 1923, but the pinnacle that year was Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. Not the powerful epic as was the 1956 version, Nita played an adventurous woman, Sally Lung. It was a saga of wages-of-sin drama with flashbacks to Moses time. The film was well-received. Nita continued to star in good movies, most of which were from Paramount.
In 1926 Nita left for Paris where she eloped with J. Searle Barclay, who she had been dating since 1920. The pair would separate in 1931 when Nita returned to New York and filed bankruptcy. While in Europe she made her last 3 films La Femme Nue, The Golden Mask, and The Mountain Eagle. Despite an attempt in the 1940s Nita never made another film despite an acceptable voice.
In need of money she continued to be active on the stage and later on in the infant medium of television. On February 17, 1961, Nita died of a heart attack in her room at the Wentworth Hotel.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: HP
|J. Searle Barclay||(1929 - 30 January 1945) (his death)|