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Constance Talmadge Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (4) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 19 April 1898Brooklyn, New York, USA
Date of Death 23 November 1973Los Angeles, California, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameConstance Alice Talmadge
Nicknames Dutch
Connie
The Vitagraph Tomboy
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

She was blonde; star sister Norma Talmadge was brunette. She was buoyant and a comedienne; Norma was introspective and a tragedienne. Nicknamed "Dutch" by her stage mother Peg as she looked like a cherubic Little Dutch Boy, silver screen star Constance Talmadge was one of silent pictures' most popular and enduring stars of romantic comedy. Born in Brooklyn in 1897 (various sources give different years ranging from 1897 to 1903), her New York City childhood was humbling and tragic. Their father Fred Talmadge was a chronic alcoholic who ultimately deserted his family, which included sister Natalie Talmadge, while all three girls were quite young. By the time Norma had become a commodity for Vitagraph Studios, Constance, in her early teens, begged to follow. Her first comedy short for Vitagraph was In Bridal Attire (1914). As the two sisters were as different as night and day, professional jealousy never entered into the picture. In fact, all three sisters remained consistently loyal throughout their lives. Appearing in a number of two-reel comedies predominantly with comedian Billy Quirk, Constance drew major acclaim in the role of The Mountain Girl in D.W. Griffith's epic masterpiece Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916). Her role was so inspiring that when Griffith re-issued her segment as a solo feature entitled The Fall of Babylon (1919), he re-shot her death scene ending so that her character would wind up living happily ever after. Throughout the late '10s and early '20s the elegant Constance charmed audiences with a number of flapper-era comedy vehicles, many of them co-starring silent film great Harrison Ford (not related to the present-day star). These include A Pair of Silk Stockings (1918), Happiness a la Mode (1919), Romance and Arabella (1919), Wedding Bells (1921) and The Primitive Lover (1922). She grew so much in stature that she eventually formed her own production company. Constance, as did sister Norma, abruptly left films with the advent of sound. The notion that they willingly abandoned their careers while very much on top does not quite ring true. Both she and Norma's pronounced and rather squeaky Brooklyn accent did not prove all that suitable for talkies (particularly for the dramatic Norma) and it's more likely that they left Hollywood on their own terms before they were shunned. Both sisters invested wisely in business ventures in later life. Married four times, Constance became reclusive and fell victim (as did sisters Norma and Natalie) to alcohol abuse in later years. She died of pneumonia in Los Angeles on November 23, 1973.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (4)

Walter Michael Giblin (28 October 1939 - 1 May 1964) (his death)
Townsend Netcher (8 May 1929 - 5 January 1939) (divorced)
Alastair William Mackintosh (27 February 1926 - 15 October 1927) (divorced)
John Pialoglou (26 December 1920 - 1 June 1922) (divorced)

Trivia (14)

Among the first people to place their footprints and handprints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. To make her panel unique, she walked across it leaving five footprints. (To date, everyone else has stood in the cement leaving two footprints.) Her panel is located directly behind the box office.
Like many silent film stars, she rarely gave her real birth year. The most common years given for her birth are 1898, 1899, and 1900. The years 1903-1973 are engraved on her tomb marker.
Younger sister of Norma Talmadge and Natalie Talmadge.
First marriage was a double wedding; the other couple was Dorothy Gish and James Rennie.
Nicknamed "Dutch" because, as a child, she was a chubby tomboy with blonde hair and brown eyes that made her look "like a little Dutch boy."
In 1927, the Talmadge sisters opened the Talmadge Park real estate development in San Diego, California, USA. Now known as the Talmadge district, the development contains streets named for each of the sisters. The district is located about one mile southwest of the San Diego State University campus.
Talmadge Street in Hollywood, California, is named for Constance and her sister Norma Talmadge. It ran along the west side of Vitagraph's west coast studio where the Talmadges made some of their movies in the 1910s. The studio is now the ABC Television Center, west coast home of the American Broadcasting Company and its Los Angeles station, KABC-TV.
Daughter of Margaret Talmadge. Anita Loos, author of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," has always credited many of the wisecracks of Lorelei Lee and Dorothy to direct quotes from Peg Talmadge.
Interviewed in "Talking to the Piano Player: Silent Film Stars, Writers and Directors Remember" by Stuart Oderman (BearManor Media).
Irving Berlin called her "a virtuous tramp" and Anita Loos referred to her as "one of the few genuine femme fatales I have ever known".
She and her sisters attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, beginning a tradition of entertainment luminaries who attended this prestigious school. Among its students were Aline MacMahon, Jane Cowl, Beverly Sills, Barbara Stanwyck, Susan Hayward, Eli Wallach, Jeff Chandler, Mae West, Neil Diamond, Betty Comden, Mickey Spillane, Moe Howard and Lainie Kazan.
Throughout most of her marriage to Townsend Netcher, she lived in Chicago with him and his mother, Mollie Netcher Newbury, the owner of the upscale Boston Store. On January 20, 1936, while Constance was visiting Norma in Florida, Townsend and Mollie were attending a dinner party at a friend's Lincoln Park West apartment when four masked burglars broke in. When they found out that Constance was out of town, they took $45 in cash and left with the apartment owner's young son. They took the boy to the basement of the apartment building -- their point of entry where they had imprisoned four workers -- and let the boy go before fleeing. Because they had left behind valuable silverware and jewelry, the Chicago PD theorized that Constance had been the intended target of a kidnapping, although her husband and the apartment owner disputed this.

Personal Quotes (4)

Screen actors are the funniest people in the world. I adore them.
[to D.W. Griffith whenever she arrived on the set of Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)] Well, here I am. Your Majesty may begin at once.
[to theatrical producer Leonard Sillman, after he asked her to appear on Broadway in the 1960s] Are you kidding? I couldn't act even when I was a movie star.
[In a letter to sister Norma Talmadge, who was trying to keep her career going in talkies after Constance had retired] Quit pressing your luck, baby. The critics can't knock those trust funds Mama set up for us.

Salary (1)

The Dangerous Maid (1923) $5,000 /week

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