|Date of Birth||26 May 1894, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA|
|Date of Death||24 December 1957, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (stroke)|
|Height||5' 4" (1.63 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Norma Talmadge was born on May 26, 1895, in Jersey City, New Jersey. The daughter of an unemployed alcoholic and his wife, Norma did not have the idyllic childhood that most of us yearn for. Her father left the family on Christmas Day and his wife and three daughters had to fend for themselves. Her mother, Peggy, took in laundry to help make ends meet. By the time Norma was 14 she took up modeling. She was successful enough that she attracted the attention of studio chiefs in New York City (where the Vitagraph studio was located at the time). Norma landed a small role in The Household Pest (1910). With her mother's prodding, she landed other small roles with the studio in 1910, such as Uncle Tom's Cabin (1910), Love of Chrysanthemum (1910), A Dixie Mother (1910) and A Broken Spell (1910). By 1911 she was improving as an actress, so much so that she landed a good part in A Tale of Two Cities (1911). By 1913 she was Vitagraph's most promising young actress. In August of 1915 Norma and her mother left for California and the promise of success in the fledgling film industry there. Her first film in Hollywood was Captivating Mary Carstairs (1915). The film was not only a flop but the studio that made it, National Pictures, went out of business.
During this time her sister, Constance Talmadge, was working for legendary director D.W. Griffith. Constance managed to get Norma a contract with Griffith's company. Over the following eight months Norma made seven feature films and a few shorts. After the contract ran out, the family returned to the East Coast. In 1916 she met and married producer and businessman Joseph M. Schenck. With his backing they formed their own production company and turned out a number of films, the first of which was Panthea (1917). It was a tremendous hit, as was Norma. In 1920 the production company moved to Hollywood, where the big hits of the day were being produced. Her company produced hits such as The Wonderful Thing (1921), The Eternal Flame (1922) and The Song of Love (1923).
By 1928 Norma's popularity had begun to fade. Her film The Woman Disputed (1928) was a flop at the box-office. Her final film was Du Barry, Woman of Passion (1930). By that time "talkies" were all the rage, but Norma's voice did not lend itself to sound and she was out of work. She divorced Schenck and married George Jessel. Jessel had his own radio show and Norma was added to the cast to help its sagging ratings. She thought this might be the vehicle by which she would revive her stalled film career, but the show continued its decline and was ultimately canceled, and with it the hopes of rebuilding her shattered career. She was finished for good.
She divorced Jessel in 1939 and married Dr. Carvel James in 1946. She remained with him until she died of a stroke on Christmas Eve of 1957 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was 62 and had been in a phenomenal 250+ motion pictures.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)
|Dr. Carvel James||(4 December 1946 - 24 December 1957) (her death)|
|George Jessel||(23 April 1934 - 11 August 1939) (divorced)|
|Joseph M. Schenck||(20 October 1916 - 4 April 1934) (divorced)|
Personal Quotes (4)
|In Neighboring Kingdoms (1910)||$25 a week|
|The Household Pest (1910)||$2 .50 for one day|
|The Peacemaker (1914)||$30 a week|
|A Daughter of Two Worlds (1920)||$7,500 week|
|Within the Law (1923)||$10,000 /week|