Billie Dove

Last updated

Billie Dove
Billie Dove The Blue Book of the Screen.jpg
Publicity photo of Dove from The Blue Book of the Screen (1923)
Born
Bertha Bohny

(1903-05-14)May 14, 1903
DiedDecember 31, 1997(1997-12-31) (aged 94)
Other namesLillian Bohny
OccupationActress
Years active1921–1932 (brief reappearance in 1962)
Spouse(s) Irvin Willat
(m.1923–div.1929)
Robert Kenaston
(m.1933–1970; his death)
John Miller
(m.1973)
Children2

Lillian Bohny (born Bertha Bohny, May 14, 1903 [1] – December 31, 1997), known professionally as Billie Dove, was an American actress. [2] [3]

Contents

Early life and career

Dove was born Bertha Bohny in 1903 to Charles and Bertha (née Kagl) Bohny, Swiss immigrants. As a teen, she worked as a model to help support her family and was hired as a teenager by Florenz Ziegfeld to appear in his Ziegfeld Follies Revue. She legally changed her name to Lillian Bohny in the early 1920s and moved to Hollywood, where she began appearing in silent films. She soon became one of the more popular actresses of the 1920s, appearing in Douglas Fairbanks' smash hit Technicolor film The Black Pirate (1926), as Rodeo West in The Painted Angel (1929), and The American Beauty (1927).

She married Irvin Willat, the director of her seventh film, in 1923. The two divorced in 1929. Dove had a legion of male fans, one of her more persistent was Howard Hughes. She had a three-year romance with Hughes and was engaged to marry him, but she ended the relationship.

Hughes cast her as a comedian in his film Cock of the Air (1932). She also appeared in his movie The Age for Love (1931). [4]

Other interests

Dove was also a pilot, poet, and painter. [5]

Early retirement

Following her last film Blondie of the Follies (1932), Dove retired from the screen to be with her family. She married wealthy oil executive Robert Alan Kenaston in 1933, a marriage that lasted for 37 years until his death in 1970. The couple had a son, Robert Alan Kenaston, Jr., who married actress Claire Kelly and died in 1995 from cancer, and an adopted daughter, Gail who briefly married media mogul Merv Adelson. [6] Billie Dove later had a brief third marriage to architect John Miller, which ended in divorce in the 1970s.

Last years/death

Aside from a cameo in Diamond Head (1963), Dove never returned to the movies. She spent her retirement years in Rancho Mirage, then moved to the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California where she died of pneumonia on New Year's Eve 1997, aged 94. [7]

She is interred in the Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Legacy

Dove has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6351 Hollywood Blvd. Jazz singer Billie Holiday took her professional pseudonym from Dove as an admirer of the actress. [8]

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNote
1921 Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford Dorothy WellsLost film
At the Stage Door Mary MathewsLost film
1922 Polly of the Follies Alysia PotterLost film
Beyond the Rainbow Marion Taylor
Youth to Youth Eve AllisonLost film
One Week of LoveBathing Party GuestUncredited
1923 All the Brothers Were Valiant Priscilla HoltIncomplete
Madness of Youth Nanette BenningLost film
Soft Boiled The Girl
The Lone Star Ranger Helen LongstrethLost film
The Thrill Chaser Olala UssanIncomplete
1924 On Time Helen HendonLost film
Try and Get It Rhoda PerrinLost film
Yankee Madness DoloresLost film
Wanderer of the Wasteland Ruth VireyLost film
The Roughneck Felicity ArdenLost film
The Folly of Vanity Alice
1925 The Air Mail Alice Rendon
The Light of Western Stars Madeleine HammondLost film
Wild Horse Mesa Sue Melberne
The Lucky Horseshoe Eleanor Hunt
The Fighting Heart Doris AndersonLost film
The Ancient Highway Antoinette St. IvesLost film
1926 The Black Pirate Princess Isobel
The Lone Wolf Returns Marcia Mayfair
The Marriage Clause Sylvia JordanIncomplete
Kid Boots Eleanore Belmore
1927 An Affair of the Follies TamaraLost film
Sensation Seekers Luena "Egypt" Hagen
The Tender Hour Marcia Kane
The Stolen Bride Sari
The American Beauty Millicent HowardLost film
The Love Mart Antoinette FrobelleLost film
1928 The Heart of a Follies Girl Teddy O'DayLost film
Yellow Lily Judith Peredy
Night Watch Yvonne Corlaix
Adoration Elena
1929 Careers Hélène Gromaire
The Man and the Moment Joan Winslow
Her Private Life Lady Helen Haden
The Painted Angel Mammie HudlerLost film; Vitaphone track survives
1930 The Other Tomorrow Edith LarrisonLost film
A Notorious Affair Patricia Hanley
Sweethearts and Wives Femme de Chambre
One Night at Susie's Mary Martin
1931 The Lady Who Dared Margaret Townsend
The Age for Love Jean HurtLost film
1932 Cock of the Air Lili de Rosseau
Blondie of the Follies Lottie
1962 Diamond Head HerselfCameo role

Related Research Articles

<i>The Great Ziegfeld</i> 1936 film by Robert Zigler Leonard

The Great Ziegfeld is a 1936 American musical and drama film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and produced by Hunt Stromberg. It stars William Powell as the theatrical impresario Florenz "Flo" Ziegfeld Jr., Luise Rainer as Anna Held, and Myrna Loy as Billie Burke.

<i>Ziegfeld Follies</i> Series of elaborate theatrical revue productions

The Ziegfeld Follies was a series of elaborate theatrical revue productions on Broadway in New York City from 1907 to 1931, with renewals in 1934 and 1936. They became a radio program in 1932 and 1936 as The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.

Billie Burke American stage and film actress

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton "Billie" Burke was an American actress who was famous on Broadway, on radio, early silent film, and subsequently in sound film. She is best known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musical The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. 19th and 20th-century American broadway impresario

Florenz Edward Ziegfeld Jr. was an American Broadway impresario, notable for his series of theatrical revues, the Ziegfeld Follies (1907–1931), inspired by the Folies Bergère of Paris. He also produced the musical Show Boat. He was known as the "glorifier of the American girl". Ziegfeld is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Olive Thomas American actress

Olive Thomas was an American silent-film actress, art model and photo model.

Anna Held Polish-born French and later Broadway stage performer and singer

Anna Held was a Polish-born stage performer and singer on Broadway. While appearing in London, she was spotted by impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, who brought her to America as his common-law wife. Her fame seems to have owed more to Ziegfeld’s promotional flair than to any intrinsic talent, and she did not gain critical acclaim. But her uninhibited style inspired the long-running series of popular revues, the Ziegfeld Follies.

Anita Garvin American actress

Anita Garvin was an American stage performer and film actress who worked in both the silent and sound eras. Before her retirement in 1942, she reportedly appeared in over 350 shorts and features for various Hollywood studios. Her best known roles are as supporting characters in Hal Roach comedies starring Laurel and Hardy and Charley Chase.

Estelle Taylor American actress, singer, and animal rights activist

Ida Estelle Taylor was an American actress, singer, model, and animal rights activist. With "dark-brown, almost black hair and brown eyes," she was regarded as one of the most beautiful silent film stars of the 1920s.

Lilyan Tashman American actress

Lilyan Tashman was an American vaudeville, Broadway, and film actress. Tashman was best known for her supporting roles as tongue-in-cheek villainesses and the vindictive "other woman." She made 66 films over the course of her Hollywood career and although she never obtained superstar status, her cinematic performances are described as "sharp, clever and have aged little over the decades."

Marilyn Miller American stage actress

Marilyn Miller was one of the most popular Broadway musical stars of the 1920s and early 1930s. She was an accomplished tap dancer, singer and actress, and it was the combination of these talents that endeared her to audiences. On stage, she usually played rags-to-riches Cinderella characters who lived happily ever after. Her enormous popularity and famed image were in distinct contrast to her personal life, which was marred by disappointment, tragedy, frequent illness, and ultimately her sudden death due to complications of nasal surgery at age 37.

Ziegfeld Girls were the chorus girls and showgirls from Florenz Ziegfeld's theatrical Broadway revue spectaculars known as the Ziegfeld Follies (1907–1931), in New York City, which were based on the Folies Bergère of Paris.

Dorothy Mackaill American actress

Dorothy Mackaill was a British-American actress, most notably of the silent-film era and into the early 1930s.

Doris Eaton Travis Dancer, actress, rancher

Doris Eaton Travis was an American dancer, stage and film actress, dance instructor, owner and manager, writer, and rancher, who was the last surviving Ziegfeld Girl, a troupe of acclaimed chorus girls who performed as members in the Broadway theatrical revues of the Ziegfeld Follies.

Blanche Mehaffey American actress

Blanche Mehaffey was an American showgirl and film actress.

Frances Lee American actress and Ziegfeld Girl

Frances Lee was an American film actress during Hollywood's silent film era, and well into the sound film era of the 1930s.

Kay Laurell Ziegfeld girl, actress, model

Kay Laurell was an American stage and silent film actress and model.

Lillian Lorraine American silent film actress

Lillian Lorraine was an American stage and screen actress of the 1910s and 1920s, best known for her beauty and for being perhaps the most famous Ziegfeld Girl in the Broadway revues Ziegfeld Follies during the 1910s.

Mary Hay (actress) American actress

Mary Hay Caldwell was an American dancer, musical comedy and silent screen actress, playwright and former Ziegfeld girl.

Merv Adelson American TV producer

Mervyn Lee "Merv" Adelson was an American real estate developer and television producer who co-founded Lorimar Television.

Diana Allen American actress

Diana Allen was a Swedish-American actress and Ziegfeld girl who starred in silent films such as 1921's Miss 139, which is now lost.

References

  1. Other sources including the California registry of births and deaths cite 1900 or 1901 as her year of birth, although the 1910 census supports 1903 as her year of birth, as does her entry in the New York City Birth Registry.
  2. Drew, William M. Billie Dove profile Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine , The Lady in the Main Title: On the Twenties and Thirties. Vestal Press, 1997.
  3. Wagner, Bruce. "Moving Pictures", Annals of Hollywood, The New Yorker. July 20, 1998, p. 54.
  4. Dietrich, Noah; Thomas, Bob (1972). Howard, The Amazing Mr. Hughes. Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, Inc. p. 89.
  5. Gussow, Mel (January 6, 1998). "Billie Dove, Damsel in Distress In Silent Films, Is Dead at 97" . The New York Times . Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  6. Los Angeles Times: "Gail Adelson; Hostess, Home Designer to the Stars" by Myrna Oliver February 22, 1999
  7. "Billie Dove (1903–1997)", Goldensilents.com. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  8. Kliment, Bud. Billie Holiday . Holloway House Publishing, 1990, p. 29. ISBN   978-0-87067-561-4.