Corinne Griffith

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Corinne Griffith
Corinne Mae Griffith

(1894-11-21)November 21, 1894
DiedJuly 13, 1979(1979-07-13) (aged 84)
EducationSacred Heart Convent
OccupationActress, producer, author
Years active1916–1932
Spouse(s) Webster Campbell (m.1920–div.1923)
Walter Morosco (m.1924–div.1934)
George Preston Marshall (m.1936–div.1958)
Danny Scholl (m.1965–div.1965)

Corinne Mae Griffith (November 21, 1894 – July 13, 1979) was an American film actress, producer and author. Dubbed The Orchid Lady of the Screen, [1] she was one of the most popular film actresses of the 1920s and widely considered the most beautiful actress of the silent screen. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Divine Lady .

Academy Award for Best Actress award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy Award for Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actor winner.

<i>The Divine Lady</i> 1929 film by Frank Lloyd

The Divine Lady is a 1929 American Vitaphone sound film with a synchronized musical score, sound effects, and some synchronized singing, but no spoken dialogue. It stars Corinne Griffith and tells the story of the love affair between Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton. It featured the theme song "Lady Divine", with lyrics by Richard Kountz and music by Nathaniel Shilkret, which became a popular hit in 1929 and was recorded by numerous artists, such as Shilkret, Frank Munn, Ben Selvin, Smith Ballew, Adrian Schubert, Sam Lanin, and Bob Haring.


Shortly after the advent of sound film, Griffith retired from acting and became a successful author and businesswoman. A biographical film about her life was released in 1963 titled Papa's Delicate Condition , based on her memoir and focusing on the relationship between her and her father.

Sound film motion picture with synchronized sound

A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades passed before sound motion pictures were made commercially practical. Reliable synchronization was difficult to achieve with the early sound-on-disc systems, and amplification and recording quality were also inadequate. Innovations in sound-on-film led to the first commercial screening of short motion pictures using the technology, which took place in 1923.

<i>Papas Delicate Condition</i> 1963 film by George Marshall

Papa's Delicate Condition is a 1963 American comedy film starring Jackie Gleason and Glynis Johns. It was an adaptation of the Corinne Griffith memoir of the same name, about her father and growing up in Texarkana, Texas. Jimmy Van Heusen (music) and Sammy Cahn (lyrics) won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Call Me Irresponsible".

Early life and career

An early starring feature, The Climbers . Corinne Griffith The Climbers Film Daily 1919.png
An early starring feature, The Climbers .

Griffith was born in Texarkana, Texas to John Lewis Griffin and Ambolina (Ambolyn) Ghio. She attended Sacred Heart Convent school in New Orleans and worked as a dancer before she began her acting career. [2]

Texarkana, Texas City in Texas, United States

Texarkana is a city in Bowie County, Texas, United States, located in the Ark-La-Tex region. Located approximately 180 miles (290 km) from Dallas, Texarkana is a twin city with neighboring Texarkana, Arkansas. The population of the Texas city was 37,679 at the 2016 census estimate. The city and its Arkansas counterpart form the core of the Texarkana Metropolitan Statistical Area, encompassing all of Bowie County, Texas, and Miller County, Arkansas. The two cities had a combined population of 67,592 at the 2017 census, and the metropolitan area had a total population of 150,098.

New Orleans Largest city in Louisiana

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With an estimated population of 393,292 in 2017, it is the most populous city in Louisiana. A major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

Griffith began her screen career at the Vitagraph Studios in 1916. She later moved to First National, where she became one of their most popular stars. [3] In 1928, she had the starring role in The Garden of Eden . The next year, in 1929, Griffith received an Academy Award nomination for her role in The Divine Lady .

Vitagraph Studios American film studio

Vitagraph Studios, also known as the Vitagraph Company of America, was a United States motion picture studio. It was founded by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in 1897 in Brooklyn, New York, as the American Vitagraph Company. By 1907 it was the most prolific American film production company, producing many famous silent films. It was bought by Warner Bros. in 1925.

First National Pictures film production company

First National Pictures was an American motion picture production and distribution company. It was founded in 1917 as First National Exhibitors' Circuit, Inc., an association of independent theater owners in the United States, and became the country's largest theater chain. Expanding from exhibiting movies to distributing them, the company reincorporated in 1919 as Associated First National Theatres, Inc., and Associated First National Pictures, Inc. In 1924 it expanded to become a motion picture production company as First National Pictures, Inc., and became an important studio in the film industry. In September 1928, control of First National passed to Warner Bros., into which it was completely absorbed on November 4, 1929. A number of Warner Bros. films were thereafter branded First National Pictures until 1936, when First National Pictures, Inc., was dissolved.

<i>The Garden of Eden</i> (1928 film) 1928 film by Lewis Milestone

The Garden of Eden is a 1928 silent film starring Corinne Griffith. It was adapted from Avery Hopwood's short-lived stage production.

Griffith's first sound film, Lilies of the Field, was released in 1930. Griffith's voice did not record well ( The New York Times stated that she "talked through her nose"), [1] and the film was a box office flop. [4] After appearing in one more Hollywood picture, Back Pay in 1930, and a British film Lily Christine in 1932, she retired from acting. She returned to the screen in 1962 in the low-budget melodrama Paradise Alley, which received scant release.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

Later career

Griffith was one of the few film stars to move successfully into new careers once her stardom had ended. She was an accomplished writer who published eleven books including two best sellers, My Life with the Redskins and the memoir Papa's Delicate Condition, which was made into a 1963 film starring Jackie Gleason about the Ghio and Griffin family. Her actual family names were used in the film.

Jackie Gleason American comedian, actor, and musician

John Herbert Gleason was an American comedian, actor, writer, composer and conductor. Developing a style and characters from growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy, exemplified by his bus driver Ralph Kramden character in the television series The Honeymooners. By filming the episodes with Electronicams, Gleason was later able to release the series in syndication, which increased its popularity over the years with new audiences. He also developed The Jackie Gleason Show, which maintained high ratings from the mid-1950s through 1970. After originating in New York City, filming moved to Miami, Florida, in 1964 after Gleason took up permanent residence there.

Her ventures into real estate were particularly successful (at one point she owned four different major office buildings in Los Angeles, each of them named after her).

Personal life

Griffith was a member of the Christian Science religion. [5]

While married to Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, she introduced NFL Commissioner Bert Bell to his future wife. She also introduced Curly Lambeau to his second and third wives. All were old friends from her film career.

She was a California Republican Committee Woman and an early advocate for the career of Richard Nixon. She was also an old friend of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

She was the long time consort to Curly Lambeau, who recommended various methods for operating a pro football team. Lambeau recommended Sammy Baugh as quarterback and the T formation. She later arranged for her husband to hire Lambeau as coach.


Griffith was married four times and produced no children but adopted two girls, Pamela and Cynthia. She was married to actor and frequent co-star Webster Campbell from 1920 to 1923, producer Walter Morosco from 1924 to 1934, and George Preston Marshall from 1936 to 1958. During her marriage to Marshall, she composed the lyrics to the Redskins fight song "Hail to the Redskins" which became one of the most famous football anthems. [6]

In 1965, she married and divorced her fourth husband, Broadway actor Danny Scholl ( Call Me Mister ). Scholl was 45, more than 25 years Griffith's junior. In court she testified that she was not Corinne Griffith. She claimed that she was the actress's younger (by twenty years) sister who had taken her place upon the famous sister's death. Contradictory testimony by actresses Betty Blythe and Claire Windsor, who had both known her since the 1920s, did not shake her story. [7] [8] In 1974, Adele Whitely Fletcher, editor of Photoplay , said Griffith was still claiming that she was her own younger sister.


On July 13, 1979, Griffith died of heart failure in Santa Monica, California, aged 84. [5]


For her contributions to the motion picture industry, Griffith has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street. [9]

Tom Tryon wrote a novella, Fedora , based on Griffith's claim that she had taken the place of the real actress. [5]


The Girl Problem (1919) The Girl Problem.jpg
The Girl Problem (1919)
1916La PalomaStellashort
1916Bitter SweetRuth Slatter - John's Wifeshort
1916When Hubby ForgotThe Maidshort
1916Sin's PenaltyLola Wilsonshort
1916Miss AdventureGloriashort
1916The Cost of High LivingJack's Sistershort
1916The Rich IdlerMarion- Mary's Friendshort
1916AshesThe Nurseshort
1916The Waters of LetheJoyce Dentonshort
1916The Yellow GirlCorinneshort
1916A Fool and His Friendshort
1916Through the WallPussy Wimott
1916The Last ManLorna
1916His Wife's Allowanceshort
1917The Mystery of Lake Letheshort
1917The Stolen TreatyIrene Mitchell
1917TransgressionMarion Hayward
1917The Love DoctorBlanche Hildreth
1917I Will RepayVirginia Rodney
1917Who Goes There?Karen Girard
1918The MenaceVirginia Denton
1918 Love Watches Jacqueline Cartaret
1918The Clutch of CircumstanceRuth Lawson
1918The Girl of TodayLeslie Selden
1918Miss Ambition Marta
1919 The Adventure Shop Phyllis Blake
1919The Girl ProblemErminie Foster
1919 The Unknown Quantity Mary Boyne
1919 Thin Ice Alice Winton
1919A Girl at BayMary Allen
1919The Bramble BushKaly Dial
1919 The Climbers Blanche Sterling
1920The Tower of JewelsEmily Cottrell
1920Human CollateralPatricia Langdon
1920 Deadline at Eleven Helen Stevens
1920The Garter GirlRosalie Ray
1920 Babs Barbara Marvin; "Babs"
1920The Whisper MarketErminie North
1920 The Broadway Bubble Adrienne Landreth/Drina Lynn
1921It Isn't Being Done This SeasonMarcia Ventnor
1921 What's Your Reputation Worth? Cara Deene
1921Moral FibreMarion Wolcott
1921 The Single Track Janette Gildersleeve
1922Received Payment
1922A Virgin's Sacrifice
1922 Island Wives Elsa Melton
1922 Divorce Coupons Linda Catherton
1922 The Common Law Valerie West
1923 Black Oxen Madame Zatianny/Mary Ogden
1923Six DaysLaline Kingston
1924 Single Wives Betty JordanExecutive producer
1924 Love's Wilderness Linda Lou HeathExecutive producer
1924 Lilies of the Field Mildred HarkerExecutive producer
1925 Declassee Lady Helen HadenProducer
1925 Classified Babs CometProducer
1925 Infatuation Violet BancroftExecutive producer
Lost film
1925 The Marriage Whirl Marian HaleExecutive producer
Lost film
1926 Mademoiselle Modiste FifiExecutive producer
Lost film
1926 Into Her Kingdom Grand Duchess Tatiana (at 12 and 20)Executive producer
Lost film
1926 Syncopating Sue Susan AdamsExecutive producer
Lost film
1927 The Lady in Ermine Mariana BeltramiExecutive producer
Lost film
1927 Three Hours Madeline DurkinExecutive producer
1928 The Garden of Eden Toni LeBrun
1928 Outcast MiriamPrint Exists
1929Saturday's ChildrenBobby Halevy
1929 Prisoners Riza Riga
1929 The Divine Lady Lady Emma Hart Hamilton
1930 Lilies of the Field Mildred HarkerLost film
1930 Back Pay Hester Bevins
1932 Lily Christine Lily Christine SummersetSurvival Status Unknown
1962 Paradise Alley Mrs. WilsonAlternative title: Stars in the Backyard

Books by Corinne Griffith

See also

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