|Born||November 8, 1882|
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||June 6, 1966 83) (aged|
Oxnard, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)|| Joseph Kaufman  |
(m. 1915; died 1918)
(m. 1928;div. 1931)
Ethel Clayton (November 8, 1882 – June 6, 1966) was an American actress of the silent film era.
Born in Champaign, Illinois, Clayton attended St. Elizabeth's school in Chicago. 
Clayton debuted on stage as a professional as a member of the chorus in a production at the Chicago Opera House. After that, she worked with stock theater companies in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. 
On stage, Clayton appeared mainly in musicals or musical revues such as The Ziegfeld Follies of 1911. In addition to that production, her Broadway credits include Fancy Free (1918), You're in Love (1917), Nobody Home (1915), The Red Canary (1914), The Brute (1912), and His Name on the Door (1909). 
Clayton's first film was When the Earth Trembled.  Following appearances on screen in short dramas from 1909 to 1912, she made her feature-length film debut in For the Love of a Girl in 1912. Barry O'Neil directed the film, and Clayton later was directed by William Demille, Robert G. Vignola, George Melford and Donald Crisp in subsequent feature films. Like many silent film actors, Clayton's career was hurt by the coming of sound to motion pictures. She continued her career in small parts in films until she retired in 1948.
In 1931, Clayton obtained a California Superior Court order enjoining her former business partner, W.L. Rucker, from disposing of 316 pearls.  Clayton and Rucker agreed to purchase a cosmetics business and the pearls had been entrusted to Rucker to raise money. The deal fell through and he refused to return the jewels. Rucker admitted to possessing the pearls but claimed they had been pledged as security for a $125 loan. The pearls were valued at $20,000. 
Clayton was first married to actor-director Joseph Kaufman  until his death in 1918 in the Spanish flu epidemic.   She later married silent film actor and former star Ian Keith twice and they divorced twice. In both cases Clayton cited cruelty and excessive drinking. Clayton and Keith were first married in Minneapolis in 1928 and first separated on January 13, 1931. 
Clayton died on June 6, 1966 at Guardian Convalescent Hospital  in Oxnard, California, aged 83.  She was buried at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, California.[ citation needed ]
For her contributions to the motion picture industry, Clayton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6936 Hollywood Boulevard. 
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