Mary Murillo

Last updated

Mary Murrillo
Murrillo in 1918
Mary O'Connor

(1888-01-22)January 22, 1888
Bradford, England
DiedFebruary 4, 1944(1944-02-04) (aged 56)
Ickenham, England
OccupationActress, screenwriter

Mary Murillo (born Mary O'Connor; January 22, 1888 – February 4, 1944) was an English actress, screenwriter, and businesswoman active during Hollywood's silent era. [1]


Early life

Mary was the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Mary Peacock (née Sunter). In 1894, her mother married Edward O'Connor, a Roman Catholic Irish commercial traveller, and she was raised as Mary O'Connor. [2] She was the eldest of four sisters (she also had an elder stepsister, Isabel Peacock, who later appeared in American films as Isabel Daintry). She was educated at St. Monica's in Skipton, Yorkshire, and at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School [3] in Roehampton. She adopted the professional name Mary Murillo after being compared in looks to a Murillo painting of the Madonna.


In 1908, she traveled to America with her stepsister to start a stage career, and in February 1909, she made her debut in the chorus of the Broadway musical comedy Havana. She toured the United States, finding only small parts until 1913, when she started sending scenarios to film companies. Her first script to be accepted was bought by the husband-and-wife team of Phillips Smalley and Lois Weber. Other commissions followed, and the first film known to be credited to her is 1914's A Strand of Blond Hair, a Vitagraph comedy short starring John Bunny and Flora Finch. [4]

She wrote five melodramas for Theda Bara during the 1910s popularity of vamp films. She also wrote for Bara's Fox rival, Valeska Suratt. Murillo served as screenwriter for Fox Film from 1916 to 1917, then joining Norma Talmadge Productions in 1919. She returned to the UK in 1923 to work for Stoll Film Studios. She wrote the script for the hit French sound film Accusée, levez-vous! (1930). [4] In 1936, she formed the company Opticolor to market in Britain a French motion picture colour system, Francita, developed by her husband, Maurice Velle, son of French film pioneer Gaston Velle, but the business failed after a disastrous demonstration of the system. [5] She later worked for J. Arthur Rank, 1st Baron Rank's Religious Films Ltd.

A selection of films made by Murillo, Maurice Velle, and Gaston Velle was featured at Il Cinema Ritrovato film festival in Bologna in 2015. [6] [7]


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sam De Grasse</span> Canadian actor (1875–1953)

Samuel Alfred De Grasse was a Canadian actor. He was the uncle of cinematographer Robert De Grasse.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Viola Dana</span> American actress (1897–1987)

Viola Dana was an American film actress who was successful during the era of silent films. She appeared in over 100 films, but was unable to make the transition to sound films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maurice Tourneur</span> French film director and screenwriter (1876–1961)

Maurice Félix Thomas, known as Maurice Tourneur, was a French film director and screenwriter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Olga Petrova</span> British-American actress, screenwriter and playwright (1884-1977)

Olga Petrova was a British-American actress, screenwriter and playwright.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Rosher</span> English cinematographer (1885–1974)

Charles G. Rosher, A.S.C. was an English-born cinematographer who worked from the early days of silent films through the 1950s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Francesca Bertini</span> Italian silent film actress (1892–1985)

Francesca Bertini was an Italian silent film actress. She was one of the most successful silent film stars in the first quarter of the twentieth-century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vivian Martin</span> American actress

Vivian Martin was an American stage and silent film actress.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ouida Bergère</span> American screenwriter and actress (1886–1974)

Ouida Bergère was an American screenwriter and actress.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fritzi Brunette</span> American actress

Fritzi Brunette was an American actress.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eugenie Forde</span> American silent film actress

Eugenie Forde was an American silent film actress.

Maurice Elvey was one of the most prolific film directors in British history. He directed nearly 200 films between 1913 and 1957. During the silent film era he directed as many as twenty films per year. He also produced more than fifty films - his own as well as films directed by others.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Herbert Blaché</span> American film director

Herbert Blaché, born Herbert Reginald Gaston Blaché-Bolton was a British-born American film director, producer and screenwriter, born of a French father. He directed more than 50 films between 1912 and 1929.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Margaret Turnbull (screenwriter)</span> Scottish screenwriter

Margaret Turnbull was a Scottish novelist, playwright and screenwriter in silent films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maurits Binger</span> Dutch film director

Maurits Binger was a Dutch film director, producer and screenwriter of the silent era. He directed 39 films between 1913 and 1922 and is considered one of the pioneers of fictional films in the Netherlands. Binger's studio and base of operations was in Haarlem, North Holland. Between 1919 and 1923 he was managing director of Anglo-Hollandia an attempt to break into the larger British market. There is a film institute in the Netherlands in his name. He is sometimes referred to as Maurice Binger.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gerald Ames</span> Actor, director, olympic fencer

Gerald Ames was a British actor, film director and Olympic fencer. Ames was born in Blackheath, London in 1880 and first took up acting in 1905. He was a popular leading man in the post-First World War cinema, appearing in more than sixty films between his debut in 1914 and his retirement from the screen in 1928 in a career entirely encompassing the silent era. He was also a regular stage actor who took on many leading roles in the theatre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Violet Hopson</span> British actress

Violet Hopson was an actress and producer who achieved fame on the British stage and in British silent films. She was born Elma Kate Victoria Karkeek in Port Augusta, South Australia on 16 December 1887. Violet Hopson was her stage name, while in childhood she was known as Kate or Kitty to her family.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Herbert Standing</span> British actor

Herbert Standing was a British stage and screen actor and the patriarch of the Standing family of actors. He was the father of numerous children, many of whom had careers in theatre and cinema. Toward the end of his life, he appeared in many Hollywood silent films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rudolf Biebrach</span> German actor and director

Rudolf Biebrach was a German actor and film director. He directed over 70 films between 1909 and 1930; and he appeared as an actor in nearly 110 films between 1909 and 1938. In his youth, Biebrach had worked for some years as an engraver. He got his first engagement as an actor in Gießen during 1890/1891. After a long career as a stage actor, Biebrach managed to become a successful director and character actor in the German film during the 1910s. He directed many films with Henny Porten and Lotte Neumann.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ivo Illuminati</span> Italian film director, screenwriter (1882–1963)

Ivo Illuminati was an Italian film director, actor and screenwriter and a pioneer of the Italian silent movie.

Alfred Gosden (1873–1941) was a British cinematographer active in the American film industry during the silent era. Before moving to Hollywood he worked on the 1912 British documentary With Our King and Queen Through India. In America he worked on a number of films for Triangle, Universal Pictures and other studios.


  1. The Bioscope, Reporting on the world of early and silent cinema: Searching for Mary Murillo 5 November 2009
  2. "Gaston, Maurice and Mary". Luke McKernan. 16 May 2015.
  3. "Scenario Writers and Editors". Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual: 236. 1919 via
  4. 1 2 Profile of Mary Murillo at
  5. "Francita-Reality / Francita / Opticolor / Realita".
  6. "The Velle Connection 1900-1930: Gaston, Maurice and Mary Murillo". Il Cinema Ritrovato.
  7. "Columbia University › wfpp › pioneer Mary Murillo – Women Film Pioneers Project". Columbia University.

Further reading