Pauline Frederick

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Pauline Frederick
Pauline Frederick, Sarony. 1914.jpg
Frederick in 1914
Pauline Beatrice Libbey

(1883-08-12)August 12, 1883
DiedSeptember 19, 1938(1938-09-19) (aged 55)
Resting place Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery
Years active19021937
(m. 1909;div. 1913)
(m. 1917;div. 1920)
Dr. C.A. Rutherford
(m. 1922;div. 1925)
Hugh C. Leighton
(m. 1930;annulled 1930)
Col. Joseph A. Marmon
(m. 1934;died 1934)
Pauline Frederick Signature - Jun 1918 FF.jpg

Pauline Frederick (born Pauline Beatrice Libbey, August 12, 1883 – September 19, 1938) was an American stage and film actress.


Early life

Frederick was born Pauline Beatrice Libbey (later changed to Libby) in Boston in 1883 (some sources state 1884 or 1885), [1] the only child of Richard O. and Loretta C. Libbey. Her father worked as a yardmaster for the Old Colony Railroad before becoming a salesman. Her parents separated when she was a toddler and Frederick was raised primarily by her mother to whom she remained close for the remainder of her life (her parents divorced around 1897). As a girl, she was fascinated with show business, and determined early to place her goals in the direction of the theater. She studied acting, singing and dancing at Miss Blanchard's Finishing School in Boston where she later graduated. [2] [3]

Her father, however, discouraged her ambitions to be an actress and encouraged her to become an elocution teacher. After pursuing a career as an actress, her father disinherited her (he died in 1922). Due to her father's attitude towards her acting career, Pauline adopted the surname "Frederick" as her stage name. [4] She legally changed her name to Pauline Frederick in 1908. [2]


Pauline Frederick as Potiphar's wife from the play Joseph and His Brethren (1910). Paulinefrederick 5 retouched.jpg
Pauline Frederick as Potiphar's wife from the play Joseph and His Brethren (1910).

She made her stage debut at the age of 17 as a chorus girl in the farce The Rogers Brothers at Harvard, but was fired shortly thereafter. [4] [5] She won other small roles on the stage before being discovered by illustrator Harrison Fisher who called her "the purest American beauty." With Fisher's help, she landed more substantial stage roles. Nicknamed "The Girl with the Topaz Eyes", Frederick was cast in the lead roles in the touring productions of The Little Gray Lady and The Girl in White in 1906. She briefly retired from acting after her first marriage in 1909, but returned to the stage in January 1913 in Joseph and His Brethren. [2] [4]

A well-known stage star, Frederick was already in her 30s when she made her film debut in 1915 as Donna Roma in The Eternal City . [6] In March 1927, she received some of her better reviews when she appeared in the play Madame X in London. [4] Frederick was able to make a successful transition to "talkies" in 1929, and was cast as Joan Crawford's mother in This Modern Age (1931). Frederick did not like acting in sound films and returned to Broadway in 1932 in When the Bough Breaks. She would continue the remainder of her career appearing in films and also touring in stage productions in the United States, Europe and Australia. [4]

Personal life

Frederick's personal life was beset with marital and financial problems. Despite having reportedly made $1 million for her work in silent films, Frederick filed for bankruptcy in 1933. [4]

Frederick was married five times. In 1909, she married architect Frank Mills Andrews. Frederick then briefly retired from acting after their daughter Pauline was born in 1910, but returned upon divorcing Andrews in 1913. [2] She married her second husband, playwright Willard Mack, on September 27, 1917. [7] They divorced in August 1920. [8] Her third husband was Dr. Charles A. Rutherford, a physician, whom she married in Santa Ana, California in 1922. Frederick filed for divorce in December 1924. [9] [10] Their divorce was finalized on January 6, 1925. [11]

It was around this time that the then 43-year-old first met the much younger Clark Gable, then a struggling actor, with whom she allegedly had a two-year affair. [12] [13]

Frederick married her fourth husband, millionaire hotel and Interstate News Company owner Hugh Chisholm Leighton (1878-1942) on April 20, 1930 in New York City. [14] [15] [16] Leighton had the marriage annulled in December 1930 claiming that he was Frederick's husband "in name only". [9] [17]

Frederick's fifth marriage, in January 1934, was to an ailing United States Army colonel, Joseph A. Marmon, commander of the 16th Infantry Regiment. [18] They remained married until Marmon's death on December 4, 1934. [19]


On January 17, 1936, Frederick underwent emergency surgery on her abdomen. [20] Her health steadily declined, which limited her ability to work. [21] She was dealt a further blow when her mother died in 1937. [5]

On September 16, 1938, Frederick suffered an asthma attack. She suffered a second, fatal asthma attack on September 19, 1938 while she was recuperating at her aunt's home in Beverly Hills. [22] [5] [21] According to her wishes, a private funeral was held on September 23, 1938 in Hollywood, [23] after which she was buried at Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. [24]

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Pauline Frederick has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard. [25]


Ashes of Embers (1916) Ashes of Embers.jpg
Ashes of Embers (1916)
The Woman on the Index (1919) The Woman on the Index 2.jpg
The Woman on the Index (1919)
1915 The Eternal City Donna RomaLost film
1915 Sold HelenLost film
1915 Zaza ZaZaLost film
1915 Bella Donna Bella Donna (Ruby Chepstow)Lost film
1915 Lydia Gilmore Lydia GilmoreLost film
1916 The Spider Valerie St. Cyr/Joan MarcheLost film
1916 Audrey AudreyLost film
1916 The Moment Before MadgeA 35mm nitrate copy of the film is housed at the Cineteca Nazionale film archive in Rome. [26] The print is missing one sequence described as "the opening scene before the flashback." [27]
1916 The World's Great Snare MyraLost film
1916 The Woman in the Case Margaret Rolfe
1916 Ashes of Embers Laura Ward/Agnes WardLost film
1916 Nanette of the Wilds Nanette GauntierLost film
1917 The Slave Market RamonaLost film
1917 Sapho Sapho, aka Fanny LagrandLost film
1917 Sleeping Fires Zelma BryceLost film
1917 Her Better Self Vivian TylerLost film
1917 The Love That Lives Molly McGill
1917 Double Crossed Eleanor StrattonLost film
1917 The Hungry Heart Courtney VaughanLost film
1918 Mrs. Dane's Defense Felicia HindemarshLost film
1918 Madame Jealousy Madame JealousyLost film
1918 La Tosca Floria ToscaLost film
1918 Resurrection KatushaLost film
1918 Her Final Reckoning MarsaLost film
1918 Fedora Princess FedoraLost film
1918Stake Uncle Sam to Play Your HandMiss Liberty LoanShort film
1918 A Daughter of the Old South Dolores JardineLost film
1919 Out of the Shadow Ruth MinchinLost film
1919 The Woman on the Index Sylvia MartinLost film
1919 Paid in Full Emma BrooksLost Famous Players-Lasky/ Paramount feature
1919 One Week of Life Mrs. Sherwood & Marion RocheLost film
1919 The Fear Woman Helen WinthropLost film
1919 The Peace of Roaring River Madge NelsonLost film
1919 Bonds of Love Una SayreLost film
1919 The Loves of Letty Letty Shell
1920 The Paliser Case Cassy CaraLost film
1920 The Woman in Room 13 Laura BruceLost film
1920 Madame X Jacqueline Floriot
1920 A Slave of Vanity Iris BellamyLost film ...First Robertson-Cole release
1921 The Mistress of Shenstone Lady Myra Inglebyextant; abridged or incomplete
1921 Roads of Destiny Dolly Jordan LennonLost film ...Final Goldwyn Pictures release
1921 Salvage Bernice Ridgeway/Kate MartinLost film
1921 The Sting of the Lash Dorothy KeithLost film
1921 The Lure of Jade Sara VincentLost film
1922 The Woman Breed
1922 Two Kinds of Women Judith SanfordLost film
1922 The Glory of Clementina Clementina WingLost film
1924 Let Not Man Put Asunder Petrina FaneuilLost film
1924 Married Flirts Nellie WayneLost film
1924 Three Women Mrs. Mabel Wilton
1925 Smouldering Fires Jane Vale
1926 Her Honor, the Governor Adele Fenway
1926 Devil's Island Jeannette Picto
1926 Josselyn's Wife Lillian JosselynLost film
1927 Mumsie MumsieLost film
1927 The Nest Mrs. Hamilton
1928 On Trial Joan TraskLost film
1929 Evidence Myra StanhopeLost film
1929 The Sacred Flame Mrs. Taylor - the MotherLost film
1930Terra Melophon Magazin Nr. 1Die ZofeEpisode: "Was Ziehe ich an, Bevor ich mich anziehe"
1931 This Modern Age Diane "Di" Winters
1932 Wayward Mrs. Eleanor Frost
1932 The Phantom of Crestwood Faith Andes
1932 Self Defense Katy Devoux
1934 Social Register Mrs. Breene
1935 My Marriage Mrs. DeWitt Tyler II
1936 Ramona Señora Moreno
1937 Thank You, Mr. Moto Madame Chung

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  2. 1 2 3 4 James, Edward T., ed. (1971). Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume 1. Harvard University Press. p. 665. ISBN   0-674-62734-2.
  3. "Pauline Frederick Loyal to Her Divorced Mother". The Newburgh Daily News. September 12, 1922. p. 1. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Pauline Frederick Dies In California". The Montreal Gazette. September 28, 1938. p. 9. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 "Pauline Frederick Dies After Two Year Illness". The Pittsburgh Press. September 20, 1938. p. 11. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  6. Elwood, Muriel (1940). Pauline Frederick: On and Off The Stage. A. Kroch. p. 60.
  7. "Pauline Frederick Weds". The Baltimore Sun. September 28, 1917. p. 3.
  8. "Actress' Fourth Marriage Ends in Separation". The Meriden Daily Journal. December 19, 1930. p. 11. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  9. 1 2 "Fourth Matrimonial Venture of Pauline Frederick Ended as Husband Gets Separation". The Evening Independent. December 19, 1930. pp. 6–A. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  10. "Pauline Frederick Asks New Divorce". Times Daily. December 16, 1924. p. 1. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  11. "Divorce Is Accorded Film Star". The Los Angeles Times. January 7, 1925. p. A11.
  12. Bret, David (February 6, 2014). Clark Gable: Tormented Star. Aurum Press Limited. pp. 42–43. ISBN   9781781313527 . Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  13. Spicer, Chrystopher J. (January 15, 2002). Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography. McFarland. p. 49. ISBN   9780786411245 . Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  14. "Pauline Frederick Marries Leighton". The Newburgh New. April 21, 1930. p. 2. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  15. "Pauline Frederick Is Bride 4th Time". The Border Cities Star. April 22, 1930. p. 8. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  16. "6 May 1930, Page 23 - The Los Angeles Times at".
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-08. Retrieved 2016-06-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. "Pauline Frederick Becomes Brides of U.S. Army Colonel". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 26, 1934. p. 2. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  19. "Actress' Husband Dies". St. Joseph News-Press. December 4, 1934. p. 8. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  20. "Miss Frederick Gaining After Her Operation". The Los Angeles Times. January 19, 1936. p. A1.
  21. 1 2 "Famed Actress Dies". Berkeley Daily Gazette. September 20, 1938. p. 3. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  22. "Pauline Frederick Dies on the Coast. Stage and Film Actress, Who Made Theatrical Debut Here in 1902, Succumbs at 53". New York Times . September 20, 1938.
  23. "Final Tribute Paid Pauline Frederick". Daily Boston Globe. September 23, 1938. p. 2.
  24. Parish, James Robert (2002). The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More Than 125 American Movie and TV Idols. Chicago: Contemporary Books. p. 393. ISBN   9780809222278.
  25. "Hollywood Star Walk: Pauline Frederick". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  26. "The Moment Before". Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  27. "The Filmography of Pauline Frederick". Greta de Groat, Metadata Librarian for Electronic and Visual Resources, Stanford University.