Phyllis Haver

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Phyllis Haver
Phylllis Haver (1922 still).jpg
Haver in 1922
Born(1899-01-06)January 6, 1899
DiedNovember 19, 1960(1960-11-19) (aged 61)
Years active1915–1930
William Seeman
(m. 1929;div. 1945)

Phyllis Maude Haver (January 6, 1899 – November 19, 1960) was an American actress of the silent film era.


Early life

Haver was born in Douglass, Kansas to James Hiram Haver (18721936) and Minnie Shanks Malone (18791949). When she was young, her family moved to Los Angeles, California. Haver attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High. After graduating, she played piano to accompany the new silent films in local theaters. [1]


Haver auditioned for comedy producer Mack Sennett on a whim. Sennett hired her as one of his original Sennett Bathing Beauties. [2] Within a few years, she appeared as a leading lady in two-reelers for Sennett Studios. In 1923, Buster Keaton cast her as the female lead in his short The Balloonatic .

Later, while signed with DeMille-Pathé, Haver played the part of murderess Roxie Hart in the first film adaptation of Chicago in 1927, opposite Hungarian film actor Victor Varconi. One reviewer called her performance "astoundingly fine," and added that Haver "makes this combination of tragedy and comedy a most entertaining piece of work." [3]

She performed in the comedy film The Battle of the Sexes (1928), directed by D. W. Griffith, and appeared with Lon Chaney in his last silent film, Thunder (1929). Haver retired from the industry with two sound films to her credit.

Personal life

In 1929, she married millionaire William Seeman with a service performed by New York Mayor James J. Walker [4] at the home of Rube Goldberg, the cartoonist. The couple divorced in 1945. Haver had no children.


Haver retired in Sharon, Connecticut. She died at age 61 from an overdose of barbiturates in 1960. [5]

Selected filmography

Haver as a "beach beauty", photographed by Mack Sennett in 1917 Beach-bunny-mayer.jpg
Haver as a "beach beauty", photographed by Mack Sennett in 1917

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  1. The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra,; retrieved May 8, 2016.
  2. Phyllis Haver, Actress, dies, The Pittsburgh Press, November 21, 1960.
  3. Movie Review: Chicago Hall, Mordaunt. The New York Times, 1927; retrieved August 28, 2011.
  4. Death Comes to Silent Star, Phyllis Haver, The Milwaukee Journal, November 21, 1960.
  5. "Kansas Silent Film Star Phyllis Haver is Dead", Lawrence Journal-World, November 21, 1960.