Mary Loretta Philbin (July 16, 1902 – May 7, 1993) was an
American film actress of the silent film era, who is best known for
playing the roles of
Christine Daaé in the 1925 film The Phantom of
the Opera opposite Lon Chaney, and as Dea in The Man Who Laughs. Both
roles cast her as the beauty in Beauty and the Beast-type stories.
1 Early life
3 Later life and death
5 Notes and references
6 External links
Philbin was born on July 16, 1902
Chicago, Illinois into a
Irish American family and raised Roman Catholic. Her
father, John Philbin, was born in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, Ireland.
Philbin began her acting career after winning a beauty contest
sponsored by Universal Pictures in Chicago. Relocating to
Erich von Stroheim
Erich von Stroheim signed her to a contract with
Universal, deeming her a "Universal Super Jewel."
She made her screen debut in 1921 and the following year was awarded
at the first annual
WAMPAS Baby Stars
WAMPAS Baby Stars awards, a promotional campaign
sponsored by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers in
the United States, which honoured thirteen young women each year whom
they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom.
Over the course of 1920s, Philbin became a successful film actress and
starred in a number of high-profile films, most notably in D. W.
Griffith's 1928 film Drums of Love. In 1927, she appeared in the
horror film Surrender, though her most celebrated role was in the
Universal horror film The Phantom of the Opera in 1925. Philbin's
ethereal screen presence was noted in a 1924 edition of Motion Picture
Classic, in which she was referred to as "one of the astonishing
anomalies of motion pictures...Pat O'Malley once said of her: "If I
were superstitious I would think that the spirit of some great
tragedienne of a forgotten past slipped into Mary's soul."
Philbin played a few parts during the early talkie era and most
notably dubbed her own voice when The Phantom of the Opera was given
sound and re-released. She retired from the screen in the early 1930s
and devoted her life to care for her aging parents.
Later life and death
Philbin spent the remainder of her life after leaving the film
industry as a recluse, living in the same home in Huntington Beach,
California. She never married and rarely made public appearances.
One rare public appearance by Philbin occurred in her later years at
the Los Angeles opening of the
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom
of the Opera.
She died of pneumonia at age 90 in 1993 and was buried at the Calvary
Cemetery in east Los Angeles, California.
Mary Philbin in
Danger Ahead (1921)
Arthur Edmund Carewe
Arthur Edmund Carewe &
Mary Philbin in The Phantom of the Opera
The Blazing Trail
Twelve Hours to Live
No Clothes to Guide Him
His First Job
Once to Every Boy
Penrod and Sam
Where Is This West?
The Age of Desire
Margy (age 18)
The Temple of Venus
The Thrill Chaser
The Gaiety Girl
The Rose of Paris
Fifth Avenue Models
The Phantom of the Opera
Stella Maris/Unity Blake
The Last Performance
Love Me and the World Is Mine
Drums of Love
The Man Who Laughs
Port of Dreams
The Shannons of Broadway
After the Fog
Notes and references
California Death Index, 1940-1997," database, FamilySearch
(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VP2K-JTB : 26 November
2014), Mary Loretta Philbin, 07 May 1993; Department of Public Health
^ a b c Slide 2002, p. 307.
^ "Recently Noted". The Catholic Charities Review. 26–27: 70.
^ a b Sanchez 1930, p. 159.
^ Beck 1978, p. 63.
^ Beck 1978, p. 62.
^ "Tears". Motion Picture Classic. 20–21: 41. 1924.
^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than
14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 588.
ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
Beck, Calvin Thomas (1978). Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors.
Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-020-12140-4.
Sanchez, Nellie Van de Grift (1930).
California and Californians. 3.
The Lewis Publishing Co.
Slide, Anthony (2002). Silent Players: A Biographical and
Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses.
University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-813-12249-6.
Find more aboutMary Philbinat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Mary Philbin on IMDb
Mary Philbin at the
American Film Institute
American Film Institute catalog
Mary Philbin at Golden Silents
Mary Philbin at Find a Grave
Photographs and literature
ISNI: 0000 0000 6310 2267
BNF: cb14215680m (data)