Sunday, July 8, 2012

Silent Film Star Photos: Marie Prevost, most famous for being the subject of a Nick Lowe song, "Marie Provost" .

Marie Prevost (November 8, 1898 – January 21, 1937) .During her twenty year career, she made 121 silent and talking pictures.

While working as a secretary, she landed a acting job at the Hollywood studio owned by Mack Sennett. Sennett, nicked named her the "French girl", adding Dunn to his collection of bathing beauties. In 1919, Prevost secretly married socialite, Sonny Gerke. Gerke's mother had forbidden him to associate with Prevost because she was an actress, so to avoid scandle they stayed secretly married until 1923.

One of her first film roles was in the romantic classic, Love, Honor, and Behave(1920). In 1921 she signed with Universal. There Irving Thalberg, selected two films for Prevost to star in, The Moonlight Follies (1921) and Kissed (1922), Thalberg sent Prevost to Coney Island where she publicly burned her bathing suit to symbolize the end of her bathing beauty days.
After her contract expired, Jack Warner signed her to a two year contract at $1500 a week at Warner Bros. in 1922. During this time, Prevost was dating actor Kenneth Harlan. Jack Warner had also signed Harlan to a contract and cast the couple in the lead roles in, The Beautiful and Damned. To publicize the film, Warner announced that the couple would marry on the film's set and thousands of fans sent gifts and letters to the couple.

The Los Angeles Mirror, wrote Prevost was still married to Sonny Gerke and ran a story with the headline "Marie Prevost Will be a Bigamist if She Marries Kenneth Harlan". Warner was livid over Prevost's failure to tell him about her first marriage. Warner, quickly arranged an annulment and Prevost and Harlan were then married.

In spite of the bad publicity, Prevost's performance in, The Beautiful and Damned brought good reviews. Director Ernst Lubitsch chose her for a major role opposite Adolphe Menjou in, The Marriage Circle(1924). Ernst Lubitsch, said that she was one of the few actresses in Hollywood who knew how to underplay comedy.

Lubitsch, was then cast in, Three Women (1924) and in Kiss Me Again(1923) the following year. Just as her career was blossoming, Prevost's mother was killed in an automobile accident while traveling in Florida with actress Vera Steadman and Hollywood studio owner, Al Christie.

A year later, her marriage to Harlan ended in divorce. Prevost tried to get past her personal problems by burying herself in her work. After seeing Prevost in The Beautiful and Damned, Howard Hughes cast her as the lead in, The Racket (1928). During filming, Hughes and Prevost had a brief affair. Hughes quickly broke off the affair leaving Prevost heartbroken and her days as a leading lady were over.

She did land a secondary role in the film, Paid (1930), which stared Joan Crawford. By 1934, her acting career had ended.


  1. I've always felt that Marie had turned into a rather good character actress in the 30s. I guess it's difficult to leave the glamour behind.

    Love her in "The Racket". I much prefer the silent version to the sound remake.

  2. Nicely done, Dawn! ...And Kudos for mentioning the Nick Lowe song! It took me decades to realize that his song was actually about a real person. ;)

  3. Caftan Woman, I would love to see more of Marie's silent films..

    Barry P. Thank you. We are in the same boat. I also, did not realize Nick Lowe song, was about a real person, until I was researching Marie's bio.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.