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Aileen Pringle
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Aileen Pringle (July 23, 1895 – December 16, 1989) was an American stage and film actress during the silent film era.

Biography

Early life

Born Aileen Bisbee into a prominent and wealthy San Francisco, California family and educated in Europe, Pringle began her acting career shortly after her 1916 marriage to Charles McKenzie Pringle, the son of a wealthy titled British Jamaican landowner and a member of the Privy and Legislative Councils of Jamaica.

Career rise

One of Pringle's first high-profile roles was in the Rudolph Valentino film Stolen Moments (1920). Many of Pringle's early roles were only modestly successful, and she continued to build her career until the early 1920s when she was selected by her friend, the romance novelist Elinor Glyn to star in the 1924 film adaptation of her novel Three Weeks opposite matinee idol Conrad Nagel. The role catapulted Pringle into leading-lady status and her career began to build momentum.

Scandal

One small set-back occurred on November 15, 1924 when Aileen Pringle was among a select group of Hollywood elites who boarded a yacht in San Pedro, California called The Oneida owned by newspaper scion and billionaire William Randolph Hearst. The event was to be a birthday party organized by Hearst for film producer and director Thomas Ince.

Other prominent guests aboard The Oneida included columnist Louella Parsons, actor Charlie Chaplin, actress Marion Davies (who was also Hearst's lover) and actresses Seena Owen, Jacqueline Logan and Julanne Johnston.

At dinner that Sunday night, the group celebrated Ince's 42nd birthday. Early Monday morning, Ince was taken from the yacht by water taxi and brought ashore, accompanied by Dr. Goodman a licensed, though non-practicing, physician. By Tuesday night, Thomas Ince was dead.

Although the mysterious death of Thomas Ince was ruled to have been caused by a gastro-intestinal illness, the press frenzy that followed turned the event into a Hollywood legend; with various enigmatic and lurid stories being proffered by gossips. Among these, was a story of Hearst accidentally shooting Ince while aiming for Chaplin, who he believed to be having an affair with Marion Davies. Pringle's career weathered the controversy.

Later career

Pringle's acting career continued throughout the early 1920s, however, she was allegedly disliked by many of her co-workers for her apparently haughty and dismissive behavior. At one point she allegedly threatened actor Conrad Nagel with physical violence after he was instructed in a scene to carry her. Pringle's apparent disdain for her profession began to hurt her career, and by the late 1920s her roles became fewer.

Although disliked by some Hollywood insiders, Aileen Pringle was often dubbed by the press as the "Darling of the Intelligentsia" because of her close friendship with such literary figures as Carl Van Vechten, Joseph Hergesheimer, Rupert Hughes, and H. L. Mencken who became a life-long friend of the actress. Ralph Barton, American artist, was also a devoted friend and used her as the model for Dorothy in his illustrations for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos. Another admirer was George Gershwin who met her in Hollywood and wrote much of the Second Rhapsopdy at her Santa Monica, California home. Her wit, keen intellect and sparkling personality made her a sought-after companion.

After her 1926 divorce from Charles Pringle, Aileen Pringle further focused on her acting career, including Dream of Love (1928) with Joan Crawford and Wall Street (1929) co-starring Ralph Ince, brother of Thomas Ince. However, with the advent of talkies, the studios began heavily promoting a new crop of starlets and Pringle's career faded.

During the sound era, she continued to take small parts in major films and even uncredited roles. In 1944 Pringle married the author, James M. Cain, but the union lasted only two years and ended in divorce. By the late 1940s, Pringle retired from the screen and lived a wealthy retirement in New York City, where she died in 1989 at the age of 94.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Aileen Pringle was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6723 Hollywood Blvd., in Los Angeles, California.

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