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Pauline Frederick


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Pauline Frederick (August 12, 1883, Boston, Massachusetts — September 19, 1938, Beverly Hills, California) was a leading Broadway actress who later became known for her Hollywood films.

Early years

Pauline Frederick was born Beatrice Pauline Libby in 1883. “My birthday is – or rather was, for I have had my last – August 12,” she later stated in an interview in Motion Picture Magazine (December 1918). “On that date, according to records, I joined the other little beans in Boston. I had four nationalities from which to choose my temperament – first my good old United States; second my mother’s ancestors, who were Scotch; and third, my father’s who were French and English. Such a combination I realized beforehand would be essential to the making of a picture star and acted accordingly.” she was an established stage actor when she made her first film in 1915. She made her last film in 1937. The following year, she died of complications from asthma and was cremated.


As a girl she was fascinated with show business, and determined early to place her goals in the direction of the theater. She reminisced in an interview in Motion Picture Magazine (December 1918)

As a child there were several things besides some well-known young medicines that I disliked to take, and one of these was a dare. When one of my playmates, whose favorite pastime was running off to the theater whenever we could save money enough to buy tickets and reproducing what we had seen on an elaborate home scale, said: ‘Polly, I dare you to go on the real stage,’ of course I just had to go. I had been studying singing, and succeeded in persuading the manager of a vaudeville house in Boston to hear a couple of my songs. “I’ll put you on for a week,” the manager agreed, “and pay you fifty dollars.”

That was the first money she earned, and to Pauline, it seemed like a fortune. “My chums were there in full force that night waiting to see ‘Polly take her dare,’ and for their sakes I had to be brave about it, though I can remember to this day how I quaked inwardly when I stepped out on the stage and saw the hundreds of eyes turned toward me. I thought each eye was saying: ‘She never did this before,’ and in companion I was answering: ‘No, she never did.’ Well, I managed to get through my three songs some way or another, and after that it wasn’t so bad. That first week gave me the courage to go further and, of course, further meant New York.”

In 1908 Pauline was in a serious automobile wreck. It was later discovered that this wreck impaired her ability to have children.

A well-known stage star, Frederick was already in her 30s when she began making films. She specialized in playing commanding and authoritative women throughout her film career. Her stunning beauty stayed with her as she aged into her best remembered roles—sacrificing mothers and 40-something women having a last fling at youth and romance. She 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 generally played an angry matriarch. Frederick never shyed away from parts that often other actresses of the time feared, often due to the role being controversial or out of character.

Frederick has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard. Many of Frederick's silent films such as The Eternal City (1915) are now considered lost films. Others survive in fragile condition in sole remaining prints in archives. One example that survives and is readily available on home video is Smouldering Fires (1925) that showcase her talents as a dramatic actress.

More of her work is available in the talkie era such as This Modern Age with Joan Crawford, the excellent whodunnit The Phantom of Crestwood (1932) and the color film Ramona (1936). Crawford idolized Frederick and based a lot of her persona on the veteran actress.

Personal life

Pauline Frederick married 5 times:

Frank Mills Andrews (1909 - 1913)

Willard Mack (1917-1919)

Dr. C.A. Rutherford (1922 - ?)

Hugh C. Leighton (1930 - ?)

Col. Joseph A. Marmon (January 1934 - December 1934) (his death)

She also had a two-year affair with Clark Gable in the 1920s when Gable was a struggling young actor. She was old enough to be his mother.

She gave birth to a baby girl on May 21, 1905 (see Pauline Frederick Discussion)


The Eternal City (1915)

Sold (1915)

Zaza (1915)

Bella Donna (1915)

Lydia Gilmore (1915)

The Spider (1916)

Audrey (1916)

The Moment Before (1916)

The World's Great Snare (1916)

The Woman in the Case (1916)

Ashes of Embers (1916)

Nanette of the Wilds (1916)

The Slave Island (1916)

The Slave Market (1917)

Sapho (1917)

Sleeping Fires (1917)

Her Better Self (1917)

The Love That Lives (1917)

Double Crossed (1917)

The Hungry Heart (1917)

Stake Uncle Sam to Play Your Hand (1918)

Mrs. Dane's Defense (1918)

Madame Jealousy (1918)

La Tosca (1918)

Resurrection (1918)

Her Final Reckoning (1918)

Fedora (1918)

A Daughter of the Old South (1918)

Out of the Shadow (1919)

The Woman on the Index (1919)

Paid in Full (1919)

One Week of Life (1919)

The Fear Woman (1919)

The Peace of Roaring River (1919)

Bonds of Love (1919)

The Loves of Letty (1919)

The Woman in Room 13 (1920)

The Paliser Case (1920)

Madame X (1920)

A Slave of Vanity (1920)

The Mistress of Shenstone (1921)

Roads of Destiny (1921)

Salvage (1921)

The Sting of the Lash (1911)

The Lure of Jade (1921)

The Woman Breed (1922)

Two Kinds of Women (1922)

The Glory of Clementina (1922)

Let Not Man Put Asunder (1924)

Married Flirts (1924)

Three Women (1924)

Smouldering Fires (1925)

Her Honor, the Governor (1926)

Devil's Island (1926)

Josselyn's Wife (1926)

The Nest (1927)

Mumsie (1927)

On Trial (1928)

Evidence (1929)

The Sacred Flame (1929)

Terra Melophon Magazin Nr. 1 (1930)

This Modern Age (1931)

Wayward (1932)

The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)

Self Defense (1932)

The Social Register (1934)

My Marriage (1935)

Ramona (1936)

Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937)





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