8 most scandalous silent film stars

8 most scandalous silent film stars

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We all know what modern Hollywood movies are like with their smart dialogue, explosive sound, and superb special effects. Sometimes we can forget about the humbler origins of films. As most people know, the first films ever made were completely silent, with no on-screen dialogue between characters. The real golden age of silent cinema was from the turn of the 20th century until the late 1920s.

During this time, films such as The Circus and The Birth of a Nation became hits and became the mainstay of the modern film industry. Of course, this also meant that we saw actors involved in silent films become big stars too. From people like Charlie Chaplin to Barbara La Marr.

However, do not think that these stars did not participate in scandals! While it's tempting to think of the silent film era as more innocent, the big names then reached the same level as they do today. Here are ten of the most controversial silent movie stars of all time.

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8 most scandalous silent film stars

1. Barbara La Marr.

La Marr was a big star during the silent film era and appeared in almost 30 films during her career. Some of them were very popular, like the "Prisoner of Zenda", which made her a household name all over the world. Unfortunately, that and her natural beauty didn't keep her out of scandals! Married four times, she had a secret son whose existence was hidden so as not to ruin her career. She is said to have only slept 2 hours a night and followed a series of strange diets.

8 most scandalous silent film stars

2. William Desmond Taylor.

This is indeed a strange case from the heights of the rumbling silent film era. Taylor was both a successful actor and director, and the world seemed to be at his feet. He made almost 60 films and starred in 27 of them - mostly with great success. However, all this stopped in February 1922, when he was apparently killed. The subsequent investigation uncovered Taylor's questionable lifestyle, which was said to include sexual perversion, drug dealing, heavy drinking, and possibly even Satanism. The prime suspect was an actress named Mabel Normand, who many said was with Taylor on the night of his murder. No one has been charged and it remains unclear who killed the famous director.

8 most scandalous silent film stars

3. Olive Thomas.

Another silent movie star with a seemingly outrageous life was Olivia Thomas. First coming to prominence in 1916, she soon married the actor Jack Pickford. Their glamorous life seemed perfect, but behind the scenes, things weren't going so well. Their marriage was reportedly in trouble due to long breaks from work. This led to them going on a second honeymoon to Paris to start a spark.

Unfortunately for Thomas, this is where the story ends. After partying in the busiest nightclubs in Paris, the couple returned to their hotel room. Upon entering, Thomas swallowed an entire bottle of the toxic drug Pickford had been taking for syphilis and died. Before she died, it is said that she yelled "I took poison", leading many to think that she wanted to kill herself.

8 most scandalous silent film stars

4. Thomas Ince.


This next case of scandalous private life in the silent era was not about an actor, but about a big studio mogul. Ince not only created the world's first film studio but then proceeded to create Paramount Pictures. At the time of his death in 1924, Ince was in trouble. With huge debts and no money to make new films, he agreed to go on a trip on the yacht of the famous newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

In addition, the famous actor Charlie Chaplin and Hirst's mistress sailed with him. What exactly happened next is unknown, but Ince was removed from the yacht due to serious injuries, from which he died a little later. It was the subsequent events that led people to suspect that all was not as it seemed. American newspapers controlled by Hearst did not report the apparent murder at all. Ince's body was then hurriedly cremated after his death, and his wife unexpectedly embarked on a long journey after meeting Hearst. This led many to believe that Ince was killed on board by someone for an unknown reason, which was then covered up.

8 most scandalous silent film stars

5. Alma Rubens.

The tale of silent film star Alma Rubens is perhaps the saddest on our list. Although few people remember her now, she was once a huge star who earned big fees for her performances in silent classics like The Regenerates. Unfortunately, Reubens soon developed a very severe addiction to morphine and cocaine, which ruined her career. All the huge fortune she had amassed went into drugs and she became unable to work. Several skirmishes with the police followed, as well as imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital. All this took its toll and meant that she would never receive praise for her talent and work.

8 most scandalous silent film stars

6. Charlie Chaplin.

Of course, the most famous representative of silent cinema was this guy. The creator of the ever-popular character "The Tramp" and the star of many hits, at his peak he was unstoppable. Married several times, he was also the subject of paternity lawsuits from other women he knew all too well.

8 most scandalous silent film stars

7. Rudolf Valentino.

Rudolph Valentino's life was engulfed in scandal even before he made it to Hollywood. He started his career as a tango dancer for wealthy married women. After the vice scandal broke, he moved to California and broke into the silent film industry.

After his hit "Sheikh" he was a really big star for a long time. Valentino's main problem was women. He married his second wife while still married to his first. Of course, this is not allowed by law! When Valentino died, over 100,000 people were said to have lined the streets on the day of his funeral, showing just how popular he was.

8 most scandalous silent film stars

8 Roscoe Arbuckle

One of the outrageous moments in the life of the big stars of silent films was the trial of Roscoe "Fat Man" Arbuckle. People were shocked not only by the death of a young woman, but also by the depraved party at which she was killed. Virginia Rappe's cause of death was intense pressure during forced intercourse. In essence, the prosecution argued that Arbuckle was so fat that he crushed her to death as he lay on top of her.

However, when the process began, the details that emerged were even darker. It was revealed that Rappé was not an angel herself and that she often drank and took off all her clothes at parties. She also recently had an abortion, which may explain the rupture of her internal organs that caused her death. Although Arbuckle was finally acquitted, the details that emerged about his personal life and sinister sexual appetites pretty much killed his career.

Keywords: Scandalous silent | Film stars | Hollywood | Hollywood movies | Cinema | Actresses | Actors | Films | Characters

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