Monday, November 20, 2017

Born Today In 1893: Silent Screen Star Grace Darmond

Grace Darmond was born today, November 20, in 1893 or 1897. She tended to not tell the truth about her age. She was a Canadian-born American actress from the early 20th century.

Darmond was active onscreen between 1914 and 1927. She starred in the first Technicolor film, The Gulf Between (1917), with actor Niles Welch. When the film went into limited release in early 1918 on a tour of Eastern U. S. cities, it was a critical and commercial failure. The early Technicolor process required a special projector, and suffered from "fringing" and "haloing" of colors.

Darmond was pretty, slender, and starred in many notable films of the period, but never was able to break through as a leading actress in big budget films. Most of her roles were in support of bigger names of the time, and most of her starring roles were smaller, lesser known films.
 Her last most notable film was Wide Open (1927), starring Lionel Belmore and Dick Grace.

Although performing in a substantial number of films over roughly 13 years, she was known in Hollywood's inner circle as the lesbian lover to actress Jean Acker, the first wife of actor Rudolph Valentino.

She and Jean Acker met in 1918, and became lovers shortly thereafter. Acker met relatively unknown actor Valentino only a few months later, at a party. She and Valentino began dating, but reportedly never had sexual relations. They married in 1919, but on their wedding night, Acker fled the house and ran to Darmond's home, stating that it was her that she loved.
 Darmond and Acker reportedly remained lovers through most of the 1920s.

When the advent of talkies came about, Darmond, like so many actresses and actors from the silent film era, was not able to make a successful transition. She ended her acting career, and for the most part disappeared from the public eye until her death on October 8, 1963.

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