Bessie Love (1898-1986) is the subject of this vintage real photo postcard. She was beautiful and her postcard and photo images are very collectible. Bessie was an American-British actress who initially became popular by playing sweet, pure, and innocent young girls. She went on to play virtuous leading ladies in silent and early sound films. Her career had amazing longevity; she acted for more than eight decades. She worked in many areas of entertainment. In addition to her film work, she acted on the stage, and on radio and television. Bessie was born in Midland, Texas. Her father was a cowboy and a bartender. Her mother was a restaurant manager. She attended Midland schools until the eighth grade. She and her family moved to Arizona, New Mexico, and then Hollywood, California. Once in the Golden State, her father became a chiropractor and her mother worked in a clothing factory (Jantzen). Bessie attended Los Angeles High School and in 1915 she went to a film set to meet with Tom Mix who had promised to help her to “get into pictures”. Mix was unable to meet with her but film director D. W. Griffith was able to meet with her and he promptly put her under contract. Love dropped out of high school in order to pursue her film career. Impressively, she did complete her diploma in 1919. Bessie began with a small role in a Griffith movie, “Intolerance” (1916). Her first major role was in “The Flying Torpedo” (1916). That same year, she appeared in movies opposite William S. Hart and Douglas Fairbanks. Her first starring role was in “A Sister of Six” (1916). Love quickly became a popular performer. Early in her career, Bessie worked for “Fine Arts”, “Pathe” and then Vitagraph. In the 1920’s Love sought roles outside of the “sweet and innocent girl” parts. In two movies she played Asian women. She had the role of a drug addicted mother in “Human Wreckage” (1923) and in other films played an underworld flapper as well as a woman accused of murder. In the 1925 movie, “The King on Main Street”, Love became the first person to dance the Charleston in a movie (see the video below).. The dance became the rage of the era. Also in the 1920’s, Bessie appeared in a film based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel “The Lost World”. In addition, she appeared in a romantic comedy directed by Frank Capra. She signed with MGM in 1928. In 1929, Love exhibited her talent in musical comedy. She toured with a musical revue for sixteen weeks. It is thought that her singing and dancing performances in vaudeville helped prepare her for sound films. That same year, she made her debut in her first feature length sound film, the musical “The Broadway Melody”. Her performance led to her receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. MGM rewarded her with a five year contract and a three thousand dollars a week (equivalent to $45,000 a week in 2019). She continued to act in musicals and her success was reflected in her becoming “the screen’s first musical comedy star”. Between 1931 and 1943, Love entered semi-retirement. She had married in 1929 and during this break in her career, she began focusing on her personal life. Her husband was an agent, William Hawks. She had celebrity bridesmaids, including Carmel Myers, Norma Shearer, and Mary Astor. Love had a daughter in 1932, and in 1935, she moved to England. She obtained a divorce in 1936. During World War II, Love worked as a film script supervisor and also worked for the American Red Cross. After the war, Love resumed acting. Much of her work was in theater, television, and radio. She also played minor roles in British film. In 1958, she wrote and performed in a semiautobiographical play. Some of her later films included The Barefoot Contessa” (1954), “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969 a James Bond Thriller), and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1971). Bessie Love had a long and successful acting career. The IMdB reports that she had 156 acting credits between 1915 and 1981. This vintage postcard was published by Cinemagazine (Paris Edition) as part of a series (no.163). The postcard has excellent clarity and is in very good condition (see scans). SOLD


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