LILA LEE : AMERICAN SILENT AND TALKIE FILM STAR : “CUDDLES” : VAUDEVILLE

This vintage real photo postcard features leading lady screen actress, Lila Lee (1905-1973). She performed in both silent and early sound films. She was born in New Jersey and her family were German immigrants. The family relocated to New York City. Her family encouraged her participation in “kiddie review shows”. The energetic and outgoing child was given the nickname of “Cuddles”. The name stuck to her throughout her acting career. Her juvenile acting kept her quite busy and she required private tutors for her education. Lila acted in vaudeville fo an eight year period. In 1918 she was signed by Jesse Lasky (Famous Players) for a film contract. In a short time, the company became Paramount Pictures. Her first feature film performance received much public approval. She was just 13 years old at the time of her film debut. Lila quickly became a leading lady and starred with performers like Conrad Nagel, Gloria Swanson, and Rudolph Valentino.  In 1922, she won the first WAMPAS Baby Star Award. Lila was a very popular leading lady during the 1920’s. Her films were popular with critics and audiences alike. She was one of the few stars that made a successful transition from silent to sound films. In the 1930’s she made some bad career decisions and had bouts of tuberculosis and alcoholism. As a result, her latter film roles were mostly in B movies. In 1936, her film career basically ended as the result of a scandal involving the sucide of a man that she was dating.  Lila Lee lied to the District Attorney when she reported that the victim left no suicide note, when in fact she knew that he did. Lee’s personal life was unstable. She was married and divorced three times. Her son, James Kirkwood became a successful playwright and screenwriter. His credits include “A Chorus Line” and “P.S. Your Cat is Dead”.  The IMDb lists 103 credits in Lee’s filmography (1918-1967). This vintage postcard was published by Alfred Noyer as part of the “Les Vedettes de Cinema” series. The postcard was released while she was employed by Paramount Pictures. The card is of French origin. (SOLD)

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