Thursday, January 04, 2018

Wallace Reid (1891-1923)

Birth name: William Wallace Halleck Reid
Birthdate: April 15th, 1891
Location: St Louis, Missouri, USA

Died: January 18th, 1923
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death: Renal suppression and pneumonia caused by morphine addiction

Best known for: American silent film star labelled "the screen's most perfect lover" by Motion Picture Magazine who appeared in more than 200 productions, including D W Griffith's Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), as well as The World's Champion (1922) and Across the Continent (1922).

Born into a showbiz family (both his parents were actors or playwrights), Wallace Reid was an accomplished athlete and outdoorsman, but slipped into the film industry when his father began working for motion pictures rather than theatres. Wallace's first appearance on film was in the 1910 short The Phoenix, and although he initially preferred to remain behind the scenes, directing rather than acting, the studios soon latched onto his matinee idol looks and turned him into one of the greatest sex symbols of the silent era.

Nevertheless, between 1912 and 1917 Wallace directed a total of 69 productions, and wrote 26 scripts between 1912 and 1916. In 1913, while working for Universal Pictures, the 6ft 1in performer met the actress Dorothy Davenport, who he married the same year and had two children with (Wallace Jr, and Betty, who was adopted but who it is believed was Wallace's daughter via an affair).