Alice Joyce – The Madonna of the Screen

Day 147 of Colourisation Project – October 1

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Alice Joyce born in Kansas City, Missouri, this day, October 1, 1890 was a silent movie actress who appeared in more than 200 movies during the 1910s and 1920s in a career that spanned the evolution of film; from the nickelodeon era through to the rise of talking pictures. Elected as the most popular movie star in the USA in 1913, she was a natural actress whose understated performances set her apart from most other silent-screen divas.

Publicity Still  ~ Alice Joyce c 1917 – Colourised by Loredana Crupi

Louella Parsons, America’s first movie columnist, interviewed Joyce for the New York Telegraph on January 5, 1919 and concluded that:

“If the eyes are the windows of the soul, Alice Joyce must have a Madonna-like quality in her nature, for she has the most perfect Madonna eyes I have ever seen. They are a replica of the painting of the Madonnas of every country.”

Indeed, Joyce whose name was a household word in the early part of the twentieth century came to be known in the industry as ‘The Madonna of the Screen’ for her ethereal beauty and presence.

“Alice Joyce is Fifth Avenue personified. She is what visitors from the provinces expect to see when they have luncheon at the Ritz or tea at the Plaza. One of New York’s royalty in fact, possessing that indefinable something which makes hardened headwaiters lose their air of superiority, saleswomen cast aside their cloak of belligerency and haughty, hard-boiled taxi drivers assume an air of servility. Money can’t buy nor finishing schools bring the ease and grace of the Joycean type. You’re either born that way or you are not.”

Thus she was described in Photoplay Magazine in 1924, by Edgar Vincent Durling, also one of the first journalists to cover the Hollywood motion picture industry. 

From her first movie The Deacon’s Daughter in 1910 to her last movie The Green Goddess in 1930, Joyce remained one of the silent film era’s most distinctive personalities. Joyce could have gone on to a successful talkie career, but she chose instead to retire while still on top.

Alice Joyce died October 9, 1955 at the age of 65.

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“Outdoor acting calls upon more capabilities than studio work and is therefore more taxing. One is obliged to swim, ride, and take part in all manner of athletics. At different times I have run a locomotive, handled the wheel of a tug, and steered a schooner. These things are all part of the day’s occupation, and one must keep in good physical condition to be prepared when called upon for unusual tasks.”   –   Alice Joyce

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