Marie Doro – Silent Screen Beauty

Day 155 of Colourisation Project – October 9

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

Classically trained and an authority on Shakespeare’s sonnets and Elizabethan poetry, Marie Doro was an American stage and film actress of the early silent film era. Born Marie Katherine Steward in Pennsylvania in 1882, the multi-talented Doro earned her chops in the chorus in musical comedy productions.

She adopted the stage name, Marie Doro, after a nickname bestowed on her by some Italian friends in New York before she started her acting career. Her first stage appearance was in St. Paul in 1901 in Aristocracy and over a 20 year career, she appeared in sixteen plays and musicals on Broadway, including  J.M Barrie‘s, The Admirable Crichton (1903), Sherlock Holmes (1905-06), Electricity (1910) and Oliver Twist (1912). In 1914 she had the distinction of appearing in a Royal Command performance of Diplomacy before the King and Queen of England at Windsor Castle.

Marie_Doro Bef & Aft

Photographer: Burr McIntosh – Marie Doro 1902 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

On a tour of England in the mid 1900’s, she starred with the then unknown 16 year old, Charles Chaplin, who was besotted with her. Some ten years later when he had achieved stardom, they met again in America, but Doro had to confess that she had no memory of him. Chaplin in My Autobiography (1964) explains;

“And the next morning, waiting on the stage for rehearsals, [I saw] Marie Doro for the first time, dressed in the loveliest white summer dress. The sudden shock of seeing someone so beautiful at that hour! She had been riding in a hansom cab and had discovered an ink spot on her dress, and wanted to know if the property man had anything that would take it out, and to his answer of doubt she made the prettiest expression of irritation; ‘Oh, isn’t that too beastly!’

She was so devastatingly beautiful that I resented her. I resented her delicate, pouting lips, her regular white teeth, her adorable chin, her raven hair and dark brown eyes. I resented her pretense of irritation and the charm she exuded through it. Through all this querying between herself and the property man she was ignorant of my presence, although I stood quite near, staring, transfixed by her beauty. I had just turned sixteen, and the propinquity of this sudden radiance evoked my determination not to be obsessed by it. But, oh God, she was beautiful! It was love at first sight.”

And then years later after meeting again:-

“Before leaving Los Angeles for the Third Liberty Loan Campaign, I had met Marie Doro. She had come to Hollywood to star in Paramount pictures. She was a Chaplin fan, and told Constance Collier that the one person she wanted to meet in Hollywood was Charlie Chaplin – not having the faintest idea that I had played with her in London at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

So I met Marie Doro again. It was like the second act of a romantic play. After Constance had introduced me I said: ‘But we’ve met before. You broke my heart. I was silently in love with you.’ Marie, looking through her lorgnette at me and as beautiful as ever, said: ‘How thrilling.’ Then I explained that I was Billy in ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Later we dined in the garden. It was a warm summer’s evening and in the glow of candle-light I talked about the frustrations of a youth silently in love with her and told her that at the Duke of York’s Theatre I would time the moment that she left her dressing-room so as to meet her on the stairs and gulp ‘good evening’. We talked of London and Paris; Marie loved Paris and we talked of the bistros, of the cafes, of Maxim’s and the Champs-Elysees…

And now Marie was in New York! And hearing I was staying at the Ritz, she had written me a letter inviting me to dine at her apartment, or go to Maxims or drive through Central Park. But we just dined quietly in Marie’s apartment alone.”

In all Doro starred in 18 movies and is perhaps best remembered in the title role of Oliver Twist in 1916, a role she made famous four years earlier in the stage version.

However by the early twenties her life began to take a different direction. Disillusioned with Hollywood, she relocated to Europe in 1924 for a time making a number of films in Italy and the UK. On her return to New York City, she became reclusive and drawn to spiritual matters, studying briefly at the Union Theological Seminary. After retirement from the stage she preferred to be known by her real name, Miss Stuart.

In 1956 Doro died of heart failure in New York City aged 74.

For her contributions to the motion picture industry, Marie Doro was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1725 Vine Street in Hollywood, California, USA.

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This entry was posted in Colorization, Colourisation, Film, Hollywood, Photography, USA, Women, Women in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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