Bessie Love (September 10, 1898 – April 26, 1986) was an American motion picture actress who achieved prominence mainly in the silent films and early talkies. With a small frame and delicate features, she played innocent young girls, flappers, and wholesome leading ladies. Her role in The Broadway Melody (1929) earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition to her acting career, she wrote the screenplay for the 1919 film A Yankee Princess.
Love was born Juanita Horton in Midland, Texas. She attended school in Midland until she was in the eighth grade, when her chiropractor father moved his family to Hollywood. Bessie graduated from Los Angeles High School and then received from her parents the graduation present of a trip around the United States. After six months of traveling, she finally returned home to Los Angeles.In 1922 Love was selected one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars. In 1923, she starred in Human Wreckage with Dorothy Davenport and produced by Thomas Ince.
To help with the family's financial situation, Love's mother sent her to Biography Studios, where she met pioneering film director D.W. Griffith. Griffith, who introduced Bessie Love to films, also gave the actress her screen moniker. He gave her a small role in his film Intolerance (1916). She also appeared opposite William S. Hart in The Aryan and with Douglas Fairbanks in The Good Bad Man, Reggie Mixes In, and The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (all 1916).
As her roles got larger, so did her popularity. She performed the Charleston in the film The King on Main Street in 1925. Also that same year she starred in The Lost World, a science fiction adventure based on the novel of the same name by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Three years later she starred in The Matinee Idol, a romantic comedy directed by a young Frank Capra.However, by 1932 her American film career was in decline. She moved to England in 1935 and did stage work and occasional films there. As war came in Europe she returned to the US for a while, worked for the Red Cross, and entertained the troops. After the war she moved back to Britain where she kept her main residence, and continued to play small film roles for film companies in both the US and Britain. She appeared in films such as The Barefoot Contessa (1954) with Humphrey Bogart, and as an American tourist in The Greengage Summer (1961) starring Kenneth More. She also played a small role as an American tourist in theJames Bond thriller On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). She played a small but pivotal role as a switchboard operator in 1971's Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Love was able to successfully transition to talkies, and in 1929 she was nominated for theAcademy Award for Best Actress for The Broadway Melody. She also appeared in several other early musicals including The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929), Chasing Rainbows(1930), Good News (1930), and They Learned About Women (1930).
Her career came to a quick halt soon after that however, and she moved permanently to the United Kingdom, becoming a British citizen. She made a comeback in the 1980s with roles in Ragtime (1981), Warren Beatty's Reds (1981), Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981) and (her final film) The Hunger (1983) starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon. During her lifetime, Love was featured in 131 films and TV episodes.In 1977 she published an autobiography, From Hollywood with Love. She was at this time living comfortably in a flat overlooking London’s Clapham Common and had recently appeared in a television account of the abdication of King Edward VIII.
She recorded that during World War II in Britain when she found acting work hard to come by she had been the "continuity girl" on the film drama San Demetrio London, an account of a ship badly damaged in the Atlantic but whose crew managed to bring her to port. She also says she had regular diet in the post-war era of stage roles as an American Tourist and similar roles, and was "Aunt Pittypat" in a large-scale musical version of Gone With the Wind.
Love married agent William Hawks (January 29, 1901 Neenah, Wisconsin – January 10, 1969 Santa Monica, California) at St. James Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California on December 27th, 1929. Mary Astor, Bebe Daniels, Carmel Myers, Norma Shearer and Blanche Sweet were her bridesmaids, William's brother Howard Hawks and Irving Thalbergushered. Mary Astor was William's sister-in-law, married to brother Kenneth Hawks. They then lived at the Havenhurst Apartments in Hollywood. They had daughter Patricia Hawks (February 19, 1932 Los Angeles, California) who had some bit parts in 1952 movies. They divorced in 1935.
Let's talk about the amazing career this woman had. Started out in the silent films era and work steadily in film up until 1983 where she stared along side David Bowie In THE HUNGER. Not many actresses from that period in Film really transitioned into talkies, but Bessie Love did and had a great career. Here is a selected list of her films that I admire. Its sad that many of her films as well as other amazing performances have gone up in smoke. Literally, in a huge studio fire, so many of Hollywood treasures where lost. xoxox Mykie
Silent: This gives you an idea of the volume of work she created and the many films lost