Bessie Barriscale

Active - 1914 - 1935  |   Born - Dec 1, 1884   |   Died - Jun 3, 1965   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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A major star for producer Thomas Ince in the mid- to late 1910s, Bessie Barriscale's trademark was her beautiful eyes, advertised at the time as the biggest in films. She had been David Belasco's Rose of the Rancho on the stage and recreated her Olde California senorita for directors Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel in and around the famous barn on Selma Avenue in Hollywood in 1914. But it was as an Ince star that she truly made her mark in a seemingly never-ending series of melodramas with titles like Plain Jane and A Corner in Colleenes (both 1916). She married actor/director Howard Hickman and was still a star when the new decade began. But Barriscale was really too Edwardian to fit into the Roaring '20s and she left films in 1921 in favor of vaudeville. There would be a few scattered returns but by the 1930s she was usually playing somebody's mother or maid. Mary Pickford cast Barriscale as one of her unsympathetic children in Secrets (1933); it wasn't quite the actress' swan song, but probably should have been.