Florence Vidor

Active - 1917 - 1962  |   Born - Jul 23, 1895   |   Died - Nov 3, 1977   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Adventure, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

For the first 20 years of her life, Houston-born Florence Vidor was Florence Cobb. In 1915 she married freelance photographer King Vidor, a fellow Texan with aspirations for a movie career. The Vidors traveled to Hollywood in their second-hand Model T (which also served as their "home"), financing their trip by filming travelogue footage on behalf of the Ford Motor company. Both secured jobs at the Vitagraph studio, Florence as a bit player and King as a scriptwriter and extra. The first of Florence's film roles to attract attention was the tragic seamstress in Fox's 1917 production of A Tale of Two Cities. She was next cast as leading lady opposite Sessue Hayakawa in Hashimura Togo (1917). Within a year she was starring for Cecil B. DeMille, but didn't like the director all that much and went to work for her husband, who opened his own studio in 1919. By the time the Vidors were divorced in 1923, King had risen to the top of the directorial ladder, while Florence Vidor had become a major star in films like Alice Adams (1923). Her best-known silent films include Lubitsch's The Marriage Circle (1924) and the highly romanticized Revolutionary War melodrama Barbara Frietchie (1924). Florence's first talkie, Chinatown Nights (1929), was also her last film; it wasn't that she had a poor voice, but simply that the recording equipment available at the time failed to do her voice justice. Florence Vidor retired to devote her time to her second husband, violinist Jascha Heifetz, and her three children.

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