Mildred Harris

Active - 1913 - 1944  |   Born - Nov 29, 1901   |   Died - Jul 20, 1944   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Crime, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Actress Mildred Harris made her first screen appearances at age 9 then went on to play a variety of juvenile roles in the "Oz" film series produced by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. She graduated to leading lady assignments, working under the direction of such prominent filmmakers as Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith. In 1917, she married Charlie Chaplin, but the union only lasted until 1920. Cashing in on the failed marriage, producer Louis B. Mayer signed Harris to a series of films, billing her as Mildred Harris Chaplin -- an exploitive decision that resulted in a public fistfight between Mayer and Chaplin. Though she continued to enjoy moderate success in the 1920s, Harris was washed up by the early 1930s. Among her few memorable roles of the talkie era was her parody of a haughty movie queen (which she'd actually been only a decade earlier) in the 1936 Three Stooges 2-reeler Movie Maniacs. Harris tried for a comeback in vaudeville and burlesque, at one point touring in a sketch with young comic Phil Silvers. Harris continued to work in the 1940s through the kindness of her former director Cecil B. DeMille, who cast her in bit parts in Reap the Wild Wind (1942) and The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944). Mildred Harris died of pneumonia at the age of 43.

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