Leatrice Joy

Active - 1917 - 1951  |   Born - Nov 7, 1896   |   Died - May 13, 1985   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy

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Trained as an actress in Southern and Midwestern stock companies, the lovely Leatrice Joy entered films as an extra in 1915. Her first break was as the leading lady in the 2-reel comedies starring Chaplin imitator Billy West, wherein she was often menaced by top-hatted villain Oliver Hardy. During the early 1920s, Joy was under contract to Cecil B. DeMille, starring in such extravaganzas as Manslaughter (1922) and The Ten Commandments (1923); she later would recall that the plots of these films were corny in the extreme and that DeMille could be a merciless martinet, but that she was grateful to the director for the salutary effect he had on her career. In most of her silent appearances, Joy was something of a forerunner to Rosalind Russell: the fashionable businesswoman or stuck-up society girl who is eventually "tamed" by the handsome leading man. After appearing in two talkies, Joy retired, reemerging in a good character part as a kittenish elderly lady who is swindled by charming con artist Frank Fay in 1951's Love Nest. At the height of her 1920s fame, Leatrice Joy was married to superstar John Gilbert; their daughter, Leatrice Joy Gilbert Fountain, authored the Gilbert autobiography Dark Star.

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