Louise Lorraine

Active - 1921 - 1930  |   Born - Oct 1, 1902   |   Died - Feb 2, 1981   |   Genres - Western, Adventure, Action, Comedy, Crime

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

American silent screen heroine Louise Lorraine (born Louise Escovar) began her career as Louise Fortune opposite Chai Hong, a Chinese screen comic known as the "Chaplin of the Orient." She was briefly mentioned as Harold Lloyd's new leading lady, but starred instead opposite Elmo Lincoln in the serial Elmo the Fearless (1920). With that, a new action queen was born and Universal signed her to a long-term contract. She was reunited with the brawny Lincoln in The Flaming Disc (1920) and The Adventures of Tarzan(1921). She was soon challenging Allene Ray's position as America's favorite damsel in distress. As fearless as the previous decade's Pearl White, Lorraine reportedly insisted on doing even the most dangerous of stunts herself -- until she witnessed an automobile overturn during the filming of The Great Circus Mystery (1925) that killed the passengers. In 1925, she married one of her leading men, the hard-drinking Art Acord, and together they left Universal to star in Westerns produced by poverty row company Truart. The strain quickly began to show both on- and offscreen, and the marriage ended in 1929. Entertaining the idea of escaping action melodramas altogether, Lorraine signed with posh MGM, but without her riding britches she was unremarkable. Returning to Universal for one final serial fling, The Lightning Express (1930), Lorraine discovered that some of the fun had gone out of filmmaking with the introduction of sound and she retired. In her later years, she remained amazed at how well both she and her serials continued to be remembered.

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