Miriam Cooper

Active - 1910 - 1924  |   Born - Jan 1, 1893   |   Died - Apr 12, 1976   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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Dark Lady of the Silents was a well-chosen title for Miriam Cooper's 1972 autobiography; Ms. Cooper's chief attributes throughout her starring career were her dark, soulful eyes. Born in Baltimore, Ms. Cooper was educated at New York City's Cooper Union school. During her free time, Miriam occasionally visited the Biograph Film studios in the Bronx, eventually asking director D.W. Griffith for a job. After several weeks, Griffith found a small part for her in the 1912 one-reeler A Blot on the 'Scutcheon. Miriam went along when the Griffith unit moved to California in 1914. At the then-considerable salary of $65 a week, she played leading roles in Griffith's back-to-back epics The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). Around this time she married future director Raoul Walsh, who'd played John Wilkes Booth in Birth; though they divorced in 1926, Miriam referred to herself as Miriam Cooper Walsh for the rest of her life. Having retired from films in 1924, Miriam lived on a 1000-acre Maryland farm for nearly three decades. Between 1953 and 1970, Miriam Cooper lived in a small farmhouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, that eventually had to be demolished to make way for a shopping center; the money she received for her property enabled Miriam to live inexpensively but comfortably in Charlottesville for the rest of her days.