Arguably the silent era's most beautiful child and a forerunner in many ways of the following decade's Freddie Bartholomew, French-born Philippe DeLacy's personal story reads like a penny-dreadful melodrama in which he would later act: Born during World War I, the already fatherless Philippe lost his mother and five siblings when a German shell devastated the family home. Only two days old at the time of tragedy, the boy was kept alive, but barely, in the basement of his grandmother's house. There, with the old woman near death, they were found by Edith DeLacy, an American Red Cross nurse who adopted little Philippe and brought him to the United States.
A visit to the set of Geraldine Farrar's The Riddle: Woman (1921) led to an astonishingly potent screen career that would last until 1930. With his wavy brown hair and aristocratic bearing, DeLacy seems to have gotten all the breaks. Outside of the Our Gang kids, he remains perhaps the best-remembered silent era child star, Jackie Coogan and his ilk included. Coogan, of course, has his The Kid, but DeLacy played Mary Pickford's brother in Rosita (1923), Michael Darling in Peter Pan (1924), the young John Barrymore in Don Juan (1926), the young Neil Hamilton in Beau Geste (1926), the young Ramond Novarro in The Student Prince (1927), Greta Garbo's son in Love (1927), and Garbo seems much more concerned with DeLacy's welfare than she would be with Freddie Bartholomew's in the 1935 remake Anna Karenina.
At that certain age and perhaps a bit too ethereal for the hard-hitting early sound era, DeLacy retired from acting in 1930 and later became an executive with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. In 1955 he directed Cinerama Holiday, and later still, was the manager of a local Hollywood television station. "The ten years I spent in movies were a wonderful experience," he would tell show business chronicler David Ragan in the 1970s.