Boston-born Pauline Frederick was the daughter of a railroad employee. She first appeared onstage as a chorus girl in the 1902 musical The Rogers Brothers in Harvard. After a long tenure as a musical-comedy soubrette, she established herself as one of Broadway's most versatile dramatic actresses. She was brought to films in 1915 as part of Jesse Lasky and Adolph Zukor's "Famous Players in Famous Plays" movie series. Unlike many of her contemporaries in this venture, Frederick adapted to film acting with ease, and remained a popular motion-picture performer throughout the 1920s. Her subtle, understated acting style was seen to best advantage in the 1924 romantic drama Smouldering Fires, in which she plays a female business executive who marries a much younger man. In the talkie era, Frederick was seen in a handful of choice character roles, often playing such unsympathetic types as domineering mothers and murderesses. Shortly before her death from cancer, Pauline Frederick appeared in her last film, Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937), effectively playing a stoic Chinese matriarch who allows herself to be tortured to death rather than betray a sacred family secret.