Neva Gerber

Active - 1914 - 1929  |   Born - Apr 3, 1894 in Chicago, IL  |   Died - Jan 2, 1974 in Palm Beach, CA  |   Genres - Western

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American silent-screen actress Neva Gerber is remembered for the scores of inexpensive Westerns and serials she made for and with producer/director/star Ben Wilson. Together they produced slam-bang action fare such as the serials The Voice on the Wire (1917) and The Trail of the Octopus (1919), becoming so identifiable as a team that most audiences assumed they were husband and wife in real life. As far as can be determined, however, theirs was a professional relationship only; in fact, Gerber was at one point engaged to ill-fated director William Desmond Taylor. Taylor was found murdered on February 1, 1922, and the notoriety of the case would forever dash the hopes for future stardom of all the women in the director's life, including those of Gerber. She continued to appear in Ben Wilson's penny-pinching action melodramas and was the featured star of Days of '49 (1924), a "historical" serial about California's annexation into the United States. A re-edited feature version of the serial, California in '49, remains one of the few surviving means of watching Neva Gerber in action. Her performances, unfortunately, are dated, as she is alternately darting about wildly or playing coy and demure. In 1929, she changed her name to the more alluring Jean Dolores, but only achieved yet another Wilson serial The Voice from the Sky (1930); she retired soon after.