Grace Darmond (born Grace Marie Glionna; November 20, 1893 – October 8, 1963) was a Canadian-American actress.
Grace Marie Glionna was born in Toronto on November 20, 1893. Her parents were Vincent Glionna, an American-born violinist who had lived in Canada since 1877, and Alice Louise Sparks Glionna (1873–1963), an Ontario native. She was of Italian descent on her father's side.
When Glionna was 16, Vincent Glionna died, and she and her mother immigrated to the United States, settling in Chicago.
As a teenager, Grace Glionna began to appear on the stage, changing her name to Grace Darmond. She signed with Selig Polyscope Company in 1914, and made her film debut in the comedy short The Clock Went Wrong.
Darmond was active onscreen from 1914 to 1927. She starred in the first Technicolor film, The Gulf Between (1917), with actor Niles Welch. The film premiered September 13 in Boston and September 21 at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. However, when the film went into limited release in early 1918 on a tour of Eastern U. S. cities, it was a critical and commercial failure. The early Technicolor process ("System 1") was an additive color process that required a special projector, and it suffered from "fringing" and "haloing" of colors.
Darmond was pretty, slender, and starred in many notable films of the period, but she never was able to break through as a leading actress in big budget films. Most of her roles were in support of bigger names of the time, and most of her starring roles were smaller, lesser known films. She appeared in Below the Surface (1920), in which she starred with Hobart Bosworth and Lloyd Hughes, and that same year she played in A Dangerous Adventure, produced and directed by Warner Brothers. This led to her being cast alongside Boris Karloff in the mystery thriller The Hope Diamond Mystery (1921). In the July edition of Motion Picture Magazine, she was featured in an article by Joan Tully entitled "Mantled With Shyness (A Word Portrait of Grace Darmond)".
Her last most notable film was Wide Open (1927), starring Lionel Belmore and Dick Grace. When the advent of talkies came about, Darmond, like so many actresses and actors from the silent film era, was not able to make a successful transition. She ended her acting career, and for the most part disappeared from the public eye until her death in 1963.
Darmond was a lesbian. Although performing in a substantial number of films over roughly 13 years, she was known in Hollywood's inner circle as the lover of actress Jean Acker, the first wife of actor Rudolph Valentino. She was also associated, as many struggling actresses of the day were, with the actress Alla Nazimova, a former lover of Acker, although it has never been verified that Nazimova and Darmond were ever linked romantically. She and Acker attended parties at Nazimova's Garden of Allah, an imposing house on Sunset Boulevard named punningly after a Robert Smythe Hichens play Nazimova had appeared in.
She and Jean Acker met in 1918, and the two became lovers shortly thereafter. Acker met relatively unknown actor Valentino only a few months later at a party at Nazimova's home. She and Valentino began dating, but reportedly never had sexual relations. They married in 1919, but on their wedding night, Acker fled the house and ran to Darmond's home, stating that it was her that she loved. The marriage is alleged to have never been consummated, and Acker filed for a legal separation in 1921; she later filed charges of bigamy against Valentino when he married designer Natacha Rambova in Mexico before his divorce from Acker was finalized.
Darmond married Randolph P. Jennings, an oil man, on January 22, 1928. The marriage was solemnized in Hollywood by a minister called James H. Lash, and witnessed by Lillian Willat (legal married name of actress Billie Dove) and Robert Fairbanks (possibly Robert Payne Ullman, who was known professionally as Robert Fairbanks, brother of the actor Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman, aka Douglas Fairbanks). This probable venue of the wedding was 7065 Hollywood Boulevard, which was the site of the Hollywood Congregational Church in the 1920s.
Darmond evidently lied about her age to her fiancé as well as the county clerk, as she would have been at least 29 at the time the marriage license was issued. There is an issue about whether she was born November 20, 1893, or November 20, 1898, but she could not possibly have been born as late as 1901. She clearly continued this subterfuge with her husband into their marriage, as she is listed as his wife, Grace D. Jennings, 28, on the 1930 census, which also reveals that the couple resided at 712 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, California, and that they had a butler called Chris W. Tandoc. The pair divorced in 1935.
Darmond died at the age of 69 in her apartment at 7850 W. Sunset Blvd. (formerly the San Ramon Apartments; currently known as The Villa Rosa) in Hollywood. At the time, she had been being treated for lung pain at the Motion Picture & Television Country Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.
- A Pair of Stockings (1914, Short) - Mrs. Brainerd
- The Estrangement (1914, Short) - The Seymour Daughter
- When the Clock Went Wrong (1914, Short)
- Making Good with Her Family (1914, Short)
- An Egyptian Princess (1914, Short) - Mlle. Aimee - the Egyptian Princess
- The Lure of the Ladies (1914, Short)
- Your Girl and Mine: A Woman Suffrage Play (1914) - Equal Suffrage Apparition
- The Quarry (1915, Short) - Molly Bryan
- The Millionaire Baby (1915) - Valerie Carew
- A Texas Steer (1915) - Bossy Brander
- The House of a Thousand Candles (1915) - Marian Evans
- The Leaving of Lawrence (1915, Short) - Bessie Grant
- A Black Sheep (1915) - Ada Steele
- The Black Orchid (1916, Short) - Eleanor Roberts
- Her Dream of Life (1916, Short) - Rita Crossley
- A Social Deception (1916, Short) - Violet Rensselear
- Wives of the Rich (1916, Short) - Mrs. John Grant
- Badgered (1916, Short) - Vera Jackson
- A Stranger in New York (1916, Short) - Miss Weigh Innitt
- Temperance Town (1916, Short) - Ruth Jones
- The Shielding Shadow (1916) - Leontine
- The Gulf Between (1917) - Marie
- In the Balance (1917) - Louise Maurel
- The Other Man (1918) - Dorothy Harmon
- The Crucible of Life (1918) - Gladys Dale
- An American Live Wire (1918) - Ida Payne
- The Seal of Silence (1918) - Ruth Garden
- The Girl in His House (1918) - Doris Athelstone
- A Diplomatic Mission (1918) - Lady DIana Loring
- The Man Who Wouldn't Tell (1918) - Elinor Warden
- The Highest Trump (1919) - Lois Graham
- What Every Woman Wants (1919) - Gloria Graham
- The Valley of the Giants (1919) - Shirley Sumner
- The Hawk's Trail (1919) - Claire Drake
- Below the Surface (1920) - Edna Gordon
- The Invisible Divorce (1920) - Claire Kane Barry
- So Long Letty (1920) - Letty Robbins
- The Hope Diamond Mystery (1921) - Mary Hilton / Bibi
- See My Lawyer (1921) - Norma Joyce
- White and Unmarried (1921) - Dorothea Welter
- The Beautiful Gambler (1921) - Molly Hanlon
- The Song of Life (1922) - Aline Tilden
- Handle with Care (1922) - Jeanne Lee
- I Can Explain (1922) - Dorothy Dawson
- A Dangerous Adventure (1922, Serial) - Marjorie Stanton
- The Hero (1923)
- The Midnight Guest (1923) - Gabrielle
- Daytime Wives (1923) - Francine Adams
- Gold Madness (1923) - Hester Stanton
- The Wheel of Fortune (1923)
- Discontented Husbands (1924) - Emily Ballard
- Alimony (1924) - Marion Mason
- The Gaiety Girl (1924) - Pansy Gale
- The Painted Flapper (1924)
- Flattery (1925) - Allene King
- Where the Worst Begins (1925) - Annice Van Dornn
- The Great Jewel Robbery (1925) - Doris Dunbar
- Her Big Adventure (1926) - Betty Burton
- The Night Patrol (1926) - Goldie Ferguson
- Hour of Reckoning (1926) - Marion Hastings
- Honesty – The Best Policy (1926) - Lily
- Her Man o' War (1926) - Countess of Lederbon
- The Marriage Clause (1926) - Mildred Le Blanc
- Wide Open (1927)
- Wages of Conscience (1927) - Lillian Bradley / Mary Knowles
- Our Wife (1941) - Minor Role (uncredited) (final film role)