Lila Lee: Prominent screen actress of the early silent film era (1901 - 1973) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
peoplepill id: lila-lee
1 views today
1 views this week
Lila Lee
Prominent screen actress of the early silent film era

Lila Lee

Lila Lee
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Prominent screen actress of the early silent film era
Was Actor Stage actor Film actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 25 July 1901, Union Hill, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Death 13 November 1973, Saranac Lake, New York, U.S.A. (aged 72 years)
Spouse: James Kirkwood
Children: James KirkwoodJr.
The details (from wikipedia)


Lila Lee (July 25, 1901 – November 13, 1973) was a prominent screen actress, primarily a leading lady, of the silent film and early sound film eras.

Early life

Lila Lee was born Augusta Wilhelmena Fredericka Appel or Augusta Apple in Union Hill, New Jersey (now part of Union City), into a middle-class family of German immigrants who relocated to New York City when Lila was quite young. Searching for a hobby for their gregarious young daughter, the Appels enrolled Lila in Gus Edwards' kiddie review shows where she was given the nickname of "Cuddles"; a name that she would be known by for the rest of her acting career. Her stagework became so popular with the public that her parents had her educated with private tutors. Edwards would become Lee's long-term manager.


In 1918, she was chosen for a film contract by Hollywood film mogul Jesse Lasky for Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, which later became Paramount Pictures. Her first feature The Cruise of the Make-Believes garnered the seventeen-year-old starlet much public acclaim and Lasky quickly sent Lee on an arduous publicity campaign. Critics lauded Lila for her wholesome persona and sympathetic character parts. Lee quickly rose to the ranks of leading lady and often starred opposite such matinee heavies as Conrad Nagel, Gloria Swanson, Wallace Reid, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, and Rudolph Valentino. Lee bore more than a slight resemblance to Ann Little, a former Paramount star and frequent Reid co-star who was leaving the film business and at this stage in her career an even stronger resemblance to Marguerite Clark.

In 1922 Lee was cast as Carmen in the enormously popular film Blood and Sand, opposite matinee idol Rudolph Valentino and silent screen vamp Nita Naldi; Lee subsequently won the first WAMPAS Baby Stars award that year. Lee continued to be a highly popular leading lady throughout the 1920s and made scores of critically praised and widely watched films.

As the Roaring Twenties drew to a close, Lee's popularity began to wane and Lee positioned herself for the transition to talkies. She is one of the few leading ladies of the silent screen whose popularity did not nosedive with the coming of sound. She went back to working with the major studios and appeared, most notably, in The Unholy Three, in 1930, opposite Lon Chaney Sr. in his only talkie. However, a series of bad career choices and bouts of recurring tuberculosis and alcoholism hindered further projects and Lee was relegated to taking parts in mostly grade B-movies.

Personal life

Lee was married and divorced three times. Her first husband was actor James Kirkwood, Sr., whom she married in 1923. The marriage ended in August 1931 on grounds of her desertion. Lee and Kirkwood had a son in 1924, James Kirkwood, Jr., whose custody was granted to his father; he became a highly regarded playwright and screenwriter whose works include A Chorus Line and P.S. Your Cat Is Dead. Her second husband was broker Jack R. Peine (married 1934, divorced 1935) and her third husband was broker John E. Murphy (married 1944, divorced 1949). According to author Sean Egan in the James Kirkwood biography Ponies & Rainbows (2011), Murphy's will left Lee at the financial mercy of his second wife, who consequently became the manipulative character Aunt Claire in P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, written by Lee's son, James Kirkwood, Jr.


In the 1930s she diagnosed with tuberculosis and moved to Saranac Lake, New York for treatment at the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital. Lee made several uneventful appearances in stage plays in the 1940s, and starred in early television soap operas in the 1950s.

In 1973 Lee died of a stroke at Saranac Lake. For her contribution as an actress in motion pictures, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1716 Vine Street.


  • Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers (1967)
  • Oh Boy! (1938)
  • Nation Aflame (1937)
  • Two Wise Maids (1937)
  • Country Gentlemen (1936)
  • The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)
  • The Marriage Bargain (1935)
  • Champagne for Breakfast (1935)
  • The People's Enemy (1935)
  • Whirlpool (1934)
  • In Love with Life (1934)
  • I Can't Escape (1934)
  • Stand Up and Cheer! (1934)
  • Lone Cowboy (1934)
  • Officer 13 (1933)
  • Face in the Sky (1933)
  • The Iron Master (1933)
  • Radio Patrol (1932)
  • The Night of June 13 (1932)
  • Unholy Love (1932)
  • The Intruder (1932)
  • War Correspondent (1932)
  • False Faces (1932)
  • Exposure (1932)
  • Misbehaving Ladies (1931) (*held at Library of Congress)
  • Woman Hungry (1931)
  • The Gorilla (1930)
  • Murder Will Out (1930)
  • Those Who Dance (1930) (*held at Library of Congress)
  • Second Wife (1930) (*held at Library of Congress)
  • The Unholy Three (1930)
  • Double Cross Roads (1930)
  • Love, Live and Laugh (1929)
  • Show of Shows (1929)
  • The Sacred Flame (1929)
  • Queen of the Night Clubs (1929)
  • Flight (1929)
  • The Argyle Case (1929)
  • Honky Tonk (1929)
  • Dark Streets (1929)
  • Drag (1929)
  • Top Sergeant Mulligan (1928)
  • The Man in Hobbles (1928) (Library of Congress)
  • The Black Pearl (1928)
  • The Little Wild Girl (1928)
  • Black Butterflies (1928)
  • The Adorable Cheat (1928) (*held at Library of Congress)
  • Thundergod (1928) (*held at Library of Congress)
  • United States Smith (1928) (BFI National Film & Tv)
  • A Bit of Heaven (1928)
  • You Can't Beat the Law (1928)
  • Top Sergeant Mulligan (1928)
  • Million Dollar Mystery (1927)
  • One Increasing Purpose (1927)
  • Fascinating Youth (1926)
  • The New Klondike(1926)
  • Broken Hearts (1926) (held by Library of Congress)
  • Coming Through (1925)
  • Old Home Week(1925)
  • The Midnight Girl (1925)
  • Another Man's Wife (1924)
  • Wandering Husbands (1924)
  • Love's Whirlpool (1924)(*extant;BFI)
  • Woman-Proof (1923)
  • Hollywood (1923) (cameo)
  • Homeward Bound (1923)
  • The Ne'er-Do-Well (1923)
  • Ebb Tide (1922)
  • Rent Free (1922)
  • Back Home and Broke (1922)
  • The Ghost Breaker (1922)
  • Blood and Sand (1922)
  • A Trip to Paramountown (1922) (*short)
  • The Dictator (1922)
  • Is Matrimony a Failure? (1922)
  • One Glorious Day (1922)
  • The Fast Freight (1921)
  • After the Show (1921)
  • Crazy to Marry (1921)
  • Gasoline Gus (1921)
  • The Dollar-a-Year Man (1921)
  • The Easy Road (1921)
  • The Charm School (1921)
  • Midsummer Madness (1921)
  • The Prince Chap (1920)
  • The Soul of Youth (1920)(*extant Library of Congress; on DVD)
  • Terror Island (1920)
  • Male and Female (1919)
  • Hawthorne of the U.S.A. (1919)
  • The Lottery Man (1919)
  • The Heart of Youth (1919)
  • Rose o' the River (1919)
  • A Daughter of the Wolf (1919)
  • Rustling a Bride (1919)
  • Puppy Love (1919)
  • The Secret Garden (1919)
  • Jane Goes A-Wooing (1919)
  • Such a Little Pirate (1918)
  • The Cruise of the Make-Believes (1918)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Search trend
comments so far.
From our partners
Sections Lila Lee

arrow-left arrow-right instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube pandora tunein iheart itunes