Jersey City, New Jersey
Place of Death
Las Vegas, Nevada
Cause of Death
Brown - Dark
Brown - Dark
Claim to Fame
Du Barry, Woman of Passion
Profile Bio Text
Norma Talmadge was born on May 26, 1895 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The daughter of an unemployed alcoholic and his wife, Norma did not have the idyllic childhood that most of us yearn for. Mr. Talmadge up and left the family on Christmas Day and left his wife and three daughters to fend for themselves. Her mother, Peggy, took in laundry to help make ends meet. By the time she was 14, Norma took up modeling. She was successful enough that she attracted the attention of studio chiefs in New York City (where Vitagraph movie studios were located at the time). Norma landed a small role in 1909`s THE HOUSEHOLD PEST. With her mother`s prodding, she landed other small roles with the studio in 1910, such as UNCLE TOM`S CABIN, LOVE OF CHRYSANTHEMUMS, A DIXIE MOTHER and A BROKEN SPELL. By 1911, she was improving as an actress, so much so that she landed a good part in A TALE OF TWO CITIES. By 1913 she was Vitagraph`s most promising young actress. In August of 1915, Norma and her mother left for California and the promise of success in the fledgling industry there. Her film in Hollywood was CAPTIVATING MARY CARSTAIRS. The film was a flop and the studio shut down. During this time her sister, Constance, was working for the legendary director, D.W. Griffith. Constance managed to get Norma a contract with Griffith`s film company. During this eight month period Norma made seven feature films and a few shorts. After the contract ran out, the family returned to the East Coast. In 1916, she met and married Joseph Schenck. With his backing they formed their own production company which turned out a number of films, the first of which was PANTHEA. PANTHEA was a tremendous hit as likewise was Norma. In 1920, the production company was moved to Hollywood where the big hits of the day were being produced. Her company, itself, produced hits such as THE WONDERFUL THING (1921), THE ETERNAL FLAME (1922), and THE SONG OF LOVE in 1923. By 1928, Norma`s popularity had begun to wane. Her role in THE WOMAN DISPUTED (1928) was a flop at the box-office. Her final film was in 1930 in DU BARRY, WOMAN OF PASSION. By then, "talkies" were all the rage and Norma`s voice did not lend itself to the sound era and she was out of work. She divorced Schenck and married George Jessel. Jessel had his own radio show and Norma was added to the cast to help the sagging ratings. Norma thought this might be the chance to revive her film career. The show continued its decline and was ultimately canceled, with it the hope`s of her shattered career. She was finished for good. She divorced Jessel in 1939 and married Dr. Carvel James in 1946. She remained with him until she died of a stroke on Christmas Eve, 1957 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was 62 and had been in a phenomenal 250+ motion pictures.
Erasmus Hall High School, Brooklyn, NY
Full Name at Birth
Margaret "Peg" Talmadge
Constance Talmadge, Natalie Talmadge
Frances Marion, Marion Davies
Has Detailed Data (New)
Norma Marie Talmadge (May 2, 1894 – December 24, 1957) was an American actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box-office draw for more than a decade, her career reached a peak in the early 1920s, when she ranked among the most popular idols of the American screen.
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