The third in my series of forgotten women and this post has two videos: one a tribute to Colleen Moore and the other further down a video of her dollhouse size fairytale castle.It is not like the castle that inspired my novel Castle of Dreams but it is beautiful and as I have an affinity with castles I decided to include it in this post.
Colleen Moore, born Kathleen Morrison on January 25, 1988 in Port Huron, Michigan, U.S. was an American film actress who began her career during the silent film era and popularised the bobbed haircut.After her film career she became a partner in the investment firm Merrill Lynch.
At age 15 she was setting her first step in Hollywood. Her uncle arranged a screen test with director D.W. Griffith. She wanted to be a second Lillian Gish but instead she found herself playing heroines in Westerns with stars such as Tom Mix.
Two great passions of Colleen’s life were dolls and movies; each would play a great role in her later life. Her aunts, who doted on her, indulged her and often bought her miniature furniture on their many trips, with which she furnished the first of a succession of doll houses.
Through family contacts she was offered a contract to Griffith’s Triangle-Fine Arts conditional on passing a film test to ensure that her heterochromia (she had one brown eye, one blue eye) would not be a distraction in close-up shots. Her eyes passed the test, so she left for Hollywood with her grandmother and her mother as chaperones. Colleen made her first credited film appearance in 1917 in The Bad Boy.
By the late 1920s, she had accomplished dramatic roles in films such as So Big, where she aged through a stretch of decades and was also well received in light comedies such as Irene. Promotional portraits of Colleen at the height of her fame, c. 1927, show the Dutchboy bobbed haircut that she made famous, and which she kept until she died.
With the advent of talking pictures in 1929, Colleen took a hiatus from acting. In 1934, she returned to work in Hollywood. At the height of her fame, she was earning $12,500 per week. She was an astute investor, and through her investments remained wealthy for the rest of her life.
Colleen married four times and was happily married to her last husband when she passed away.She never had children of her own, although she had wanted them, but was close to her step-children.
On January 25, 1988, Colleen died from cancer in Paso Robles, California, aged 88.For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Colleen has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1551 Vine Street.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of her: “I was the spark that lit up Flaming Youth, Colleen Moore was the torch. What little things we are to have caused all that trouble.”
I have saved the best for last: images of Colleen’s fairytale castle.
In 1928, inspired by her father and with help from her former set designer, a dollhouse was constructed by her father, which was 9 feet square with the tallest tower 12 feet high. The interior of The Colleen Moore Dollhouse, designed by Harold Grieve, features miniature bear skin rugs and detailed furniture and art. Colleen’s dollhouse has been a featured exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois since the early 1950s, where, according to the museum it is seen by 1.5 million people each year and would be worth $7 million. Colleen continued working on it, and contributing artifacts to it, until her death.
I hope you enjoy Colleen’s magical castle.
Have a wonderful week full of magic and dreams,