Ethlyne Clair (Ethlyne Clair)

Ethlyne Clair

Actress. The star of a number of silent films, she is probably best remembered for several Hollywood westerns of the late 1920s. Born Ethlyne Williamson, she was raised in Alabama and was apparently an unwilling participant in show business, pushed by her mother who entered her into beauty pageants and her brother who signed her with a New York agent. Landing in the Big Apple, Ethlyne made her 1924 silver screen bow with the short “Sandra” and went on to appearances in the “Snookums” series of short features. Relocating to Hollywood around 1927 she starred in another series entitled “The Newlyweds” and in 1927 was seen as Ollie Starbuck opposite Hoot Gibson in “A Hero on Horseback”. Ethlyne was to join Gibson for “Painted Peonies” and “Riding for Fame” (both 1928) and the next year was to co-star with Tom Tyler in two more westerns, “Gun Law” and “The Pride of the Pawnee”. She had major hits with “The Vanishing Rider” (1928) and the 1929 “Oueen of the Northwoods” and was to join Loretta Young as a WAMPAS Baby Star of 1929 but her career was already on the way down. Ethlyne had a small role in Darryl Zanuck’s 1931 “God’s Gift to Women” but found herself blackballed for rejecting the producers’s amorous advances and left the business following 1932’s “Self Condemned”. Her private life was, for a time at least, turbulent; romantically linked to both Gibson and Tyler, she married agent Richard Lansdale Hanshaw in 1928, allegedly with a gun at her head, then following her divorce wed make-up artist in Ern Westmore in 1930, a union that was no happier though it did result in one baby. Ethlyne’s third trip down the aisle, with car dealer Merle Arthur Frost, Jr., led to a much happier marriage which produced four children and lasted until her husband’s 1968 death. She lived out her days in Southern California, apparently never getting over her frustration at having been a cowgirl instead of a beautiful screen vamp. When asked to name her favorite movie she said simply, “I hated them all”. A number of her performances are preserved on DVD. (bio by: Bob Hufford)

Born

  • November, 23, 1904
  • USA

Died

  • February, 02, 1996
  • USA

Cemetery

  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
  • California
  • USA

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