Norma Talmadge (norma Talmadge)

Norma  Talmadge

Actress. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the daughter of legendary Hollywood mother Peg Talmadge. Her father, an alcoholic and unemployed, left the family when norma was a child. To keep the family together, Peg took in laundry and taught painting classes. By the time norma was 14, she was interested in modelling. Peg saw this as an opportunity to get norma into motion pictures. Travelling to Flatbush and Vitagraph studios, they managed to get past the studio gates and see a casting director, who threw them out. Peg and norma continued to haunt Vitagraph with telephone calls and in 1910 norma got some small parts in films. Between 1911-12 norma played bits ino over 100 films. Her first role as a contract actress was 1911’s In Neighboring Kingdoms with comedian John Bunny. As she continued to play a variety of characters she began attracting public and critical notice. In 1913 she was voted Vitagraph’s most promisng young player and was ranked 42nd in Photoplay Magazine’s popularity poll. Peg saw that she could carry norma’s career further, so she got norma a contract with National Pictures Company for 8 features and 400 dollars a week. Her last film for Vitagraph was The Crown Prince’s Double. In the 5 years she had been with Vitagraph, she had played in over 250 films. In August norma began filming Captivating Mary Carstairs. Everything was a fiasco, the set and costumes were cheap, and the studio itself lacked sufficient backing. After the movie’s release, the company shut down. In 1916, norma got a contract with D. W. Griffith’s Fine Arts Company. For eight months she starred in 7 features. When the contract ran out, the Talmadges returned to New York. At a party norma met Joseph Schenck, and on October 20, 1916 they were married. In 1920 norma moved her production company to Hollywood and throughout the 1920’s she continued to triumph in films such as The Passion Flower and Smilin Through. By the time she made Camille in 1927, her popularity had began to fade. During the filming of Camille, she had fallen in love with co star Gilbert Roland and began divorce proceedings to marry him. She never married Roland, but Scheneck never tried to stop the divorce proceedings. Her career continued to decline and when the talkies arrived, her career was pretty much over. Her voice was unsuited to the sophisticated roles she had played her entire career. In 1934, she finally divorced Schenck, from whom she had been seperated for seven years and nine days later married George Jessel. She divorced George in 1939, falling into drug addiction of which her crippling arthritis was one manifestiation. In 1946 norma married Dr. Carvel James who made her last years as comfortable as possible. She died on December 24, 1957.

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  • May, 26, 1895
  • USA
  • New Jersey


  • December, 24, 1957


  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  • California
  • USA

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