Born 1894 in Waco, Texas, American actress Corinne Griffith pursued a film career after winning a beauty contest in Southern California. In 1916, she signed a contract with Vitagraph Studios, appearing in numerous films for the studio through the remainder of the decade.
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In 1920, Griffith began making films for First National Pictures, and became one of the studio’s bigger stars. In the mid-1920s, she began executive-producing features, and served as a producer on 1925’s Déclassée and Classified, in both of which she starred. In the latter part of the 1920s, Griffith’s film career slowed, though she had lead performances in Outcast (1928) and the drama The Garden of Eden (also 1928).
Dubbed “The Orchid Lady of the Screen,” Griffith achieved critical recognition for her performance in Frank Lloyd’s The Divine Lady (1929), which earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. After 1932, Griffith retired from acting and became a successful author and businesswoman, writing numerous fiction and non-fiction books, as well as venturing into real estate, in which she had begun investing in the 1920s.
After suffering a stroke in July 1979, Griffith was hospitalized in Santa Monica, California, where she died shortly after of a heart attack. She left behind a reported estate of $150 million, making her one of the wealthier women in the world at that time.
Take a look at these vintage photos to see the beauty of young Corinne Griffith in the 1910s and 1920s.