Mesmerizing Portraits of Theda Bara, Hollywood’s Original Vamp

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Theda Bara (1885-1955) was a popular actress in the silent film era and one of the early sex symbols of the silver screen. After her appearance as a vampire in A Fool There Was (1915), she quickly attracted attention from both male and female audiences. Between 1915 and 1919, Bara was Fox studio’s biggest star, playing a large number of femme fatale roles, which earned her the nickname “The Vamp” and helped popularize the “vamp” characters. At the peak of her fame, she earned $4,000 per week. 

 

Bara made more than 40 films between 1914 and 1926, but most were lost in the 1937 Fox vault fire. She retired from acting in 1926, never appearing in a “talkie.” Take a look back at the sultry actress through 29 mesmerizing portraits from the 1910s to 1920s below: 

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