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Essays

The Talmadge Sisters

de Groat, Greta

The Talmadge sisters were two of the most beloved stars of the silent era. At first glance, they could hardly seem more different. Norma was a slight, soulful-eyed brunette beauty adept at “emotional” roles while Constance was a tall, gawky blond, not particularly pretty but with a face full of mischief. Yet they were bound together closely in their professional careers and linked in publicity as well as in their personal lives. Their films were marketed together to distributors, and publicity generally presented them as a family unit, with sister Natalie along with their mother, the indomitable Peg. Norma is something of an enigma today. Though most of her films survive, they are rarely screened. Constance has fewer surviving films, but is more familiar to modern audiences through her appealing role in D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916).

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Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019