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Jeanie Macpherson

Gaines, Jane

Jeanie Macpherson is best known as Cecil B. DeMille’s screenwriter since she collaborated exclusively with the director-producer from 1915 through the silent era and into the sound era, in a working relationship lasting fifteen years. Like many other women who became established as screenwriters, she began her career as a performer, first as a dancer and then as an actress. Her numerous acting screen credits begin in 1908, and nearly thirty of the short films she appeared in for the Biograph Company, most directed by D. W. Griffith, are extant. At Universal Pictures, Macpherson began to write, but due to a fluke she also directed the one film that she wrote there—a one-reel Western, The Tarantula (1913), according to a 1916 Photoplay article (95). Although Anthony Slide cannot confirm the success of the film, both he and Charles Higham retell the story that when the film negative was destroyed by accident, the actress was asked to reshoot the entire motion picture just as she recalled it since the original director was unavailable (Slide 1977, 60; Higham 1973, 38).

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