Paula Hilburn, also known as Paula Dean, was an actress, writer, director, and costume designer at the Vitagraph Company. She acted in eight films, wrote seven, directed one, and designed the costumes for three. Her earliest credit is her role as Lady Mary in Vitagraph’s Monsieur Beaucaire: The Adventures of a Gentleman of France (1905), opposite Vitagraph company cofounder J. Stuart Blackton as the wicked Duke. According to Marian Constance Blackton, J. Stuart Blackton’s daughter by his first wife, Dean and Blackton’s intimacy on screen carried over into real life. J. Stuart Blackton married Paula Dean in 1906 on the same day his divorce to his first wife became official (Trimble 26). They had a daughter, Violet Virginia, in 1910 and a son, Charles Stuart, in 1914. Marian Contsance Blackton remembers her stepmother as a “handsome, dynamic, passionate extrovert” (27) with an “ear as well as an eye for elegance.” Further, she claims that it was Paula who persuaded J. Stuart Blackton to call Vitagraph’s place of business a “studio,” rather than a “factory” (29).
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