Annette Kellerman’s entrée into silent film began in the middle of an acrimonious battle to control the terms of her vaudeville career. Australian-born, she had established herself as a powerful draw on the American vaudeville circuit by promoting her “Perfect Woman” physique and presenting spectacular high diving and underwater exhibitions. Caught in a firestorm between theatre magnates B. F. Keith and William Morris after Morris offered Kellerman $1,500 per week, she astutely used her commercial popularity to get an agreement to appear in several silent kinetoscope shorts. She was ordered by court decree to fulfill the rest of her contract with Keith before beginning with Morris (Gibson and Firth 2005, 79–82).
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