Legendary actress, Bebe Daniels, was born Bebe Virginia Daniels on Jan 14, 1901 in Dallas, TX. Daniels died at the age of 70 on Mar 16, 1971 in London, England and was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA.
Early Life and Career
Bebe Daniels was born Phyllis Virginia Daniels in January 14th, 1901 in Dallas Texas. She came from a show business background, as her father was a theater manager and her mother a stage actress. The family moved to Los Angeles in Bebe's formative years, and it is there she began her acting career. She made her stage debut at the tender age of four, when she appeared in The Squaw Man. Soon after the young actress took to the road, acting in a touring production of William Shakespeare's Richard III. Daniels continued to act on the stage and within a few short years found herself acting for the burgeoning medium of film. At the age of seven Daniels made her silver screen debut, starring in the short film A Common Enemy. She continued to act on film, even playing Dorothy Gale in the 1910 short film version of The Wonder Wizard of Oz. For the next few years the young actress would split her time between the sound stage and school.
In 1915 the young actress managed to capture the eye of hotshot producer Hal Roach. Roach offered Daniels a starring role opposite Harold Lloyd in the short Giving Them Fits. Roach was impressed by their chemistry and subsequently cast the two in a series of short comedies revolving around Harold Lloyd's reoccurring character, 'Lonesome Luke.' Between 1915 and 1917 the pair appeared in over 80 short films together, and began a highly publicized romantic relationship in which they were as "The Boy" and "The Girl." Outside of her work with Lloyd, Daniels also starred in many other Hal Roach productions, appearing in over 200 before moving on greater opportunity.
In 1919 Cecil B. DeMille offered Daniels contract to work at Paramount Pictures. Hoping to make the transition from comedy to more dramatic role, the 18-year-old actress accepted his offer. Despite her wish to act in dramas, Daniels was immediately cast in supporting comedic roles in films like Male and Female and The Affairs of Anatol. In 1922 Daniels finally got her wish and starred in first non-comedic role in the romantic western North of the Rio Grande. Soon after the rising star would receive her first top billing with the film Singed Wings and make the successful transition from child star to adult actress.
In 1923 Daniels appeared in a series of successful films, including The World's Applause, The Glimpses of the Moon and The Exciters. The next year she starred opposite Hollywood's hottest leading man, Rudolph Valentino, in the lavishly designed romance Monsieur Beaucaire. The film was a huge success and even had a musical soundtrack accompany it during its release. Although the 23-year old was already a Hollywood veteran, appearing in nearly 250 films at this point, this would be the first role in which she would receive shining reviews from critics and audiences alike. Despite the success of the period drama and the general praise she received for her performance, Daniels went back to being cast in a number of light comedies such as Wild, Wild Susan, Miss Brewster's Millions and The Campus Flirt. By the end of her tenure at Paramount, Daniels has appeared in over fifty films for the studio and by the end of the decade was one of the most popular stars of the silent era.
Transitions to Talkies
Despite Daniel's popularity, Paramount Pictures dropped her from their roster at the advent of talkies. Radio Pictures (later know as RKO) was quick to pick up the former stage actor and hired her to star in their big budget musical Rio Rita as the titular character of Rita Ferguson. The film was smash hit, marking her successful transition to the sound era. She then signed an official contract with RKO. The next year she married actor Ben Lyons, whom she would remain married to until her death in 1971.
Daniels continued to star in string of successful musicals like Love Comes Along, Dixiana, and Reaching for the Moon. However, by 1931 musicals began falling rapidly out of fashion and RKO opted to not to renew Daniels contract, feeling the star was now to closely associated with the fledgling genre. She was the picked up by Warner Brothers studios, who recognized her box-office potential. Daniels was then able to stretch her acting muscles, starring in variety of films. In 1931 she appeared in three dramas, including Warner Brothers original, pre-code telling of The Maltese Falcon. The next year she starred as Dorothy Brock in the backstage musical 42nd Street. She displayed her musicals talents once again in the 1933 film a Southern Maid. The next year she starred I her final Warner Brothers film with Registered Nurse. She then retired from Hollywood and moved across the pond to London.
Later Career and Life
Although Daniels appeared in few more film in England, she quickly found her niche in radio. She and her husband began working on BBC radio series Hi Gang!, which was immensely popular during World War II and adapted to film in 1941. They continued to broadcast through the worst days of The Blitz, despite the dangers to themselves. After her husband enlist in Unites States Air force in 1943, Daniels launched the radio series Here's Wishing You Well Again, dedicated to those injured due to in battle. After the war, Daniels was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Truman for her wartime services.
After the war, Daniels and Lyons continued to work in radio with the series Life With the Lyons. The shows also featured their children, Barbara and Richard. The radio series then spun-off two films, Life with the Lyons and The Lyons in Paris, and a successful television series that lasted six seasons.
In 1963 Daniels suffered a series of strokes, which forced the actress to retire after a lifetime of acting. Bebe Daniels died on March 16, 1971. She was 70 years old.(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).
HONORS and AWARDS:.
She was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Bebe Daniels's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #12 on May 11, 1929. Daniels was never nominated for an Academy Award.
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Ruth Wonderly: You have a lot of trouble with your women, don't you, Sam?
The Boy: Say, how busy is YOUR father?
Switchboard operator: Alas, I have no father. He died when he was a young boy.
read more quotes from Bebe Daniels...