Norma Talmadge, was one of the biggest stars of the silent film era. She was born on May 26, 1894 in Jersey City, NJ, and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Norma had two sisters, Constance Talmadge, also a major star, who was in 83 films and Natalie Talmadge who appeared in nine films.
Norma appeared in over 200 silent pictures, most of which are now considered lost films. In 1916, Norma married film producer Joseph Schenck who became head of United Artists and would go on to become the chairman of 20th Century Fox.
As with many of the silent stars, Norma’s career ended with the advent of sound. By 1928 her career had already stalled to one film per year. There was talk in 1928 of reissuing her favorite film Smilin’ Through (1922), but Norma was staunch in her refusal to re-release it. Norma said, “I thought it was a lovely picture and the fans liked it. Why reissue it? I would rather people only had the peasant memory of it.” This attitude was similar to the screen’s biggest star Mary Pickford, who had said she would never allow any of her films to be released again.
Norma made two sound films, New York Nights (1929) and Du Barry, Woman of Passion (1930). The Du Barry film was widely panned by critics and public alike. Norma then waited for the right script for her next movie. She said she was “favoring playing a comic role.” She never appeared in another film.
Instead, Norma Talmadge travelled the world and invested wisely in real estate, becoming very wealthy.
Legend has it that Norma Talmadge has the distinction of being the first to leave her handprints, footprints and signature at the would famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The apocryphal story Continue reading