Agnes Ayres

Agnes Ayres (born Agnes Eyre Henkel; April 4, 1898 – December 25, 1940) was an American actress who rose to fame during the silent film era. She was known for her role as Lady Diana Mayo in The Sheik opposite Rudolph Valentino.[1]

Agnes Ayres
Agnes Ayres Who's Who on the Screen
Ayres circa 1920
Born
Agnes Eyre Henkel

April 4, 1898
DiedDecember 25, 1940 (aged 42)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Other namesAgnes Eyre
OccupationActress
Years active1914–1937
Spouse(s)Captain Frank P. Schuker (1921–1921)
S. Manuel Reachi (July 13, 1924 – June 10, 1927) 1 daughter

Early life and career

Ayres was born in Carbondale, Illinois, to Solon and Emma (née Slack) Henkel. She had an older brother, Solon William Henkel, who was a decade her senior. She began her career in 1914 when she was noticed by an Essanay Studios staff director and cast as an extra in a crowd scene.[1]

After moving to Manhattan, New York City, with her mother to pursue a career in acting, Ayres was spotted by actress Alice Joyce. Joyce noticed the physical resemblance the two shared which eventually led to Ayres being cast in Richard the Brazen (1917), as Joyce's character's sister. Ayres' career began to gain momentum when Paramount Pictures founder Jesse Lasky began to take an interest in her. Lasky gave her a starring role in the Civil War drama Held by the Enemy (1920), and also lobbied for parts for her in several Cecil B. DeMille productions.[2] It was during this time that Ayres married, and quickly divorced, Captain Frank P. Schuker, an army officer whom she had wed during World War I. She also began a romance with Lasky.[3]

In 1921, Ayres shot to stardom when she was cast as Lady Diana Mayo, an English heiress opposite "Latin lover" Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik. Ayres later reprised her role as Lady Diana in the 1926 sequel Son of the Sheik. Following the release of The Sheik, she went on to have major roles in many other films including The Affairs of Anatol (1921) starring Wallace Reid, Forbidden Fruit (1921), and Cecil B. DeMille's epic The Ten Commandments (1923).

By 1923, Ayres' career began to wane following the end of her relationship with Jesse Lasky. She married Mexican diplomat S. Manuel Reachi in 1924. The couple had a daughter before divorcing in 1927.[4][5][6]

In 1929, Ayres lost her fortune and real estate holdings in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.[1] That same year, she also appeared in her last major role in The Donovan Affair, starring Jack Holt. To earn money, she left acting and played the vaudeville circuit. She returned to acting in 1936, confident that she could make a comeback. Unable to secure starring roles and somewhat overweight, Ayres appeared in mostly uncredited bit parts and finally retired from acting for good in 1937.[4]

Later years and death

After her retirement, Ayres became despondent and was eventually committed to a sanatorium. She also lost custody of her daughter to Reachi, in 1939.[4]

She died from a cerebral hemorrhage on Christmas Day, December 25, 1940, at her home in Hollywood, California, at the age of 42; she had been ill for several weeks.[1][7] She is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Legacy

In 1960, Ayres was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a motion pictures star at 6504 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the film industry.[8]

Selected filmography

Agnes Ayres 002
Agnes Ayres as Helen Allen in the 1920 film Go and Get It - Munsey’s Magazine, 1920
The Sheik 3
Ayres on a lobby card for The Sheik
Agnes Ayres
Ayres, c. 1921
Year Title Role Notes
1914 The Masked Wrestler Uncredited
1915 His New Job Extra, Secretary Alternative title: Charlie's New Job
1917 Motherhood The Mother Credited as Agnes Eyre, lost film
1917 The Debt Countess Ann Credited as Agnes Eyre, lost film
1917 Mrs. Balfame Alys Crumley Credited as Agnes Eyre
1917 Hedda Gabler Credited as Agnes Eyre
1917 The Mirror undetermined Credited as Agnes Eyre, lost film
1917 The Dazzling Miss Davison Lillian, Miss Davison's sister Credited as Agnes Eyre, lost film
1917 The Defeat of the City Alicia Van Der Pool Credited as Agnes Eyre
1918 The Purple Dress Maida
1918 The Enchanted Profile Ida Bates
1918 Sisters of the Golden Circle Mrs. James Williams
1918 One Thousand Dollars Margarett Hayden
1919 The Girl Problem Helen Reeves
1919 A Stitch in Time Lela Trevor
1919 In Honor's Web Carson
1919 Sacred Silence
1919 The Gamblers Isabel Merson
1920 A Modern Salome Helen Torrence Lost film
1920 The Inner Voice Barbara
1920 Go and Get It Helen Allen
1920 Held by the Enemy Rachel Hayne Lost film
1921 The Love Special Laura Gage
1921 Too Much Speed Virginia MacMurran Unknown/presumably lost
1921 Cappy Ricks Florrie Ricks Incomplete film
1921 The Affairs of Anatol Annie Elliott
1921 The Sheik Lady Diana Mayo
1922 The Lane That Had No Turning Madelinette Lost film
1922 Bought and Paid For Virginia Blaine Lost film
1922 The Ordeal Sybil Bruce Lost film
1922 A Daughter of Luxury Mary Fenton
1922 Clarence Violet Pinney Lost film
1923 The Heart Raider Muriel Gray (a speed girl)
1923 Racing Hearts Virginia Kent Lost film
1923 The Ten Commandments (1923 film) The Outcast
1923 The Marriage Maker Alexandra Vancy Lost film
1923 Don't Call It Love Alice Meldrum
1923 Hollywood Herself (cameo)
1924 When a Girl Loves Sasha Boroff
1924 Bluff Betty Hallowell
1924 The Guilty One Irene Short
1924 Detained Short film
1924 The Story Without a Name Mary Walsworth Lost film
1925 Tomorrow's Love Judith Stanley
1925 Her Market Value Nancy Dumont
1925 The Awful Truth Lucy Satterlee
1925 Morals for Men Bessie Hayes
1926 The Son of the Sheik Lady Diana
1927 Eve's Love Letters The Wife
1928 Into the Night Billie Mardon
1929 The Donovan Affair Lydia Rankin
1936 Small Town Girl Catherine Uncredited
1937 Maid of Salem Bit Part Uncredited
1937 Midnight Taxi Society woman Uncredited
1937 Souls at Sea Bit Role Uncredited
1937 Morning Judge Mrs. Kennedy

Further reading

  • Michael G. Ankerich (2010). Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen. BearManor. ISBN 1-59393-605-2.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Agnes Ayres, Star Of Silent Pictures. Actress Who Played Opposite Rudolph Valentino in 'Sheik' Dies in Hollywood, Calif. Lost Her Fortune In 1929. Tried to Make Comeback in the Talkies. Had Small Role in Cooper-Raft Film in '37". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 26, 1940.
  2. ^ Brettell, Andrew; King, Noel; Kennedy, Damien; Imwold, Denise (2005). Cut!: Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Leonard, Warren Hsu; von Rohr, Heather. Barrons Educational Series. p. 23. ISBN 0-7641-5858-9.
  3. ^ Parish, James Robert (2002). The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More Than 125 American Movie and TV Idols (3 ed.). Contemporary Books. p. 93. ISBN 0-8092-2227-2.
  4. ^ a b c Parish, James Robert (2002). The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More Than 125 American Movie and TV Idols (3 ed.). Contemporary Books. p. 94. ISBN 0-8092-2227-2.
  5. ^ "Agnes Ayres Has a Daughter". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 27, 1926.
  6. ^ "Agnes Ayres Gets Divorce". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 25, 1927.
  7. ^ Katz, Ephraim (1994). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. HarperCollins She is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. Publishers. p. 68. ISBN 0-06-273089-4.
  8. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame - Agnes Ayres". walkoffame.com. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 8, 2017.

External links

Bluff (1924 film)

Bluff is a 1924 American drama silent film directed by Sam Wood and written by Willis Goldbeck, Josephine Quirk and Rita Weiman. The film stars Agnes Ayres, Antonio Moreno, Fred J. Butler, Clarence Burton, Pauline Paquette and Jack Gardner. The film was released on May 12, 1924, by Paramount Pictures.

Borderland (1922 film)

Borderland is a 1922 American silent drama film directed by Paul Powell and written by Beulah Marie Dix. The film stars Agnes Ayres, Milton Sills, Fred Huntley, Bertram Grassby, Casson Ferguson, Ruby Lafayette, and Sylvia Ashton. The film was released on July 20, 1922, by Paramount Pictures. It is not known whether the film currently survives.

Bought and Paid For

Bought and Paid For is a lost 1922 American silent drama film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by William C. deMille and starred Agnes Ayres. It is based on a play by George Broadhurst performed on Broadway in 1911 with Julia Dean and revived 1921 respectively. The play was filmed before in 1916 by the World Film Company with Alice Brady in the lead role.

Cappy Ricks

Cappy Ricks is a 1921 American silent adventure film directed by Tom Forman and written by Peter B. Kyne, Albert S. Le Vino, Edward E. Rose, and Waldemar Young. The film stars Thomas Meighan, Charles S. Abbe, Agnes Ayres, Hugh Cameron, John St. Polis, Paul Everton and Eugenie Woodward. The film was released on August 21, 1921, by Paramount Pictures.

Don't Call It Love (film)

Don't Call It Love is a 1923 American comedy silent film directed by William C. deMille and written by Clara Beranger, Hubert Osborne and Julian Street. The film stars Agnes Ayres, Jack Holt, Nita Naldi, Theodore Kosloff, Rod La Rocque and Robert Edeson. The film was released on December 24, 1923, by Paramount Pictures.

Go and Get It

Go and Get It is a 1920 American silent comedy-drama mystery film directed by Marshall Neilan and Henry Roberts Symonds and written by Marion Fairfax. The film stars Pat O'Malley, Wesley Barry, Noah Beery Sr. and Agnes Ayres. The cinematographer was David Kesson. The film was released on July 18, 1920 by First National Exhibitors' Circuit.Actor Bull Montana (a former professional wrestler) played Ferry, the Ape Creature, in the film. He later went on to play the ape-man in the 1925 Willis H. O'Brien classic The Lost World, which strangely was also written by Marion Fairfax and starred Noah Beery's actor brother Wallace Beery.

Held by the Enemy (film)

Held by the Enemy is a lost 1920 American silent Civil War melodrama film directed by Donald Crisp and based on the 1886 play by William Gillette. The film starred Agnes Ayres, Lewis Stone, and Jack Holt. It was produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Her Market Value

Her Market Value is a 1925 American silent melodrama film directed by Paul Powell and starring Agnes Ayres. Powell produced the picture and distributed through Producers Distributing Corporation. This feature is extant at UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Morals for Men

Morals for Men is a 1925 American silent drama film directed by Bernard H. Hyman and starring Conway Tearle, Agnes Ayres and Alyce Mills.

Sacred Silence (1919 film)

Sacred Silence is a 1919 American silent drama film directed by Harry F. Millarde and starring William Russell and Agnes Ayres.

The Awful Truth (1925 film)

The Awful Truth is a 1925 silent film drama released by Producers Distributing Corporation. It is based on a 1922 play, The Awful Truth, by Arthur Richman. Agnes Ayres stars in this silent film version of the play.

According to IMDb.com this film survives in the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The Heart Raider

The Heart Raider is a 1923 silent film romantic comedy produced by Famous Players-Lasky and released by Paramount Pictures. It is based on an original story for the screen and was directed by Wesley Ruggles and starred Agnes Ayres and Mahlon Hamilton. A Czech release print survives at George Eastman House, Rochester New York.Brothers, Charles Ruggles and Wesley Ruggles in a rare occasion work here on the same film. Future torch singer Helen Morgan has an uncredited extra part.

The Love Special

The Love Special is a surviving 1921 American silent drama film directed by Frank Urson and written by Eugene B. Lewis and Frank H. Spearman. The film stars Wallace Reid, Agnes Ayres, Theodore Roberts, Lloyd Whitlock, Sylvia Ashton, and William Gaden. The film was released on March 20, 1921, by Paramount Pictures.

The Ordeal (film)

The Ordeal is a lost 1922 American silent drama film directed by Paul Powell and written by Beulah Marie Dix and W. Somerset Maugham. The film stars Clarence Burton, Agnes Ayres, Conrad Nagel, Edna Murphy, Anne Schaefer, Gino Corrado, and Adele Farrington. The film was released on May 21, 1922, by Paramount Pictures.

The Sheik (film)

The Sheik is a 1921 American silent romantic drama film produced by Famous Players-Lasky, directed by George Melford, starring Rudolph Valentino and Agnes Ayres, and featuring Adolphe Menjou. It was based on the bestselling romance novel of the same name by Edith Maude Hull and was adapted for the screen by Monte M. Katterjohn. The film was a box-office hit and helped propel Valentino to stardom.In the sequel The Son of the Sheik, Valentino played both the Sheik and his son, while Ayres reprised her role.

The Story Without a Name

The Story Without a Name is a 1924 silent film melodrama directed by Irvin Willat and based on a novel by Arthur Stringer. It was produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film stars Agnes Ayres. Also known as Without Warning. This film is lost.A 1952 film noir with the title Without Warning! had a working title of "The Story Without a Name" but the plots of the two are quite different.

Tomorrow's Love

Tomorrow's Love is a 1925 American comedy silent film directed by Paul Bern, written by Charles Brackett and Howard Higgin, and starring Agnes Ayres, Patrick H. O'Malley, Jr., Raymond Hatton, Jane Winton, Ruby Lafayette and Dale Fuller. It was released on January 5, 1925, by Paramount Pictures.

Too Much Speed

Too Much Speed is a 1921 American silent drama film directed by Frank Urson, written by Byron Morgan, and starring Wallace Reid, Agnes Ayres, Theodore Roberts, Jack Richardson, Lucien Littlefield, and Guy Oliver. It was released on June 5, 1921, by Paramount Pictures. It is not known whether the film currently survives.

Worldly Goods

Worldly Goods is a 1924 American comedy silent film directed by Paul Bern and written by Sophie Kerr and A. P. Younger. The film stars Agnes Ayres, Patrick H. O'Malley, Jr., Victor Varconi, Edythe Chapman, Bert Woodruff, Maude George and Cecille Evans. The film was released on November 24, 1924, by Paramount Pictures.

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