Order a reprint
of this photo!
Click here for ordering instructions
Born Mary Bickford Dunn November 8, 1898 in Sarnia,
Ontario. After the death of her father when she was a teenager,
Marie, her sister and mother moved to Los Angeles. She began film
work as a Sennett bathing beauty changing her name to Marie Prevost.
Between 1917 and 1924, she was in 26 Mack Sennett comedies. She
was also featured in the 1919 Sennett World War I spoof "Yankee
Doodle in Berlin." She made three more features for Sennett
in 1920 and 1921 before going to work at Universal. Although Prevost
yearned for better roles, she was still relegated to light comedies
in the eight films she made for Universal in 1921-1922. She signed
with Warner Brothers in 1922, and her first films was F. Scott
Fitzgerald's "The Beautiful and the Damned" which brought
her good reviews. Her big break came in 1924 when Ernest Lubitsch
chose her for the juicy role of Mizzi, the discontented wife of
Adolphe Menjou, in "The
Marriage Circle" (1924). The film brought her excellent
reviews, and she enjoyed working with Lubitsch who cast her in
two more of his films, "Three Women" (1924) and "Kiss
Me Again" (1925) with Clara Bow. Prevost was one of the busiest
actresses of the twenties with over 50 films during the decade.
Her forté, though, seemed to be light, romantic comedies,
usually involving misunderstandings and double entendré
humor. The story lines flirted with marital infidelity, but never
crossed over the line, and she and her husband would always be
reunited in the end. Several of these comedies are available on
video today such as "Up in Mabel's Room" (1926), "Getting
Gertie's Garter" (1927), "The Girl in the Pullman"
Blonde for a Night" (1928) and "Rush Hour"
(1928). Although her career was flourishing, Prevost was devastated
when her mother was killed in a car accident in 1926. Supposedly,
it was at this time that she took to drink. She also had a plum
role in Cecil B. DeMille's "Godless Girl" (1929), but
it flopped at the box office. The coming of sound affected many
silent stars, and, although Marie had a perfectly good voice,
things seemed to change. She was no longer the star, and was soon
relegated to "second banana" roles usually as a wisecracking,
gum-chewing woman of the world. She appeared in 23 films from
1930-1936, many times with some of the biggest stars of the decade
-- Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, etc. Her finances
began to disappear, and by 1934 she had to sell her home in Malibu.
She drank considerably, but ate little. She died of alcoholism
and malnutrition Jan. 21, 1937, at the age of 38.
Selected films of this star available for viewing:
The Marriage Circle (1924)
Up In Mabel's Room (1926)
Getting Gertie's Garter (1927)
The Rush Hour (1927)
A Blonde for a Night (1928)
Return to photos page