Esther Ralston was born Esther Worth in Bar Harbor,
ME., Sept. 17, 1902. When the family, which included Esther, her
parents and four brothers, decided to go on the stage in 1902,
they changed their name to Ralston. When Ralston was 14 years
old, she appeared in "Deep Purple" (1916) with Clara
Kimball Young and other occasional films on the east coast. After
touring all over the United States, the family arrived in California
in 1917. She began appearing in small parts in films, with her
first significant role being in William Desmond Taylor's 1920
production of "Huckleberry Finn." She also appeared
in "Oliver Twist" with Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney
in 1922. With over 20 features to her credit, she was selected
for the role of Mrs. Darling in "Peter Pan" in 1924
followed by another J.M. Barrie adaptation "A Kiss for Cinderella"
(1926). Her appearance in "Peter Pan" began a life-long
friendship with Mary Brian who played her daughter in the film.
Another significant role for Ralston was in "Old Ironsides"
(1926), directed by James Cruze and also starring Charles Farrell.
According to Ralston, her favorite film was "Old Ironsides,"
and one of the worst, in her opinion, was "$50,000 Reward"
(1924) with Ken Maynard. She also starred co-starred with Gary
Cooper and Clara Bow in "Children of Divorce" (1927).
Ralston was a popular star at Paramount throughout the second
half of the twenties, but her contract was terminated in 1929
at the advent of the talkies. She blamed her then-husband George
Webb who convinced her to go to the Paramount executives and ask
for a $100,000 salary. When they refused, Ralston refused to sign
a contract. She continued to make films until 1941 on a more sporadic
basis, but she did bring in some good performances in secondary
roles in films such as "Sadie McKee" (1934) with Joan
Crawford and "Tin Pan Alley" (1940) with Alice Faye.
Ralston was married to Webb from 1925-1933, singer Will Morgan
from 1934-1938, and journalist Ted Lloyd in 1939-1954. She also
made some commercials, acted in soap operas and did some radio
and theater work (as late as 1975) and wrote her autobiography,
"Some Day We'll Laugh," in 1985. She died Jan. 14, 1994.
Selected films of this star available for viewing:
Oliver Twist (1922)
Peter Pan (1924)
$50,000 Reward (1924)
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