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Famous Female Silent Film Actresses

Updated June 14, 2019 21.0k views7 items

List of famous female silent film actresss, listed by their level of prominence with photos when available. This greatest female silent film actresss list contains the most prominent and top females known for being silent film actresss. There are thousand of females working as silent film actresss in the world, but this list highlights only the most notable ones. Historic silent film actresss have worked hard to become the best that they can be, so if you're a female aspiring to be a silent film actress then the people below should give you inspiration.

List ranges from Dorothy Gish to Lillian Gish and more.

While this isn't a list of all female silent film actresss, it does answer the questions "Who are the most famous female silent film actresss?" and "Who are the best female silent film actresss?"
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    Gladys Louise Smith (April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979), known professionally as Mary Pickford, was a Canadian-born American film actress and producer. With a career spanning 50 years, she was a co-founder of both the Pickford–Fairbanks Studio (along with Douglas Fairbanks) and, later, the United Artists film studio (with Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith), and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who present the yearly "Oscar" award ceremony.Pickford was known in her prime as "America's Sweetheart" and the "girl with the curls". She was one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood and a significant figure in the development of film...  more

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    • Lillian Diana Gish (October 14, 1893 – February 27, 1993) was an American pioneering actress of the screen and stage, as well as a director and writer. Her film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912, in silent film shorts, to 1987. Gish was called the First Lady of American Cinema, and is credited with pioneering fundamental film performing techniques.Gish was a prominent film star from 1912 into the 1920s, particularly associated with the films of director D. W. Griffith, including her leading role in the highest-grossing film of the silent era, Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915). At the dawn of the sound era, she returned to the stage and appeared in film infrequently, including...  more

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        Olive Thomas (born Oliva R. Duffy; October 20, 1894 – September 10, 1920) was an American silent-film actress and model. Thomas began her career as an illustrator's model in 1914, and moved on to the Ziegfeld Follies the following year. During her time as a Ziegfeld girl, she also appeared in the more risqué show The Midnight Frolic. In 1916, she began a successful career in silent films and would appear in more than 20 features over the course of her four-year film career. That year she also married actor Jack Pickford, the younger brother of fellow silent-film star Mary Pickford. On September 10, 1920, Thomas died in Paris five days after ingesting her husband's syphillis medication,...  more
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          Gloria May Josephine Swanson (March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983) was an American actress and producer. A major Hollywood star of the silent era, she later achieved widespread critical acclaim and recognition for her role as Norma Desmond, a reclusive silent film star, in the critically acclaimed 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. The film earned her an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award win. Swanson was also a star in the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon, especially under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille. Throughout the 1920s, Swanson was one of Hollywood's top box office draws.Swanson starred in dozens of silent films, and was nominated for the first Academy...  more

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