Alice Joyce: The Madonna Of The Screen

 

Alice Joyce was an American actress who was known as “The Madonna of the Screen” for her striking features and presence on the big screen. She appeared in more than 200 movies during the 1910s and 1920s and is perhaps best known for her roles in the 1923 silent and 1930 talking versions of “The Green Goddess”.

 

Alice Joyce from Photoplay magazine, April 1917

Joyce was born October 1, 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri to John Edward and Vallie Olive McIntyre Joyce. After her parents divorced in 1900, Joyce worked as a telephone operator at age thirteen and a fashion model afterwards, appearing in illustrated songs. She joined the Kalem film company at 20, making her debut in “The Deacon’s Daughter” (1910), and achieved popularity as a charming, proper leading lady in many shorts. After Vitagraph bought out Kalem, Joyce began appearing in the company’s features, and her career soared. She was so popular as an ingénue that she was still playing those parts into her late 20s, but eventually she switched to older, more mature roles. She played Clara Bow’s mother in Bow’s wildly popular film “Dancing Mothers” (1926). Some of her other more popular films were “The County Fair” (1912), “The Cub Reporter’s Temptation” (1913), “Whom the Gods Destroy” (1916), “The Triumph of the Weak” (1918), “The Green Goddess” (1923), “The Passionate Adventure” (1924), “Beau Geste” (1926), and “The Green Goddess” (1930). Her last role was in “Song o’ My Heart” in 1930.

Alice Joyce

 

When Alice Joyce retired from film, she was very much still a popular actress. She and then husband Tom Moore worked a late vaudeville circuit in 1932. She spent much time with her teen-age daughters and was active in San Fernando Valley women’s organizations in her later years. She did book reviews and made sketches for friends.

Alice Joyce

 

Alice Joyce was married three times, the first time in 1914 to actor Tom Moore with whom she had a daughter, Alice Joyce Moore (1916–1960). They divorced in 1920. The same year she married James B. Regan, son of the managing director of the old Knickerbocker Hotel. Her second daughter was born during this union. They divorced in 1932. Joyce eventually went bankrupt before she married for a third time. Her last marriage was to film director Clarence Brown in 1933. They separated in 1942 and divorced in 1945. She retained Brown’s name. During their separation, she sued him for reparation on cruelty charges. In 1946. Brown stayed with Joyce for several hours after she was seriously injured in a traffic accident and paid her medical bills.

Alice Joyce and Clarence Brown on their wedding day in 1933

 

Alice Joyce was ill for several years before her death on October 9, 1955 from a blood and heart ailment at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Hollywood, California. She was 65 years old. She was interred next to her mother, Vallie, in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California.

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