Filled Under: Corinne Griffith
Corinne Griffith was an American silent film actress who was one of the most popular film actresses of the 1920’s. Dubbed “The Orchid Lady of the Screen”, Griffith was widely considered the most beautiful actress of the silent screen. Shortly after the advent of sound film, Griffith retired from acting and became a successful businesswoman and author.
Corinne Mae Griffith was born on November 21, 1894 in Texarkana, Texas to John Lewis Griffin and Ambolina Ghio. She attended Sacred Heart Convent school in New Orleans and worked as a dancer before she began her acting career. Griffith began her screen career at the Vitagraph Studios in 1916. She later moved to First National, where she became one of their most popular stars. The silent movie “Black Oxen” (1924) was one of her most popular films. In 1925 she made the film “DeClasse” in which a young extra named Clark Gable appeared. In 1928, she had the starring role in “The Garden of Eden”. The next year, in 1929, Griffith received an Academy Award nomination for her role in “The Divine Lady”. Griffith’s first sound film, “Lilies of the Field”, was released in 1930. Her voice did not record well and the film was a box office flop. After appearing in one more motion picture, the British film “Lily Christine” in 1932, she retired from acting. In her only theatre work Griffith starred in a touring production of Noel Coward’s “Design for Living” in the mid 1930’s. She returned to the screen in 1962 in the low-budget melodrama “Paradise Alley”.
Griffith was one of the few film stars to move successfully into new careers once her stardom had ended. An astute businesswoman after leaving her film career behind, she soon amassed a fortune in real estate holdings. At one point she owned four different major office buildings in Los Angeles, each of them named after her. At the time of her death in 1979, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world, leaving an estate of $150 million. Griffith was also an accomplished writer who published eleven books including two best sellers, “My Life with The Redskins” and the memoir “Papa’s Delicate Condition”, which was made into a 1963 film starring Jackie Gleason.
Corinne Griffith was married four times. She married actor and frequent co-star Webster Campbell from 1920 to 1923 and was married to producer Walter Morosco from 1924 to 1934. Her third marriage was to the owner of the Washington Redskins football team George Preston Marshall from 1936 to 1958. During her marriage to Marshall, she composed the lyrics to the Redskins fight song “Hail to the Redskins” which became one of the most famous football anthems.
In 1966 she married her fourth husband, Broadway actor Danny Scholl. Scholl was forty-five, more than twenty-five years Griffith’s junior. They were only married for a few days when Griffith filed for an annulment. In court she testified that she was not Corinne Griffith. She claimed that she was the actresses’ younger (by twenty years) sister who had taken her place upon the famous sister’s death. Contradicting testimony by actresses Betty Blythe and Claire Windsor, who had both known her since the 1920s, did not shake her story. She was granted the annulment thirty-three days after the marriage.
Corinne Griffith died of heart failure at the age of eighty-four on July 13, 1979, in Santa Monica, California.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Corrine Griffith has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street.