Agnes Ayres was born Agnes Eyre Henkel in Carbondale,
IL, April 4, 1898. Ayres started out as an extra at Essanay, and
her first confirmed role was as an uncredited extra in Charlie
Chaplin's "His New Job" in 1915 which was made in Chicago.
At some point, she moved to New York, and over the next four years,
she appeared in several films for Vitagraph, mostly shorts, as
Agnes Eyre. In 1917, she got the attention of Alice Joyce because
of her resemblance to Joyce. This led to her being cast as Joyce's
sister in "Richard the Brazen," a Vitagraph film. Later,
Jesse Lasky gave her a starring role in "Held By the Enemy"
(1920) at Paramount. She reportedly had a romance with Lasky following
a very brief marriage and divorce from her first husband, Capt.
Frank P. Schuker whoom she had met during World War I. Her most
famous role came when she was cast at Laday Diana Mayo in Rudolph
Valentino's "The Sheik" in 1921. After this, she was
used by Cecil B. DeMille in films such as "The Affairs of
Anatol" (1921), "Forbidden Fruit" (1921) and "The
Ten Commandments" (1923). During the first half of the decade,
Ayres was busy making five or six features a year. Supposedly,
her career began to wind down after she broke up with Lasky and
married Mexican diplomat S. Manuel Reachi in 1924. She made four
more features in 1925. Her only appearance in 1926 was to reprise
her role as Lady Diana in "The Son of the Sheik." One
film in 1926, one in 1927, and two in 1928 brought her silent
career to an end. She starred in a couple of low budget, poverty
row films in 1929 before getting a secondary role in a Frank Capra
film later that year in 1929, apparently making an easy transition
to sound films. She disappeared from the screen after this film
returning in 1936 to appear in three uncredited roles. In 1937,
she had one uncredited film appearance, and her last film was
a 1937 short for RKO, "Morning, Judge," with Edgar Kennedy.
Reportedly, she had a real estate business in Beverly Hills around
this time. She died in Los Angeles on Christmas Day, 1940, of
a cerebral hemorrhage at age 42.
Selected films of this star available for viewing:
The Sheik (1921)
The Ten Commandments (1923)
The Son of the
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