Martha Mansfield

Born July 14, 1899, in Mansfield, OH. Martha Mansfield's real name was Martha Ehrlich, but she took her new stage name from her hometown. Although little is known about her childhood, it is known that by 1912 she was living in New York with her mother. In 1912, she was working on Broadway for producer William Brady and also worked as an artist's and photographer's model. When an actress friend of hers was unable to take a part in Max Linder's films, she recommended Martha who, as Martha Early, signed on in 1917 with Essanay for three films with the comedian. Martha did not give up her stage work, though, and in 1918 joined the Ziegfeld Follies. She also made films whenever possible and was appearing on stage in "Midnight Frolic" when she was cast to co-star with John Barrymore in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1920). After one more Paramount feature, "Civilian Clothes" (1920) with Thomas Meighan, she was signed by Lewis J. Selznick. Selznick failed to explore Martha's talents and loaned her out to such companies as Arrow, Lee-Bradford, Hodkinson and others. Finally, in 1923, Fox signed her to a long-term contract, and her career was looking bright. The next year, she was given the female lead in "The Warrens of Virginia" (1924), a Civil War movie. Dressed in a huge hoop skirt of the period, she was sitting in a car on the set when someone carelessly tossed a match in her direction. The costume caught fire, and she died from her injuries the next day, November 30, 1923.

Selected films of this star available for viewing:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

Is Money Everything? (1923)

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