“I was born in St. Louis and attended the Peabody School there until I was about seven. My family then moved to New York, and my prep school was the New Jersey Military Academy, at Freebold, but I finished at one of the smaller Eastern schools in Pennsylvania. In 1900, I left home and went to Cody, Wyoming, where I did several kinds of work – hotel, ranch and survey. In the winter of 1909 I came back East, and was for a while on the city staff of the Newark Morning Star. I left the Star to go on the stage with my father, Hal Reid, in ‘The Girl and the Ranger,’ and I worked with him on several other productions from his own pen.” — Wallace Reid
“In May of 1910 I started into pictures with the Selig Company in Chicago, learning the camera and beginning to write scenarios. In November I returned East and took an assistant editorship with Motor Magazine, but the following May the call of the picture game grew too strong, and I left Motor, accepting an engagement with the Vitagraph Company, which lasted eleven months. After that I joined the Reliance, with whom I played four months. Then, as director Otis Turner’s assistant, and leading man, I came to California with the Universal Company. Last winter I wrote and directed all of the ‘Flying A’ second company productions, but I left them to return to the Universal Company. I am now directing and playing leads in my own stories for the Nestor brand of Universal.” — Wallace Reid
“News of the true nature of Wallace Reid‘s illness came as a great shock to the millions who knew and loved him on the screen. It was known that he was ill and it had been announced he was suffering from ‘kliegeyes,’ a disease affecting the eyes of moving picture stars, subjected to long hours under the glare of powerful Klieg lights, the purple lights used in the sttudios. Then came the truth – like a thunderbolt! ‘Why, Wally Reid? It can’t be!’ was the cry that sped from the Atlantic to the Pacific.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 14, 1923.
“He had been for so long an ideal man – on the screen. He always typified clean, young American manhood, and it seemed to millions that in private life he could only be as he was pictures. His smile was engagingly frank! His eyes were so clear and so straight looking. He was so clean limbed and athletic!” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 14, 1923.
“But, it was true. Rumors were afloat in Los Angeles to the effect that he was a drug addict. They were discounted as having been circulated by malicious gossip. Then came his breakdown and temporary retirement. Came then a more sinister rumor. It was said he had fought off his guards in a private sanitarium and, though weak, had gone to Los Angeles, paid $300 for an ounce of morphine and had engaged in a drug orgy. The rumor was apparently so well substantiated that reporters were sent out to investigate.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 14, 1923.
Silent film star Wallace Reid with son, Wally, and wife, Dorothy Davenport. Their house was located at 8327 DeLongpre, which was razed years ago for the Thunderbird Motel. Today, the Standard Hotel sits on the original property.