Silent Film Stars

June Elvidge – photos and quotes

“I am a fatalist, you know. Perhaps that is why I never worry about anything. You may wish with all your might and main to be an aviator but if fate says that you have to be a tailor or a baker, why you might as well go ahead and be a good one, for that you will have to be. You see, it was no decreed that I should be a piano teacher or a choir singer, although I was afraid I was going to have to fill one of those niches, in the early days before I even heard of motion pictures.”June Elvidge

Source: Harriette Underhill (1917)

 

June Elvidge“The first five dollars I ever earned for singing at a funeral and it looked so big to me that I wondered what I should spend it for. Yes, it is true, I was a wife, a mother and a widow before I was 20 years old. Until that time, my life had been very quiet. I had few clothes, and it never seemed to any difference to me until one day I read something of the money that moving picture made, and I decided to try it. How true it is that ‘Fools rush in’ and so forth. I knew so little about it that I fancied it would be easy. Well, to New York I came to seek my fortune. I knew just one person in this town. and to him I went for advice, telling him that I intended to devote the remainder of my life to making pictures. Oh the glorious egotism! I did not say ‘hoped to’ or ‘wished to’ but ‘intended to.’ This man knew a man who was a friend of Jake Shubert, so next day I duly presented myself, armed with colossal assurance and a letter of introduction. ‘Well, what can you do?’ Mr. Shubert asked, as he looked me over with an appraising eye. I think I said that I could play the piano and lead the choir or words to that effect, for he said sternly, ‘Take off your coat.’ Horrors! So the dreadful things I had heard of theatrical managers were true. But I needed the money so badly that I resolved to make this last concession. I took off my coat, and all he said was, ‘You can go to work as a show girl in the Winter Garden tomorrow if you like. Now how much money do you expect to get?’ I thought quickly. I needed money, that was certain, but I feared to make it prohibitive and so, with finger on his pulse, figuratively speaking, I murmured, ‘Eighteen dollars,’ abashed at my own temerity. Mr. Shubert laughed and said he would give me 30 to sart, and do you know, within six months I was making $150 a week. I think the virus must have injected into my veins that first week I lived in the Metropolis, for I remember that my first pay envelope was emptied to buy a new hat. When I earned $150 a week, I spent $100 for clothes. I was like a child suddenly let loose in a vast garden of toys. I liked whatever I looked at, and my looks went everywhere.”June Elvidge

Source: Harriette Underhill (1917)

 

June Elvidge“My entrance into pictures was an accident, too. I visited the World Studio one day with a friend, and they asked me if I would care to have a test made. I said that I should if it was not painful, and I never saw nor heard again of any test. What I did see, was Mr. World, himself, offering me a contract to sign, and the stipulated stipend made me gasp. But even this vast sum I managed very nicely, and soon I found that having your income doubled over night does not necessarily mean you need have any uneasiness about being able to dispose of it. It was fortunate at the time that I had to work as hard as I did; otherwise, I should have had more time for shopping and in that case, I probably would have spent more than I made. I have no head for figures. I’m like the woman who wouldn’t believe that she had overdrawn her account because she had so many unused checks.”June Elvidge

Source: Harriette Underhill (1917)

 

June Elvidge 1917“‘The Lure of Woman’ was my first picture. It sounds lurid, doesn’t it? Of course, my first part was small, for my greatest asset was my voice and that never was of any particular value to one wishing to win laurels on the screen. So really, all I had was an unflinching determination to get there.”June Elvidge

Source: Harriette Underhill (1917)

 

June Elvidge

“People like to look at you once. Then they want to see what you can do. For two years now, I have been making pictures….Oh, what a joy are motion pictures! In one of my recent ones, I wore 22 different frocks, hats and sets of furs, and selecting them was one of the most pleasurable things I ever did. I eased my conscious by saying ‘Of course I need these things in my work. It is not for self-gratification that I buy them but merely because my art demands it’….Who could find it hard work changing from one glorious creation to another? From nine o’clock until six is not a bit too long for me. Of course, you can’t wear a gown more than once, on the screen, and you can’t wear it in public, for everyone will recognize it if you do; so I have mine all made over. My evening clothes are reversible and my frocks are ripped up and fashioned over again.”June Elvidge

Source: Harriette Underhill (1917)

 

June Elvidge Fashion“No, they don’t approve of me at all back home – back home being a suburb of Pittsburgh; but it is difficult to persuade a person who wears $500 gowns that she would be just as happy if she had only $100 a year to spend on her wardrobe. Mother’s favorite saying used to be ‘train up your children in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it,’ but now I think she leaves out the ‘not.'”June Elvidge

Source: Harriette Underhill (1917)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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