Wednesday, November 17, 2010

‘Baby’ Marie Osborne in San Francisco

The film world is mourning the loss of one of its earliest and oldest film stars. Child star ‘Baby’ Marie Osborne, whose career dated to the silent film era, passed away in Southern California on November 11 at the age of 99.

(more at both and the New York Times)

The pint sized star made at least two personal appearances in San Francisco. At the Hippodrome Theater in 1919, Osborne made a personal appearance in support of her then recent release, The Old Maid’s Baby. She spoke from the stage, and the event was reported in the local press.

‘Baby’ Marie Osborne seems to have been a favorite of the old Hippodrome. Many of her films were screened there during the peak of her popularity, from 1914-1919.

Osborne, then about 11 years old and largely retired from acting, came to town once more in 1922. Osborne, along with numerous other films stars, came to San Francisco in support of Viola Dana and the release of her then new film, The 14th Lover, which was being screened at Loew's Warfield.

Along with ‘Baby’ Marie Osborne, also expected to attend this special happening were Billie Dove (then billed as Lillian Dove), Estelle Taylor (who would become Mrs. Jack Dempsey), Bebe Daniels, Mary Miles Minter, Thomas Meighan, Jack Mulhall, Lois Wilson, Ruth Roland, Fred Niblo, Clara Kimball Young, Hobart Bosworth, Conrad Nagel, May McAvoy, Enid Bennett, Shirley Mason, and others. 

Do notice the ticket prices (22, 36, or 13 cents plus tax), and that it's stated that smoking was permitted. Times do change.

At the height (so to speak) of her career, this tiny child actress was referred to as a “Baby Bernhardt” in the pages of the Oakland Tribune. And the San Francisco Chronicle referred to her best known film, Little Mary Sunshine (1916), which was, directed by Henry King, as “one of the sweetest child pictures ever filmed.”

A bit more about the actress can be found on Google books.


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  2. The NPR story can be heard at