Shop by the Stars aisle featuring Priscilla Dean (1896-1987) vintage movie cards, still photos, ephemera, and other collectibles.
A forgotten star with a foggy past, Priscilla Dean is said to have been born to stage parents, though my best effort says she was born Priscilla Fitzpatrick and her mother, May or Mary Preston Dean, described as a stage star of yesteryear, was really a former housewife whose name(s) doesn't appear in any media searches prior to her daughter's fame. In this scenario Manhattan-born Priscilla would celebrate her birthday on September 15. Her studio bio never strays, beginning her professional career on stage at age four with Joseph Jefferson in Rip Van Winkle. She spent a year as a featured player with a Shakespearean repertory company, and then was in the Folies Bergere at age fourteen when discovered by D.W. Griffith. I'm not so sure about any of that, but I do know that Priscilla Dean debuted on film in 1912, was in California by 1916, and was probably first noticed while appearing in 26 one-reel comedies featuring Eddie Lyons and Lee Moran. She appeared a couple of features directed by Lois Weber and then was in the serial The Gray Ghost (1917), which most sources cite as a breakthrough. She was rumored to be engaged to World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in 1918, but didn't marry until 1920 when she wed actor Wheeler Oakman. They appeared in two features together, The Virgin of Stamboul and Outside the Law (both 1920), the latter featuring Dean billed above both Oakman and Lon Chaney. These were also two of the nine films that Dean did for director Tod Browning, a group also including one of her biggest hits, Under Two Flags (1923). She and Oakman split in 1926, and Dean's career began to sputter. She did a handful of shorts for Hal Roach, including Slipping Wives (1927) with Laurel and Hardy, and then disappeared for awhile once talkies came into vogue. In 1929 she married Leslie P. Arnold, another celebrated flier, and they remained together until his death in 1960. Priscilla Dean did appear in a few talkies for Poverty Row studios in 1931-32, before retiring to New Jersey with her husband. She lived to be 91.
Birthday: November 25 (?)