Rubens, Alma (1897–1931)

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Rubens, Alma (1897–1931)

American actress. Name variations: billed as Alma Reuben or Reubens during early career. Born Alma Smith in San Francisco, California, in 1897; died in 1931; married Franklyn Farnum (an actor), in 1918 (divorced); married Daniel Carson Goodman (a director, producer, author and physician), in 1923 (divorced 1925); married Ricardo Cortez (an actor), in 1926.

Selected filmography:

The Half-Breed (1916); Reggie Mixes In (1916); Intolerance (1916); Truthful Tulliver (1917); The Americano (1917); The Firefly of Tough Luck (1917); I Love You (1918); The Answer (1918); The Love Brokers (1918); Madame Sphinx (1918); The Painted Lily (1918); The Ghost Flower (1918); Restless Souls (1919); Diane of the Green Van (1919); Humoresque (1920); Thoughtless Women (1920); The World and His Wife (1920); Find the Woman (1922); The Valley of Silent Men (1922); Enemies of Women (1923); Under the Red Robe (1923); Gerald Cranston's Lady (1924); Is Love Everything? (1924); The Rejected Woman (1924); Cytherea (1924); Week End Husbands (1924); The Price She Paid (1924); The Dancers (1925); East Lynne (1925); She Wolves (1925); The Winding Stair (1925); A Woman's Faith (1925); Fine Clothes (1925); The Gilded Butterfly(1926); Siberia (1926); Marriage License? (1926); The Heart of Salome (1927); The Masks of the Devil (1928); Show Boat (1929); She Goes to War (1929).

A stunning blonde star of over 40 silent pictures, Alma Rubens died in 1931, age 34, from complications arising from an addiction to heroin. The actress, who had a musical-comedy background, made her first film in 1916 and became a screen regular soon after. She appeared in such well-known films as Intolerance (1916), Humoresque (1920), and an adaptation of Edna Ferber 's Show Boat (1929), in which she played Julie, a character whose life was as tortured as her own.

Actress Eleanor Boardman , who worked on Rubens' last picture, She Goes to War (1929), was aware that something was terribly wrong with Rubens, but unaware of the cause. During the shoot, Rubens would steal clothing from the dressing rooms of other actresses and disappear suddenly from the set. Her tumultuous personal life had included three marriages, the first of which, to actor Franklyn Farnum, lasted about three months. She was later married to Daniel Carson Goodman, a director-producer, and to Ricardo Cortez, an actor-director who had been groomed by Paramount as a possible heir to Rudolph Valentino.


Drew, William M. Speaking of Silents. NY: Vestal Press, 1989.

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. NY: Harper-Collins, 1994.

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