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Stewart, Anita (1895–1961)

American silent film actress who headed her own production company, with Louis B. Mayer as her production executive. Name variations: Anna Stewart. Born Anna Stewart in Brooklyn, New York, on February 7,1895; died in 1961; sister-in-law of director-actor Ralph Ince; sister of silent film actor George Stewart.

Selected filmography:

Her Choice (1912); The Godmother (1912); The Wood Violet (1912); The Song of the Shell (1912); The Moulding (1913); Two's Company Three's A Crowd (1913); The Song Bird of the North (1913); Sweet Deception (1913); The Swan Girl (1913); The Wreck (1913); A Million Bid (1914); Shadows of the Past (1914); Wife Wanted (1914); The Painted World (1914); Lincoln the Lover (1914); The Sins of the Mothers (1915); The Juggernaut (1915); The Goddess (serial, 1915); My Lady's Slipper (1916); The Suspect (1916); The Daring of Diana (1916); The Combat (1916); The Girl Philippa (1917); The Glory of Yolanda (1917); The Message of the Mouse (1917); Virtuous Wives (1918); A Midnight Romance (1919); Mary Regan (1919); Her Kingdom of Dreams (1919); The Mind-the-Paint Girl (1919); In Old Kentucky (1919); The Fighting Shepherdess (1920); The Yellow Typhoon (1920); Playthings of Destiny (1921); The Invisible Fear (1921); Sowing the Wind (1921); Her Mad Bargain (1921); A Question of Honor (1922); Rose o' the Sea (1922); The Woman He Married (1922); The Love Piker (1923); The Great White Way (1924); The Boomerang (1925); Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925); Rustling for Cupid (1926); The Prince of Pilsen (1926); Wild Geese (1927); Romance of a Rogue (1928); Name the Woman (1928); Sisters of Eve (1928).

Anita Stewart was born in Brooklyn in 1895 and began her acting career in 1911, when she joined Vitagraph films. She eventually became one of the company's major silent screen stars, appearing in dozens of films for Vitagraph. Often billed by her given name, Anna Stewart, early in her career, she was usually paired on screen with actor Earle Williams. Stewart became the focus of a landmark lawsuit in actor-studio relations when Vitagraph sued her for breach of contract. The studio had taken exception to Stewart signing with Louis B. Mayer in 1917 before the expiration of her Vitagraph contract, and the court ruled in Vitagraph's favor. Stewart retained her star status until the introduction of talking films, at which point she retired from acting to assume control of her own production company for a time, with Mayer as her production executive. In addition to her film performances, she wrote the novel The Devil's Toy; she died in 1961, age 66.

sources:

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. 3rd ed. NY: HarperCollins, 1998.

Slide, Anthony. Silent Portraits: Stars of the Silent Screen in Historic Photographs. Vestal, NY: Vestal Press, 1989.

B. Kimberly Taylor , freelance writer, New York, New York

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