Talmadge, Constance (1898–1973)

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Talmadge, Constance (1898–1973)

American silent-film actress. Name variations: "Dutch." Born on April 19, 1898 (also seen as 1897, 1899, and 1900), in Brooklyn, New York; died on November 23, 1973, in Los Angeles, California; youngest daughter of Fred Talmadge and Margaret "Peg" Talmadge; sister of actresses Norma Talmadge (1893–1957) and Natalie Talmadge (1897–1969);married John Pialoglou, also seen as John Pialogiou (a tobacco exporter); married Alistair McIntosh, also seen as Alistair MacIntosh (a captain in Her Majesty's Horse Guards); married Townsend Netcher (a department store tycoon); married Walter "Wally" Giblin (a Wall Street stockbroker; died).

Selected filmography:

Buddy's First Call (1914); The Mysterious Lodger (1914); The Peacemaker (1914); In Bridal Attire (1914); In the Latin Quarter (1914); The Egyptian Mummy (1914); Billy's Wager (1915); The Green Cat (1915); The Master of His House (1915); The Lady of Shalott (1915); The Vanishing Vault (1915); Spades Are Trump (1915); Captivating Mary Carstairs (1915); The Missing Links (1916); The Matrimaniac (1916); Intolerance (1916); Betsy's Burglar (1917); Scandal (1917); The Honeymoon (1917); The Gray Chiffon Veil (1918); The Studio Girl (1918); A Pair of Silk Stockings (1918); A Lady's Name (1918); The Veiled Adventure (1919); The Fall of Babylon (1919); A Temperamental Wife (1919); A Virtuous Vamp (1919); Happiness a la Mode (1919); Two Weeks (1920); In Search of a Sinner (1920); The Love Expert (1920); The Perfect Woman (1920); Dangerous Business (1920); Mama's Affair (1921); Wedding Bells (1921); Lessons in Love (1921); Woman's Place (1921); The Primitive Lover

(1922); Polly of the Follies (1922); East Is West (1922); Dulcy (1923); The Dangerous Maid (1923); The Goldfish (1924); Her Night of Romance (1924); Heart Trouble (1924); Learning to Love (1925); Her Sister from Paris (1925); Sybil (1926); The Duchess of Buffalo (1926); Venus of Venice (1927); Breakfast at Sunrise (1927); Venus (1929).

The daughters of Fred and Peg Talmadge , a spunky, determined stage mother, silent film actresses Norma, Natalie , and Constance Talmadge were primed for the movie camera as soon as it became apparent that they were developing into beauties. The eldest, Norma, and the youngest, Constance, achieved stardom, although they never competed with each other. Norma, dark-haired and elegant, gained renown as the suffering heroine of melodrama, while blonde, athletic Constance (or "Dutch" as she was called) starred in sophisticated comedies. Skillfully managed by producer Joseph M. Schenck, who was married to Norma from 1916 to 1934, the sisters reached the height of their careers during the 1920s, but faded into obscurity with the advent of sound.

Constance entered films in 1914, and for two years played in comedy shorts opposite Billy Quirk. Her break came in 1916 when she was cast as the mischievous Mountain Girl in the Babylonian episode of D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916), a role which further showcased her athleticism and her natural talent for comedy. Around this time, Peg Talmadge convinced her new son-in-law to take over Constance's career as well as Norma's. Schenck subsequently starred Constance in a series of comedies, many of which were written by Anita Loos and John Emerson, including A Virtuous Vamp (1919) and Learning to Love (1925). At the peak of her popularity, Constance made $6,000 a week and established the Constance Talmadge Film Company, which turned out 12 films over a six-year period. Her co-stars included Earle Foxe (Honeymoon, 1917), Ronald Colman (Sybil, 1926), and Chester Conklin (Venus of Venice, 1927). "Each film with Constance was a holiday," said silent actor Harrison Ford, who appeared in ten films with her through 1922. She "has a distinct gift for always keeping comedy on a high, sparkling plane, and she has created a wonderful screen personality." She made pictures for several studios, including Paramount, First National, and Selznick. However, most of her films were made with Joseph M. Schenck, her brother-in-law. Constance, ambivalent about her career from the start, retired from films in 1929 when talkies made their appearance.

Constance Talmadge's four husbands included a wealthy Greek tobacco importer; a British captain in His Majesty's Horse Guards; a department store tycoon; and her last, Walter Giblin, a Wall Street broker who died suddenly in 1964, leaving her a widow. According to Anita Loos, Constance remained on good terms with all of her ex-husbands, frequently hosting dinners for them and their current wives or significant others. In her later years, Constance battled a drinking problem and eventually withdrew to a suite at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where she lived in seclusion. The last of the Talmadge sisters, she died in 1973.


Bawden, Liz-Anne. The Oxford Companion to Film. NY: Oxford University Press, 1976.

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

Lamparski, Richard. Whatever Became of …? NY: Crown, 1967.

Loos, Anita. The Talmadge Girls: A Memoir. NY: Viking, 1978.

Quinlan, David, ed. The Film Lover's Companion. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel, 1997.

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

"Those Three Talmadge Girls!," in Who's Who on the Screen. Edited by Charles Donald Fix and Milton L. Silver. NY: Ross, 1929, pp. 101–104.

Karina L. Kerr , M.A., Ypsilanti, Michigan