(February 17, 1906 – December 30, 2002) was an American actress and movie star
who made the transition from 'silents
' to 'talkies
She was born Louise Byrdie Dantzler
, the daughter of Taurrence J. Dantzler (December 1869 – March 18, 1906) and Louise B. (August 12, 1876 – April 3, 1973). Her brother was Taurrence J. Dantzler, Jr. (August 9, 1903 – April 6, 1973).
Her father died when she was one month old and the family later moved to Dallas
. In the early 1920s, they moved to Long Beach
. She had intended becoming an illustrator but that was laid aside when at age 16 she was discovered in a local bathing beauty contest
. One of the judges was famous motion picture star Esther Ralston
(who was to play her mother in the upcoming Peter Pan and who became a lifelong friend).
She didn't win the $25 prize in the contest but Ralston said, "you've got to give the little girl something." So, her prize was to be interviewed by director Herbert Brenon for a role in Peter Pan. Brenon was recovering from eye surgery, and she spoke with him in a dimly lit room. "He asked me a few questions, Is that your hair? Out of the blue, he said, I would like to make a test. Even to this day, I will never know why I was that lucky. They had made tests of every ingénue in the business for Wendy. He had decided he would go with an unknown. It would seem more like a fairy tale. It wouldn't seem right... Read More