3237: Autographed Photo MABEL NORMAND Chaplin Biograph
This lot includes an original signed celebrity promotional photograph from a private collection that we are selling during this February 11th auction. This is an original photograph and original signature, not an autoprint autograph. Most or all of the photos in this collection are of early silent film stars (1920's – 1930's). Here are the particulars for this photograph:
Celebrity Name: Mabel Normand (1892-1930)
Autograph text: "Sincerely, Mabel Normand"
Dimensions: 8" x 10"
Details/Condition: Mabel Normand was barely in her teens when her family moved to New York. The daughter of a vaudeville musician, she began modeling for artists and photographers including James Montgomery Flagg and Charles Dana Gibson. From modeling, she went into films where her first picture was "Over the Garden Wall" (1910/1). After she left Vitagraph, she started work for the Biograph Studio where she would meet and fall in love with a Biograph actor named Mack Sennett. Her career blossomed under Sennett's direction. In "A Dash Through the Clouds" (1912), she became the first actress to be filmed in an airplane. When Sennett retained the financing to form Keystone Studios in 1912, he left Biograph and so did Mabel. If there was one reason for Keystone's success, it was Mabel. Extremely popular with the public, Mabel would do anything to make her films successful. She would appear in over 100 2-reel films and would also direct films staring Charles Chaplin and Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. Mabel would also write, direct, and star in "Mabel's Married Life" (1914), "Mabel's Busy Day" (1914), and "Caught in a Cabaret" (1914). In 1914, she co-starred with Chaplin and Marie Dressler in "Punctured Romance" which gave her an appetite for features. Sennett finally responded with the film "Mickey," which was started in 1916 and finally released in 1918. It was a smash hit when it came out. In 1918, Mabel left Keystone and signed a five-year contract with Samuel Goldwyn Jr.. She was growing older, her career was at a turning point and began a downward slide as she became addicted to wild all-night parties, alcohol and cocaine. With Goldwyn, she would make 18 feature films, but her working discipline dissolved. She would show up late for filming if she showed up at all. Sennett talked Goldwyn into releasing Mabel and she went back to Keystone. In her personal life, she was in love with Paramount director William Desmond Taylor who valiantly tried to end her drug addiction. On February 1, 1922, at 7:05 pm, Mabel Normand arrived at the door of Taylor's bungalow. She left at about 7:45 pm. Taylor was shot in the chest with a single bullet within a few minutes of her departure. The murder was a huge scandal throughout the country and was never solved, although rumors abound about multiple suspects and multiple motives. The list of suspects included Mabel, who was jealous of his affair with Mary Miles Minter. Also included was Sennett, who still had a relationship with Mabel and may have resented any intrusion by Taylor. Then on New Year's Eve 1923, her chauffeur shot and wounded a wealthy millionaire Courtland Dines with her pistol. The boycotts and the headlines conspired to effectively end her career just as unfavorable publicity had ended the career of Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. She married actor Lew Cody in 1926, but would carry on her partying. In 1929, as her health declined, Mabel entered a sanitarium and remained for six months. She died from tuberculosis at the age of 37.
This is one of two Mabel Normand signed photos we are selling in this auction – also see lot #3231. This photograph is from very early in her career and is in good condition with some creasing and light age/wear, and light marking to the back side. Shipping cost (within the U.S.) for this lot will be: $4.50