Alice Terry Ingram

Alice Terry Ingram

Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana, USA
Death 22 Dec 1987 (aged 87)
Burbank, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Block D, Section 3347, Lot 5
Memorial ID 6272 · View Source
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Actress. At the age of fifteen, her family moved from Indiana to Los Angeles and wound up living in the same building as Enid Markey, a minor star of the time. Markey urged young Alice to try to get a job at Thomas Ince's studio Inceville. She did some work in film editing and bit acting roles, but nothing really panned out till she met the up-and-coming director Rex Ingram. Some sources give the date of their first meeting as 1916; others place it as 1917. Alice herself said it happened in 1917, when she was working as an extra in a movie that was probably 'Humdrum Brown.' Shortly after this meeting, Ingram went to Canada to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps. After World War I ended, they met again when he asked her to pose for a sculpture for him (he had already studied sculpture in his native Ireland and at school in his adopted home the United States, and was very proficient at the craft). He had come home from the war quite ill and out of work, and was sculpting to make his living. Shortly afterward, Ingram was hired by Metro Studios, and some months later she was called to the studio to be an extra in a picture he was directing. From the very beginning they were deeply drawn to one another, both romantically and professionally. She had poor confidence in her acting ability, however, and reluctantly agreed to take the lead role in his 1920 film 'Hearts Are Trumps,' which proved to be her breakthrough role. She was very surprised by how well the picture did and how much confidence he had in her ability to carry the picture. This film also proved to be another major turning point for her—when she was applying her makeup, she picked up a nearby blonde wig and put it on as a joke. Ingram happened to walk by at that moment, and insisted she wear it in the film. She was reluctant to do so, but changed her mind after seeing the rushes and how drastically different she looked with the wig. She wore the blonde wig in all of her subsequent films. From this point on she was frequently cast as the leading lady in his films, among them 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' (1921), 'The Conquering Power' (1921), 'Scaramouche' (1923), 'Mare Nostrum' (1926), and 'The Three Passions' (1928). In 1921 they became engaged, and got married secretly during a break in the filming of 'The Prisoner of Zenda' on November 5 of that year. They were married on a Saturday, and saw three movies the next day; by Monday they were back at work. After the film was finished, they went to San Francisco on their honeymoon. In 1925 they moved to Nice, France, where Ingram was able to make films his own way instead of feeling his artistic integrity and vision were being compromised and ignored by the studio system. However, she did return to the U.S. in 1927 to co-star in 'Lovers' with Ramon Novarro, who had been her leading man in a number of other previous films. Novarro always considered her to be his favorite leading lady, and was a lifelong close personal friend of hers off-camera as well. Her acting was often described with the dismissive adjective "adequate," but she also got a lot of good reviews, even if she might not have been one of the top female stars of the silent era. She retired from the screen at the advent of sound, and her husband retired from the screen as well after making only one sound picture, 'Baroud' (1932), in which she played a minor role. In 1934 they left Nice for Cairo, but she shortly afterwards went back to California to be with her family. She and her husband didn't see one another for two years; during this time he was traveling around North Africa and writing a novel. When they reunited, they took up residence in the San Fernando Valley. Now that she was retired from acting, she also had the chance to return to her normal figure. Before all of her movies, she had had to go on strict diets so she would be thin for the picture, but now that she no longer had that concern, she stopped curtailing her eating habits and let herself remain at a more curvy voluptuous full-sized figure. At the relatively young age of fifty-one, she became a widow when her husband passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage after having been noticably ill for the last few years. She never remarried and continued to live in their house in San Fernando, along with her older sister Edna. A year after losing her husband, she was involved in a lawsuit with Columbia Pictures. They had recently released a film purported to be based on the life of Rudolph Valentino, who had been her leading man in 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' and 'The Conquering Power,' as well as a friend of hers off-camera. She was quite upset that this film "falsely portrayed a clandestine relationship between Valentino and Terry." She won her lawsuit when Columbia settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. The remaining decades of her retirement were more peaceful and uneventful. She died of pneumonia at the age of eighty-eight. Today only twelve of her starring films are known to survive; six are available on home video and the other six are only available in various archives and museums.

Bio by: Carrie-Anne

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 Aug 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6272
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Alice Terry Ingram (24 Jul 1900–22 Dec 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6272, citing Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .