Stars of Slapstick #32: Kathryn McGuire
This is one in a series of posts we are producing in connection with our new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, available from Bear Manor Media in February 2013.
Today is the birthday of Kathryn McGuire (1903-1978). A dancer by training, she studied seriously both in her native Illinois and in Hollywood when her family moved there in 1917. In 1919 she was hired as a Sennett Girl, and within two years she had moved up to lead roles in shorts. In 1922 she was selected to be one of the initial WAMPAS “Baby Stars”, 13 young ladies selected by the Western Association of Motion Piction Advertisers as future stars. In 1924, this projection came true when she was cast by Buster Keaton to be his leading lady in both Sherlock Jr and The Navigator. In subsequent years she would work at Educational and Christie comedy studios among others, supporting the likes of Lupino Lane, Dorothy Devore and Charlie Bowers. By the end of the twenties she had married and retired from pictures.
Here she is in the hilarious closing scene of Sherlock, Jr.:
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.