Today we celebrate the lovely Georgia Hale (1905-1985). Today she is almost exclusively known for her role as “Georgia” (very imaginative!) in Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush (1925).
Hale, who had already appeared in Josef Von Sternberg’s The Salvation Hunters, was the friend of Lita Grey. Grey had originally been cast as the female lead in The Gold Rush — until Charlie got her in a family way and had to marry her. Hale was hired to replace her. She was terrific in the The Gold Rush and starred in nearly a dozen other films during the silent era, most notably as Myrtle in the original screen verison of The Great Gatsby (1926). She only made one sound picture, a Rin Tin Tin vehicle called The Lightning Warrior (1931). She was also briefly hired as a replacement for Virgina Cherrill when the latter was giving Chaplin trouble in City Lights, although Chaplin soon reneged and invited Cherrill back.
Georgia Hale’s incomplete memoir Charlie Chaplin: Intimate Close-Ups was published posthumously a few years ago. Despite its title, the book is not very revealing or informative, which is probably why it lay on the shelf so long. Still, it adds a little, if only a very little, to our insight into the times and the people.
Here’s a cool rarity: Hale’s screen test for that role from 1929. (She appears a few minutes in):
To learn more about silent and slapstick film, and performers like Georgia Hale, please out my book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube