Today is the 104th birthday of Rebecca Isabella “Carla” Laemmle (b. 1909), and she lives to celebrate it! The niece of Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle, she appeared in a small number of late silent and early talking pictures, usually as an uncredited extra. In recent years she has become the sole surviving person who who worked on any of her films and has been in great demand as a talking head in documentaries and DVD extra features…and even a handful of recent acting roles! (The first leg of her career ended in 1939). She appeared in two great horror classics: The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and Dracula (1931); a couple of silent adaptations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and some important early movie musicals: The Broadway Melody (1929), The Hollywood Revue of 1929, and The King of Jazz (1930), and a few other features as well.
To find out more about early cinema history don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc