Billie Rhodes: The Nestor Girl

Billie Rhodes (Levita Axelrod, 1894-1988) started as child performer in vaudeville and melodramas in her native San Francisco. By age 17 she was appearing in films (mostly comedies) for Kalem Studios. Later she worked for Al Christie at Nestor, then at his own studio, and co-starred in the successful “Strand” Comedies with Jay Belasco, cousin of David Belasco. She also made comedy shorts with Joe Rock.


Rhodes was in nearly 200 films between 1913 and 1925. Her last picture was Three Wise Fools (1925) with Tons of Fun. After this she retired to be a nightclub singer and a wife to prolific stage and screen player G. Pat Collins, to whom she was married from 1927 until his death in 1959. Prior to this she was married to screen actor Smiling Billy Parsons (1918-1919) and press agent William H. Jobelman (divorced 1922). Interestingly, right after she retired from the screen, little person Little Billy Rhodes arrived on the scene.

To learn more about vaudeville please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film comedy, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.