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Grace Darmond
Born 20 November 1898
Toronto, Ontario
Died 8 October 1963
Los Angeles, California
Years active 1915-1929

Grace Darmond (20 November 1898, Toronto - 8 October 1963, Los Angeles) was an American actress from the early 20th century. [1]

Career

Grace Darmond was a silent film actress between 1915 and 1929. [2] She starred in the first Technicolor film, The Gulf Between (1917), alongside actor Niles Welch, which premiered at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. [3]

She was pretty, slender, and starred in many notable films of the period, but never was able to break through as a leading actress in big budget films. Most of her roles were in support of bigger names of the time, and most of her starring roles were smaller, lesser known films. Her breakthrough role came in Below the Surface (1920), in which she starred with Hobart Bosworth and Lloyd Hughes. [4], and that same year she played in A Dangerous Adventure, produced and directed by Warner Brothers. [5] This led to her being cast alongside Boris Karloff in the mystery thriller The Hope Diamond Mystery (1921). [6] In the July edition of Motion Picture Magazine, she was featured in an article by Joan Tully entitled "Mantled with Shyness (A word portrait of Grace Darmond)". [7]

She was, by all accounts, lesbian. Although performing in a substantial number of films over roughly 13 years, she was best known in Hollywood's inner circle as the lesbian lover to actress Jean Acker, the first wife to actor Rudolph Valentino. She was also associated, as many struggling actresses of the day were, with the powerful actress Alla Nazimova, who was the former lover to Acker, although it has never been verified that Nazimova and Darmond were ever linked romantically. She and Acker attended parties at Nazimova's Garden of Allah, an imposing house named punningly after a Robert Smythe Hichens play Nazimova had appeared in.[8]

She and Jean Acker met in 1918, and became lovers shortly thereafter. Acker met relatively unknown actor Rudolph Valentino only a few months later, at a party at Alla Nazimova's home. She and Valentino began dating, but reportedly never had sexual relations. They married in 1919, but on their wedding night, Acker fled the house and ran to Darmond's home, stating that it was her that she loved. [9] The marriage is alleged to have never been consummated, and Acker filed for a legal separation in 1921, and later filed charges of bigamy against Valentino when he married designer Natacha Rambova in Mexico later on. [10]

Darmond and Acker remained lovers through most of the 1920s. Her last most notable film was Wide Open, starring Lionel Belmore and Dick Grace, in 1927. When the advent of talkies came about, Darmond, like so many actresses and actors from the silent film era, was not able to make a successful transition. She ended her acting career, and for the most part disappeared from the public eye until her death in 1963.

The evidence that Grace Darmond was a lesbian and not bisexual is far from conclusive and clearly open to debate and requiring more research as according to IMBD she was twice married. Firstly very briefly to Henry J. Matson - married 16 March 1926 - divorced 18 December 1926 and then to a Randolph N. Jennings in January 1928. Reference: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201472/bio

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