100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

First Film Produced By A Performer Released

Helen Gardner was born in September 1884. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and was successful stage actress.

Helen Gardner

Gardner became a Vitagraph Studios player in 1911 and earned critical acclaim for Becky Sharp in VANITY FAIR. In 1912 she became the first film-actor to form her own production company the Helen Gardner Picture Players in Tappan, New York with capital provided by her mother.

On November 13, 1912 the United States Film Company released her first production CLEOPATRA starring Gardner. Directed by Charles L Gaskill (rumored to be Gardner’s lover) the film features lavish sets and costumes and tinting in various hues. At just over an hour, it was considered one of Americas first feature-length film. It made Gardner one of American cinema’s first “vamps”.


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