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Alice Terry, 88, Actress in Silent Movies, Dies

December 26, 1987

Silent screen actress Alice Terry, who co-starred with such early movie idols as Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Novarro, has died in a Burbank hospital after a lengthy illness. She was 88.

Born Alice F. Taaffe in Vincennes, Ind., Miss Terry made her film debut in 1916, but did not rise to fame until she appeared in a series of movies directed by her husband, director Rex Ingram, in the 1920s. She had dark hair, but often wore a blond wig while performing on screen.

Among her film credits are "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," opposite Valentino in 1921; "The Prisoner of Zenda," 1922; "The Arab," with Novarro, 1924, and "The Garden of Allah" in 1927. In all, she starred in at least 26 feature-length films.

Husband, Louis B. Mayer Feuded

Her career suffered, however, after a move to Europe in 1924, after a rift between her husband and film mogul Louis B. Mayer. It ended when the "talkies" brought an end to the silent film era in the late 1920s.

She retired to the San Fernando Valley in 1932, dabbling in art work.

In 1951, Miss Terry sued Columbia Pictures Corp. for $750,000 over the manner in which she was depicted in a film based on Valentino's life. The movie, Miss Terry complained, suggested that she had "a meretricious and illicit love affair" with Valentino while married to Ingram, who died in 1949.

Settled for 'Substantial' Sum

Miss Terry settled the suit out of court in 1953 for a sum that was described publicly only as "substantial."

Miss Terry in recent years lived with a sister in North Hollywood. After the sister's death three years ago, Miss Terry "pretty much became reclusive," according to a nephew, Robert Taaffe of Manhattan Beach, her only survivor. She died Tuesday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. today at the J. T. Oswald Mortuary in North Hollywood. Burial will be private.

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