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Florence Lawrence finds stardom

August 23, 2011
  • Silent Movie actress Florence Lawrence.
Silent Movie actress Florence Lawrence. (Marc Wanamaker, Marc Wanamaker )

How stars were born

Performers were never identified when movies were in their infancy partly because producers thought that if actors became famous, they would ask for more money. But that all changed with Florence Lawrence, a former child star who was first known as "The Biograph Girl" because fans loved the films she made at that studio. When she joined Carl Laemmle's Independent Moving Picture Company of America in 1909, she became the first performer to get "star" billing and the first to make a personal appearance in 1910 in front of throngs of fans in St. Louis. But her career went south in 1914 when she was burned in a stage fire. Lawrence committed suicide in 1938.

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