Esther Ralston

Actor, Vaudevillian, Business executive
Likable blonde silent screen actress, dubbed "the American Venus" by Florenz Ziegfeld after she starred as an aspiring Miss America contestant in a 1926 film of that name. Practically raised onstage by a family of ... Read more »
Born: 09/16/1902 in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA

Filmography

Actor (27)

Slander House 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

We're in the Legion Now 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Marines Are Coming 1933 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Kiss For Cinderella 1925 (Movie)

(Actor)

Peter Pan 1923 (Movie)

(Actor)

Oliver Twist 1921 (Movie)

(Actor)

By Candlelight (Movie)

Baroness von Ballin (Actor)

Children of Divorce (Movie)

Jean Waddington (Actor)

Daring Danger (Movie)

(Actor)

Fashions for Women (Movie)

Celeste de Givray and Lola Dauvry (Actor)

For Husbands Only (Movie)

Bit Part (Actor)

Jungle Menace (Movie)

Valerie (Actor)

Ladies Crave Excitement (Movie)

Miss Winkler (Actor)

Old Ironsides (Movie)

Esther (Actor)

Railroaded (Movie)

Joan Dunster (Actor)

Sadie McKee (Movie)

Dolly (Actor)

San Francisco Docks (Movie)

Frances March (Actor)

Strange Wives (Movie)

Olga (Actor)

Streamline Express (Movie)

Elaine Vinson (Actor)

The American Venus (Movie)

Mary Gray (Actor)

The Blind Goddess (Movie)

Moira Devens (Actor)

The Deep Purple (Movie)

(Actor)

The Marriage Circle (Movie)

Miss Hofer (Actor)

The Quarterback (Movie)

Louise Mason (Actor)

The Spy Ring (Movie)

Jean Bruce (Actor)

Tin Pan Alley (Movie)

Nora Bayes (Actor)

What Do Men Want? (Movie)

(Actor)

Biography

Likable blonde silent screen actress, dubbed "the American Venus" by Florenz Ziegfeld after she starred as an aspiring Miss America contestant in a 1926 film of that name. Practically raised onstage by a family of vaudevillians, Ralston began in bit parts in films as a teenager, and worked primarily with Paramount and MGM during the 1920s. Ralston's films often found her playing wholesome, glamorous yet playful roles and include a charming version of "Peter Pan" (1925) in which she played Mrs. Darling in support of star Betty Bronson, the lively comedy "Beggar on Horseback" (1925), "Half a Bride" (1928), in which she played opposite Gary Cooper, and "The Case of Lena Smith" (1929) directed by the formidable Joseph von Sternberg.

At one point in the mid-1920s Ralston was one of Hollywood's highest-paid stars, but her career gradually petered out with the coming of sound. She did, however, play intermittent supporting roles (as in the highly enjoyable mystery "Mr. Dynamite" 1935) until the early 1940s. Ralston later worked as an executive at a talent agency and for an electric company, and did occasional TV work (e.g. a leading role as the mother of "Our Five Daughters" 1962). Ralston was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild and in her later years proved a very lively interviewee on TV specials and documentaries on the past glories of American film.

Relationships

Mary Baxter

Daughter
survived her

Van Heflin Actor

Husband

Ted Lloyd

Son
survived her

Carleton Ralston

Brother
survived her

Howard Ralston

Brother
born July 25, 1904, died June 1, 1992 appeared in such silent films as "Pollyanna" (1919) formed the Ralston Players in the late 1920s

Judy Richmond

Daughter
survived her

Milestones

1962

Returned to acting when she played Helen Lee on NBC-TV's serial drama, "Our Five Daughters"

1940

Retired from films

1933

Last leading roles included work in the film, "Black Beauty"

1932

Stardom fading; went to England to play prominent roles in "Rome Express" and "After the Ball"

1929

Played title role in "The Case of Lena Smith"; reported to be her favorite part

1926

Starred in the film, "The American Venus", which led to her acquiring that nickname; film reportedly no longer extant

1924

Cast as Mrs. Darling in a silent film version of "Peter Pan"

1921

Played a small role in Charles Chaplin's "The Kid", opposite Chaplin and Jackie Coogan

1916

Moved to Hollywood with her parents; made screen debut at age 14; earliest films include "Phantom Fortunes"

1904

Joined family's theatrical troupe at age 2; act known as the "Ralston Family Metropolitan Entertainers with Baby Esther" (date approximate)

Was at the peak of her fame in the mid to late 1920s

Played primarily supporting roles for the rest of her film career

Performed in radio soap operas

Worked in a department store; later held executive positions with a talent agency and with an electric company located in upstate New York

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