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Aileen Pringle
Pringle in 1926
Aileen Bisbee

(1895-07-23)July 23, 1895
Died December 16, 1989(1989-12-16) (aged 94)
Other names Aileen Savage
Occupation Actress
Years active 1920–1944
Charles McKenzie Pringle
(m. 1916; div. 1926)

James M. Cain
(m. 1944; div. 1946)

Aileen Pringle (born Aileen Bisbee; July 23, 1895 – December 16, 1989) was an American stage and film actress during the silent film era.


Early life

Born into a prominent and wealthy San Francisco family and educated in Europe, Pringle began her acting career shortly after her 1916 marriage to Charles McKenzie Pringle, the son of a wealthy titled British Jamaican landowner and a member of the Privy and Legislative Councils of Jamaica.

Career rise

One of Pringle's first high-profile roles was in the Rudolph Valentino film Stolen Moments (1920). Many of Pringle's early roles were only modestly successful, and she continued to build her career until the early 1920s when she was selected by friend and romance novelist Elinor Glyn to star in the 1924 film adaptation of her novel Three Weeks with matinee idol Conrad Nagel. The role catapulted Pringle into leading-lady status and her career began to build momentum.

Later career

Aileen Pringle cover art from Picture-Play Magazine (March 1926 to August 1926) (page 7 crop)
Aileen Pringle cover art from Picture-Play Magazine, 1926

Pringle's acting career continued throughout the early 1920s, however, she allegedly was disliked by many of her co-workers for her allegedly haughty and dismissive behavior. She was prone to make witty, sometimes caustic, comments on Hollywood and her fellow actors. During a romantic scene in Three Weeks, in which actor Conrad Nagel carried her in his arms to the bedroom, lip readers saw her say: "If you drop me, you bastard, I'll break your neck". Pringle's apparent disdain for her profession began to hurt her career, and by the late 1920s her roles became fewer.

During the late silent and early period of talking pictures, Pringle co-starred in a series of light films with actor Lew Cody, including Adam and Evil (1927), Tea for Three (1927), Wickedness Preferred (1928), The Baby Cyclone (1928), Beau Broadway (1928), A Single Man (1929) and By Appointment Only (1933). Of Pringle’s performance in Adam and Evil, Mourdant Hall in the August 9, 1927 edition of The New York Times wrote, “Evelyn Trevelyn, the Eve of this tale, is alluded to by Ralph Spence is (sic) one of the titles as a “spare rib.” She is impersonated by Aileen Pringle and therefore is an asset to the scenes.”

Portrait of Aileen Pringle, at the Thalia LCCN2004663473
Pringle in 1952, photographed by Carl Van Vechten.

Although disliked by some Hollywood insiders, Aileen Pringle often was dubbed by the press as the "Darling of the Intelligentsia" because of her close friendship with such literary figures as Carl Van Vechten, Joseph Hergesheimer, Rupert Hughes, and H.L. Mencken who became a lifelong friend of the actress. She brokered the meeting of Mencken and Valentino, of which Mencken wrote an account, some weeks after Valentino had died. Mencken does not name her but describes her as "discreet as she is charming." Ralph Barton, American artist, was also a devoted friend and used her as the model for Dorothy in his illustrations for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos. Another admirer was George Gershwin who met her in Hollywood and wrote much of the Second Rhapsody at her Santa Monica, California, home. Her wit, keen intellect and sparkling personality made her a sought-after companion.

After her 1926 divorce from Charles Pringle, Aileen Pringle further focused on her acting career, including Dream of Love (1928) with Joan Crawford and Wall Street (1929) co-starring Ralph Ince, brother of Thomas Ince. However, with the advent of sound film, the studios heavily began promoting a new crop of starlets and Pringle's career faded.

During the sound era, she continued to take small parts in major films and even uncredited roles. In 1944 Pringle married the author James M. Cain, but the union lasted only two years and ended in divorce. By the late 1940s, Pringle retired from the screen and lived a wealthy retirement in New York City, where she died in 1989 at the age of 94.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Aileen Pringle was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6723 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, California.


Year Film Role Notes
1920 The Cost Olivia as Aileen Savage
The Sport of Kings as Aileen Savage
Earthbound as Aileen Savage
Stolen Moments Inez Salles as Aileen Savage
Short film; Extant
1922 Oath-Bound Alice
The Strangers' Banquet Mrs. Schuyler-Peabody
My American Wife Hortensia deVereta Lost film
1923 The Christian Lady Robert Ure Extant
The Tiger's Claw Chameli Brentwood
Souls for Sale Lady Jane Extant (Turner/Warner Brothers)
Don't Marry for Money Edith Martin
In the Palace of the King Princess Eboli Lost film
1924 Name the Man Isabelle
Three Weeks The Queen Extant
True As Steel Mrs. Eva Boutelle fragment
His Hour Tamara Loraine Extant
The Wife of the Centaur Inez Martin Lost film
1925 A Thief in Paradise Rosa Carmino Lost film
One Year to Live Elsa Duchanier
A Kiss in the Dark Janet Livingstone
Wildfire Claire Barrington Extant (Library of Congress)
The Mystic Zara Extant (Turner/Warner Brothers)(Trailer-Library of Congress)
Soul Mates Velma Extant
1926 Camille Estelle Short film
The Wilderness Woman Juneau MacLean Lost
The Great Deception Lois Lost
Tin Gods Janet Stone Lost
1927 Adam and Evil Evelyn Trevelyan Lost
Body and Soul Hilda
Tea for Three Doris Langford Lost
1928 Wickedness Preferred Kitty Dare Lost
Beau Broadway Yvonne Lost
The Baby Cyclone Lydia Lost
Show People Herself Cameo appearance; Extant (Turner/Warner Brothers)
Dream of Love The Duchess Lost film
1929 A Single Man Mary Hazeltine Lost film
Night Parade Paula Vernoff Incomplete (Library of Congress)
Wall Street Ann Tabor
1930 Puttin' On the Ritz Mrs. Teddy Von Rennsler
Prince of Diamonds Eve Marley
Soldiers and Women Brenda Ritchie
1931 Subway Express Dale Tracy
Murder at Midnight Esme Kennedy
Convicted Claire Norville
1932 Police Court Diana McCormick
The Age of Consent Barbara
The Phantom of Crestwood Mrs. Herbert Walcott
1933 By Appointment Only Diane Manners
1934 Love Past Thirty Caroline Burt
Jane Eyre Lady Blanche Ingram
Once to Every Bachelor Judy Bryant
Sons of Steel Enid Chadburne
1935 Vanessa: Her Love Story Herries Servant Uncredited
1936 Wife vs. Secretary Mrs. Anne Barker Uncredited
The Unguarded Hour Diana Roggers
Piccadilly Jim Paducah Pomeroy
Wanted! Jane Turner Norris' Secretary Uncredited
1937 Criminal Lawyer Mrs. Manning Uncredited
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney Maria
John Meade's Woman Mrs. Melton
Thanks for Listening Lulu, Blackmailer Leader
She's No Lady Mrs. Douglas
Nothing Sacred Mrs. Bullock Uncredited
1938 Man-Proof Second Gossipy Woman Uncredited
Too Hot to Handle Mrs. Arthur MacArthur Uncredited
1939 The Hardys Ride High Miss Booth, Dress Saleslady
Calling Dr. Kildare Mrs. Thatcher Uncredited
Should a Girl Marry? Mrs. White
The Women Miss Carter (saleslady) Uncredited
The Night of Nights Dress Saleslady Uncredited
1941 Appointment for Love Nurse Gibbons Uncredited
They Died with Their Boots On Mrs. Sharp Uncredited
1942 Between Us Girls Guest Uncredited
1943 The Youngest Profession Miss Farwood Uncredited
Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case Chaperon Uncredited
Happy Land Mrs. Prentiss Uncredited
1944 Since You Went Away Woman at Cocktail Lounge Uncredited
A Wave, a WAC and a Marine Newswoman
Laura Woman Uncredited

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Aileen Pringle para niños

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