Norma Talmadge talks

CELEBRITY FIRST PERSON

An autobiography by Norma Talmadge

 

 

 

This following article appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1917.  

 

By Norma Talmadge

 

I am 20 years of age and therefore much too young to write an autobiography. However, my short life has been a stage of many interesting, and, I might well say, happy occurrences, and of these I am quite willing to make you my confidant.

 

I was born at Niagara Falls, where I spent the first ten years of my childhood amid most pleasant scenes. Indeed, when I am in a pensive mood my earliest and fondest recollections go back to the days I spent at the most beautiful spot in the whole world, the objective of all globe-trotters, the origin of the slogan, “See America First.”

 

Through force of circumstances our family moved to New York City. The contrast between Niagara Falls and the noisy city was indeed great. But as time wore on I soon grew to like my new home almost as well as my old one.

 

At school, one of those little private schools where men are barred from the premises, I had great fun. Pillow fights, night parties, secret smuggling of love letters and private theatricals. These were but a few of the many happy events of my boarding school days.

 

How I chose motion pictures as a profession is still a wonder to me. If I remember correctly, the nucleus of my ardent desire was formed at a show six years ago, when I was impressed by a picture I saw that I made up my mind to apply for a job the very next day. Accordingly, bright and early Saturday morning – you see I even remember the day – I was up just as determined as the night before.

 

I was literally jostled onto the screen, for when I reached the studio numerous stage hands were vigorously shifting scenery and I was caught in a whirlpool of white-overalled humanity and scenic flats, with their backgrounds of gorgeous ornamentations embracing interior sets, and pushed into the heart of studio activity.

 

I was only a little girl then and therefore had to put on a long skirt to make me look older, and I was so excited I got all tangled up in its folds.

 

But I felt quite at ease when a woman scenario writer was so kind as to notice me and help me get an extra part. They seemed to like me, for I was put in stock at once at a salary of $25 per week.

 

Since then I have made several important advances which have finally terminated in what I consider my greatest achievement – my marriage to Joseph M. Schenck and the formation of my own producing company.

 

Check out the new Norma Talmadge DVD release from KinoThe Norma Talmadge Collection featuring Kiki (1926) and Within the Law (1923). Click here for more information.

 

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3 Responses to “Norma Talmadge talks”

  1. Every time she told that story it was different!
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    Hi Greta, I kind of suspected that. I noticed that most bios have her being born in New Jersey. Do you know which is correct?

  2. Married to Schenck and running her own production company, I knew about that, but by the age of 20? I had no idea about that.
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    She married Schenck the year before this article so he wasted no time in getting her set up. I believe he helped with investments, etc., even after their divorce.

  3. Yes, Jersey City, May 2, 1894. You were right about May 2, that was the secret to shaking loose the birth certificate!

    So, yeah, she wasn’t 20

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