Mary Miles Minter
Mary Miles Minter was an American film actress of the silent film era.
Born Juliet Reilly in Shreveport, Louisiana, Minter was the daughter of Broadway actress Charlotte Shelby. At the age of five, she accompanied older sister Margaret on an audition only because no baby sitter was available, was noticed by the director and given her first part. After this she was frequently employed, widely noted for both her talent and visual appeal. In 1912, to avoid child labour laws in Chicago while her 10 year-old daughter was appearing in a play, Shelby obtained the birth certificate of a cousin and changed Juliet’s name to Mary Miles Minter. She made her first feature film in 1915 at the age of 13, after which her career steadily grew.
Minter specialised in playing demure young women. With her photogenic “registration”, even features, “periwinkle blue eyes” and curly hair, she emulated and later rivaled Mary Pickford.
Her first film for director William Desmond Taylor was Anne of Green Gables in 1919. The picture was well-received and Taylor actively promoted Minter as a star. A romantic relationship developed between them, which she later described as “a beautiful white flame.” However, according to Minter, Taylor had reservations from the outset and later curtailed the romance, citing the thirty-year difference in their ages.