Jean Paige

British postcard by Cinema Chat. Photo: Hill / Vitagraph.


Jean Paige (1895-1990) was a silent film actress whose whole career happened at the Vitagraph company. Eventually she married its president.


Jean Paige was born Lucile Beatrice O’Hair on July 3, 1895, in Paris, Illinois and raised on her father’s farm there, developing a love for horses while living there. Paige made twenty-one films in a career which began in 1917 and concluded in 1924, all at the Vitagraph company. Her first screen appearance came in two-reeler features based on O.Henry stories, starting with Blind Man’s Holiday (Martin Justice, 1917). She came to prominence in the Vitagraph film Too Many Crooks (Ralph Ince, 1919). As Charlotte Brown she made a star part out of a bit part. Jean never appeared on stage and had no experience in movies prior to becoming a Vitagraph leading woman. Her role in Too Many Crooks led Vitagraph president Albert E. Smith to elevate her position at the film studio.


Remarkable feature-length films at Vitagraph with Paige starring were a.o. The Darkest Hour (Paul Scardon, 1919), Daring Hearts (Henry Houry, 1919), The Birth of a Soul (Edwin L. Hollywood, 1920), Black Beauty (David Smith, 1921), The Prodigal Judge (Edward José, 1922), and her final film, Captain Blood (uncredited: David Smith, Albert E. Smith, 1924), with J. Warren Kerrigan. Eventually Paige married Smith himself in 1920 – she was his third wife. She stopped acting and they stayed together until his death in 1958. In 1925 Vitagraph was sold to Warner Bros. In 1931 Smith bought the residential apartment building of Chateau Marmont and turned it into a hotel. Jean Paige died in Los Angeles, California on December 15, 1990, at the high age of 95.


Sources: IMDb, English and French Wikipedia.