The following article, titled About Me and written by Canadian-born actress Marie Prevost, was published in the second issue of Pantomime magazine on October 5, 1921. The Northernstars Collection was able to acquire a gently worn but complete copy of that issue. The weekly magazine was published by Movie Topics Inc. in New York and had a subscription price of $5.00 a year.
We needed to make some decisions before republishing the article. For example, there were a few spelling mistakes, most notably her hometown was printed as “Sarnina, Canda” and we felt those mistakes should be changed. There are far too many commas, which in some cases makes the reading of this short piece a little difficult, but the decision was to leave the punctuation as it was published since it is, in a way, a direct connection to Prevost’s voice. Finally, the original piece, published in two columns, was printed without images, just Prevost’s signature at the bottom of the piece. We have decided to run it in a single column, and reproduce her signature at the bottom. On a separate page we have reproduced what the original article, published on the inside front cover looked like. Obviously there were no links to other content in the original publication but we have added links where appropriate.
I feel terribly aged, and dignified, sitting down like this to write an autobiography for you. And really I’m neither. I never was very dignified, and don’t expect or want to be for years and years to come.
And I’m not old, either. At least, not very. I wont be out of my ‘teens until my next birthday. Then I’ll be just exactly twenty.
That probably is going to be rather hard for you to believe. I know you’ll think you’ve been seeing me – usually most all of me, too – for ages and ages. It`s quite true too. I’ve been doing pictures for nearly five years. But I was just barely fifteen when I started.
I suppose I’d better start at the beginning. Very well, then, I was born in Sarnia, Canada. Folks who live there say it`s a city, but New Yorkers wouldn’t. My dad was a physician. My mother was just my mother, and his wife.
I can’t remember when I didn’t know how to swim and hunt and fish. Dad was my instructor, and I guess my teaching in all three of those sports began about the time I learned how to walk.
To be perfectly frank, I guess I was always more or less a tom-boy. I remember it used to worry my mother. “Marie,” she’d say, “you simply must remember you’re a little girl.
When I was fourteen they sent me to a fashionable girl`s school in California. I’m afraid I wasn’t a very good scholar. For one thing, I was beginning to like boys a little. For another, there was the most wonderful beach – and when the sound of the surf began pounding in my ears, I just couldn’t put my mind of those terrible mathematics and things. So I used to pretend I had headaches, get excused from classes, and sneak away to the water. Certainly I wore one piece bathing suits – they’re the only kind fit to swim in.
Incidentally, it was my bathing suit that put me in the movies. And here`s a tip for girls with pretty figures! All the big companies, it seems, have or used to have (one can’t tell what`s what in this day of censors), regular bathing girl scouts, just like the scouts for baseball teams. Their sole business in life was to lounge about beaches, and pick out girls with nice looking figures, and not too homely faces.
One day, one of these scouts approached me, and asked me how I’d like to go in the movies. The proposition literally took my breath away. I’d never thought of myself as being particularly pretty, or shapely, or anything else. Besides I was very sure that the thought of her angel daughter in the movies would just about make my mother have a conniption fit.
But the scout was a smooth talker – and, to say the truth, he didn’t have to urge very hard. What average girl of today would turn down such a chance? So I signed up with Mack Sennett.
After that for more than four years, during working hours, hidden charms were not for me. I had to show mine. I didn’t like it, so much, either. Remember, I’m a girl, and I really and truly am just as modest as the next one.
Anyhow, it`s over now, thank goodness. I’ve left Mr. Sennett, and the bathing girls forever. I’ve signed a contract with Universal, and I’m going to do – what do you think? Society roles! Yes! Honestly! Hereafter you’ll only see me in long sweeping gowns, and frilly girlish things.
The only trouble is, they insist on casting me in the role of a baby vamp – and I want to play a clinging vine type. At least once.
Of course you know what I look like. If you haven’t seen me on screen, the picture on the other side of this cover (it`s just an art pose, done especially for Pantomime, by the way) would show you, very thoroughly. But since pictures don’t show colors, I’ll tell you that my hair is brown, my eyes are either just plain dark blue, or lovely violet, according to how well you like me. I look tall, in the picture, but in reality, I’m only five feet two inches. I weigh 118 pounds.
When I’m not making pictures, I like to swim, or hunt, or fish, or play golf or tennis. I can ride most any horse, and I drive a car pretty well – for a girl. I can also do a little ice skating and I’ve even tried to play baseball, although the boys told me I was “punk.”
I have two big ambitions. One to convince the public I’m something more than just a bathing girl – a real actress. After that I want to get married and raise some tom-boys, mebbe, of my own.
Also see: Marie Prevost’s Filmography
The images on this page were scanned from originals in the The Northernstars Collection.