by Bruce Campbell Adamson
Birth September 17, 1905 - Pittsburgh, PA
Death March 1, 1979 - California
When Maurice Costello was known as "the handsomest man
on the screen" in what the historians of the films are pleased to call "the
old Biograph days", his small daughter Dolores, then two
or thereabouts, played occasional bits in pictures. But she forsook
the opportunity of growing up in the films thus provided, and
began her official career as a model.
Dolores Costello was a delicate blonde beauty who projected
patrician poise as a lead actress. Dolores and her sister (actress
Helene Costello) began appearing as children in Vitagraph films
that starred their father. As a teenager Costello became a model
for top New York illustrators, then began playing bit roles at
age 17 in East Coast productions. After modeling for James Montgomery
Flagg, Dolores was discovered by the Warner Brothers and has
never left them. While Helene, her sister wandered about the
various Hollywood lots. She and her sister formed a successful dance duet
on the New York stage in the George White Scandals of 1924, leading
to the two of them being signed to film contracts by Warner Brothers.
Her career moved slowly at first, but took off as a sudden star
after her appearance opposite John Barrymore in The Sea Beast
(1926), a romanticized adaptation of Moby Dick; she and Barrymore
were married in 1928.
Photo on left is Dolores Costello (1928) appearing in Noah's
Ark as "Miriam." She married the pagan god, "Jaghut."
Later she is compelled to join in the grest festival which is
to end in her death, as a sacrifice to him.
It was Dolores Costello, by the way, who will go down in the
glorious annals of film history as the first heroine of the talking
pictures, in those pre-historic days before Noah's Ark,
when the talking consisted of five minutes of concentrated loud-speaking
before the final close-up. Note: John Wayne was an extra in Noah's
Ark. Dolores went on to be one of the leading stars of the late
'20s and early '30s, making the transition into the talkies but
retiring from films in 1932 to have two children (one of whom
was future actor John Drew Barrymore.
After she and Barrymore, Sr., split up, she returned to the
screen in mature roles, notably as Freddie Bartholomew's mother
in Little Lord Fauntelroy (1936) and as Isabel Amberson, Tim
Holt's mother and Joseph Cotten's love, in Orson Welles' The
Magnificent Ambersons(1942). She retired from the screen permanently
in 1943. Photo to the Right is Dolores and her sister Helene
Costello. Photo to Left is
their dad silent film star Maurice Costello.
Before there were The Stooges in 1933 Hal Adamson
wrote his first songs for the film industry in which Fred
Astaire made his film debute in Dancing Lady. The Stooges
also acted in this film. Yet they were not known as the three
stooges. And in fact in the Dancing Lady there were Four Stooges
including Ted Healy. Altogether there were Six Stooges.
Thanks to Dolores' father it was Maurice Costello who
introduced Moe Howard into acting. Determined to get into
movies, Moe (then going by his middle name, Harry) went to the
Brooklyn-based American Vitagraph studios in May, 1909, and volunteered
to run errands for the stars and crews without charging for the
service. This impressed Maurice Costello, who brought Moe inside
and introduced him to the company. Soon, he was appearing in
dramas with Costello and comedies with John Bunny and Flora Finch.
At first, he didn't tell his family about his movie work. But,
when they thought he was losing his mind because he was acting
like his characters at home, he told them about his extracurricular
activities. Most of his films from this period were lost when
the Vitagraph film library burned on 2 July 1910.
HERE FOR Helene Costello Biography and Films.
HERE FOR Maurice Costello Biography and Films.
CLICK HERE FOR COSTELLO
CLICK HERE FOR SECOND COSTELLO
CLICK HERE FOR THIRD DOLORES
COSTELLO Photo Gallery.
CLICK HERE FOR FOURTH DOLORES
COSTELLO Photo Gallery.
CLICK HERE FOR FIFTH DOLORES
COSTELLO Movie Photo Gallery.
CLICK HERE FOR SIXTH DOLORES
COSTELLO Movie Photo Gallery.
CLICK HERE FOR SEVENTH
DOLORES COSTELLO Movie Photo Gallery.
FILMS OF DOLORES COSTELLO
- 1943 This Is the Army Actor: Mrs. Davidson
- 1942 The Magnificent Ambersons Actor: Isabel Amberson Minafer
- 1939 King of the Turf Actor: Mrs. Barnes
- 1939 Whispering Enemies Actor: Laura Crandall
- 1939 Outside These Walls Actor: Margaret Bronson
- 1938 Breaking the Ice Actor: Martha Martin
- 1938 Beloved Brat aka A Dangerous Age Actor: Helen Cosgrove
- 1936 Little Lord Fauntleroy : "Dearest," Mrs. Errol
- 1936 Yours for the Asking Lucille Sutton
- 1931 Expensive Women Actor: Constance Newton
- 1930 Second Choice Actor: Vallery Grove
- 1929 The Madonna of Avenue A Actor: Maria Morton
- 1929 The Redeeming Sin Actor: Joan Billaire
- 1929 Show of Shows Actor: Sister Act #1
- 1929 The Glad Rag Doll Actor: Annabel Lee
- 1929 Hearts in Exile Actor: Vera Zvanova
- 1928 Glorious Betsy Actor: Betsy Patterson
- 1928 Tenderloin Actor: Rose Shannon
- 1928 Lights of Paris Actor
- 1928 Noah's Ark aka Noah's Ark - The Story Of The Deluge
- 1927 College Widow Actor: Jane Witherspoon
- 1927 When a Man Loves Actor: Manon Lescaut
- 1927 The Heart of Maryland Actor: Maryland Calvert
- 1927 Old San Francisco Actor: Dolores
Vasquez - A favoite
- 1927 Million Bid Actor: Dorothy Gordon
- 1926 The Little Irish Girl Actor: Dot Walker
- 1926 Bride of the Storm Actor: Faith Fitzhugh
- 1926 The Third Degree Actor: Annie Daly
- 1926 Mannequin Actor: Joan Herrick
- 1926 The Sea Beast Actor: Esther Harper
- 1925 Greater Than a Crown Actor /Princess of Lividia
- 1925 Bobbed Hair Actor: Bit Part
- 1923 Lawful Larceny Actor: Nora, the Maid
- 1923 Glimpses of the Moon Actor: Bit Part
- 1912 The Troublesome Step-Daughters Actor
- 1911 The Geranium Actor
- 1911 The Child Crusoes Actor