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Mildred Harris's Geni Profile

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Mildred Harris

Birthplace: Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, United States
Death: Died in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Cause of death: pneumonia
Place of Burial: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Harry Harris and Anna Parsons Foote
Wife of Bill Fleckenstein
Ex-wife of Charlie Chaplin and Everett Terrence McGovern
Mother of Norman (Little Mouse) Spencer Chaplin and <private> McGovern

Occupation: Film actress
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Mildred Harris

Popular child actress Mildred Harris began her career at the age eleven. At the age of fifteen, she was cast as a harem girl in D. W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916). She appeared as a leading lady through the 1920s but her career slowed with the advent of the "talkies". She was critically praised for No, No Nanette in 1930, had a few bit parts in the early 1940s, and made her last appearance in the posthumously released Having A Wonderful Crime of 1945. Harris has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6307 Hollywood Blvd.

She was born on November 29, 1901 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Harris made her first screen appearance at the age of eleven in the 1912 Francis Ford and Thomas H. Ince-directed Western short The Post Telegrapher. She followed the film with various juvenile roles, often appearing opposite child actor Paul Willis. In 1914, she was hired by The Oz Film Manufacturing Company to portray Fluff in The Magic Cloak of Oz and Button-Bright in His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz. In 1916, at the age of 15, she appeared as a harem girl in Griffith's epic Intolerance.

In the 1920s, Harris graduated to leading lady roles opposite leading men such as Conrad Nagel, Milton Sills, Lionel Barrymore, Rod La Rocque and the Moore brothers, Owen and Tom. She appeared in Frank Capra's 1928 silent drama The Power of the Press with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Jobyna Ralston.

She found the transition to the "talkies" difficult and her career slowed dramatically. She performed in vaudeville and burlesque, and, at one point, toured with comedian Phil Silvers. She was critically praised for her performance in the 1930 film adaptation of the Broadway musical No, No Nanette. In the 1936 Three Stooges comedy Movie Maniacs, she portrayed a temperamental and demanding film starlet who, while receiving a pedicure, is startled by stooge Curly Howard striking a match on the sole of her foot.

Harris continued to work in film in the early 1940s, largely through the kindness of her former director, Cecil B. DeMille, who cast her in bit parts in 1942's Reap the Wild Wind, and 1944's The Story of Dr. Wassell. Her last film appearance was in the posthumously released 1945 film Having A Wonderful Crime.

Seventeen-year-old Harris met actor Charlie Chaplin in mid-1918, dated, and came to believe she was pregnant by him. They married on October 23, 1918 in Los Angeles, California. The couple quarreled about her contract with Louis B. Mayer and her career. Chaplin felt she was not his intellectual equal, and, when their child died in July 1919 after three days of life, they separated in the autumn of 1919. Chaplin moved to the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Harris tried to keep appearances up, believing a happy marriage was possible, but in 1920 she filed for divorce based on mental cruelty. Chaplin accused her of infidelity, and, though he would not name her lover publicly, Alla Nazimova was suspected. Harris denied rumors Chaplin had been physically violent, and divorce was granted in November 1920 with Harris receiving $100,000 in settlement and some community property.

Following the divorce, Harris had a highly publicized relationship of less than a year's duration with the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII).

In 1924, Harris married Everett Terrence McGovern. The union lasted until November 26, 1929, when Harris filed for divorce in Los Angeles, California on grounds of desertion. The couple had one child, Everett Terrence McGovern, Jr. in 1925. In 1934, she married William P. Fleckenstein in Asheville, North Carolina. The couple remained married until Harris' unexpected death in 1944 of pneumonia. She was laid to rest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Silent film star. She was the first of Charlie Chaplin's four wives (She was sixteen, he was twenty-eight). She made 112 movies between 1912 and 1944. She was known as 'Innocent Mildred Harris' because of her marriage to Chaplin at such a young age and because of her innocent looks.

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Mildred Harris's Timeline

November 29, 1901
Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, United States
July 7, 1919
Age 17
July 20, 1944
Age 42
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States