Helene Chadwick

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Helene Wellman (Chadwick)

Birthdate: (42)
Death: September 4, 1940 (42)
Immediate Family:

Wife of William A. Wellman

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Helene Chadwick


Helene Chadwick (November 25, 1897–September 4, 1940) was an American actress in silent motion pictures and in early sound films.

Early life and career

Chadwick was born in the small town of Chadwicks, New York, which was named for her grandfather. Her mother was a singer who performed on the stage and her father was a business man.

She began making films for Pathe Pictures in Manhattan, New York. A director was impressed by Chadwicks's talent as an equestrian, thus she began acting as a western star but this did not continue with the exodus of film production from the east to the west coast. Signed by Samuel Goldwyn, Chadwick went to California in 1913 and entered silent movies in 1916. She was a star from 1920 through 1925. At the pinnacle of her acting career, she earned a salary estimated to have been $2,000 per week. From 1929 until 1935, she found success as a character actress when sound was being introduced to films.

In the final five years of her life she was reduced to taking roles as an extra, playing "atmospheric parts". She was always optimistic that her fortunes would turn for the better. Helene made movies with Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, and other studios.

Her most noteworthy performances came in The Long Arm of the Manister (1919), The Cup of Fury (1920), Heartsease (1919), The Sin Flood (1922), Dangerous Curve Ahead (1921), From The Ground Up (1921), The Glorious Fool (1922), Yellow Men and Gold (1922), Dust Flower (1922), Godless Men (1920), and Quicksands (1923).

Personal life and death

In January 1919, Chadwick became engaged to Lieutenant William A. Wellman, an American pilot with the Lafayette Flying Corps. He had just returned from France and was cited for bravery for his valor in World War I. The couple had met at a party at the house of a friend. Wellman was signed to play a prominent role in an upcoming movie with Douglas Fairbanks Sr.. The couple wed in July 1921, but in the summer of 1923, Chadwick sued Wellman for divorce on grounds of desertion and nonsupport. At the time of their separation William was directing movies for Fox Film. Wellman directed Wings, the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as many other notable films.

Helene Chadwick died at St. Vincent's Hospital, Los Angeles, California, aged 42, in 1940. Her death was indirectly the result of an accident she suffered in June 1939. She stumbled over a chair and sustained injuries to her left side and eye. Doctors said her illness was exacerbated by "her highly nervous state."

Her funeral was conducted by Pierce Brothers Mortuary and attended by stage and screen friends.


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Helene Chadwick's Timeline

November 25, 1897
September 4, 1940
Age 42