Theda Bara

1. – Betty Blythe, The Queen of Sheba, 1921. When The Vamp vamped out of Fox at the height of her career (#3 behind Chaplin and Mary Pickford), she was rapidly substituted by an even sexier wench – the first BB. (She formed BB Productions in 1922.). Blythe immediately took over the silent epic of King Solomon of Israel’s love for the Sheba queen, originally intended for Bara. BB was cheaper; so were her 28 costumes, all of which, she said, could fit into one shoe box. The 29th costume was her skin – she was among the first nudes on the Hollywood screen. As with Bara’s Cleopatra, fragments only survive of Sheba. Bara (aka Theodosia Burr Goodman) quit after 44 movies in 1926. Betty Blythe (her real name) had 161 screen role from Slander, 1916, to My Fair Lady, 1964.

2. – Alla Nazimova, Salome, 1922. Bara had tried to set up her own version in 1919.

3. – Gloria Swanson, Sunset Blvd, 1950. Billy Wilder tried all the old silent movie queens for Norma Desmond.


 Birth year: 1885Death year: 1955Other name: Casting Calls:  3