Marie Prevost was a Canadian-born film actress. During her twenty-year career, she made 121 silent and talking pictures.
Prevost began her career during the silent film era. She was discovered by Mack Sennett who signed her to contract and made her one of his “Bathing Beauties” in the late 1910s. Prevost appeared in dozens of Sennett’s short comedy films before moving on to feature length films for Universal.
In 1922, she signed with Warner Bros. where her career flourished as a leading lady. She was a favorite of director Ernst Lubitsch who cast her in three of his comedy films; The Marriage Circle (1924), Three Women (1924) and Kiss Me Again (1925).
After being let go by Warner Bros. in early 1926, Prevost’s career began to decline and she was relegated to secondary roles. She was also beset with personal problems, including the death of her mother in 1926 and the breakdown of her marriage to actor Kenneth Harlan in 1927, which fuelled her depression.
She began to abuse alcohol and binge eat causing her to gain weight thus making it difficult for her to secure acting jobs. By 1935, Prevost was only able to secure bit parts in films. She made her last on-screen appearance in 1936.
While at Universal, Prevost was still relegated to light comedies. After her contract expired, Jack L. Warner signed her to a two-year contract at $1500 a week at Warner Bros. in 1922.
During this time, Prevost was dating actor Kenneth Harlan. Jack Warner had also signed Harlan to a contract and cast the couple in the lead roles in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned. To publicize the film, Warner announced that the couple would marry on the film’s set. The publicity stunt worked and thousands of fans sent gifts and letters to the couple. In August 1923, Sonny Gerke, Prevost’s first husband filed for divorce.
The Los Angeles Mirror got wind that Prevost was still married and ran a story with the headline “Marie Prevost Will be a Bigamist if She Marries Kenneth Harlan”. Warner was livid over the negative publicity and Prevost’s failure to disclose her first marriage despite the fact that the publicity stunt was his idea
After years of drinking, Prevost died of acute alcoholism at the age of 38 in January 1937.