Look back at five famous ’20s actresses, decades after their first Hollywood success

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Actresses of the 1920s

The Hollywood picture: Vintage 1920s actresses then & in 1950

by Sallie Belle Cox – Woman’s Day (June 1950)

Time has dealt kindly with Hollywood’s veteran actresses. Few of the young glamour girls can top them.

Whatever else the movies may or may not do, they certainly glorify the older woman.

The once prevalent idea that any female who reached the advanced age of thirty faced a rapid decline and should return to the nearest corner to count her wrinkles and mourn over her faded charms, is laughable when one considers Hollywood.

Famous ’20s actress Gloria Swanson

Hollywood's veteran actresses in 1950 - Gloria Swanson

Many of the reigning stars and outstanding, featured actresses are beyond the age when it’s impolite to question.

When I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Stage Fright,” which I enjoyed tremendously, no small part of my pleasure was in reminding myself every time Marlene Dietrich appeared on the screen that she is a grandmother.

Now if that sounds impolite or unkind, I’d like to ask what’s wrong with being a grandmother. Marlene Dietrich is very proud of being one, and has often declared that one of her greatest pleasures is walking her grandchild.

Obviously, she’s a doting grandmother, but right there any resemblance between Miss Dietrich and any grandmother I’ve ever met ends. That’s why I particularly enjoyed her amusing performance in “Stage Fright” as a glamorous musical-comedy star and femme fatale.

Marlene Dietrich

Hollywood's veteran actresses in 1950 - Marlene Dietrich

When it comes to femmes fatales, no one on the screen can surpass La Dietrich, and whether or not I agree with the gentleman who, after seeing “Stage Fright,” stated that Marlene is unquestionably the most beautiful woman in the world, I’ll go along with him so far as to say that I think she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world.

And she’s never been quite so ravishing as she is in this picture. Jane Wyman, that fine, attractive actress, is rather dimmed and almost overshadowed. So it’s just as well there aren’t more grandmothers like Dietrich; they’d have to be locked up if the dew-drenched creatures were to be given a chance.


Wizard of Oz actress Billie Burke

ALSO SEE: About the classic Wizard of Oz movie: Cast interviews, behind the scenes, costumes & lots more

Hollywood's veteran actresses in 1950 -Billie Burke


Famous ’20s actress Ethel Barrymore

Hollywood's veteran actresses in 1950 - Ethel Barrymore


Veteran Hollywood star Marjorie Bambeau

Hollywood's veteran actresses in 1950 - Marjorie Bambeau

NOW SEE THIS: 120+ gorgeous, glamorous actresses of the 1920s

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