John Gilbert

Actor + Headliner + Drawing Card
Born Jul 10, 1899

John Gilbert was an American actor and a major star of the silent film era. Known as "the great lover," he rivaled even Rudolph Valentino as a box office draw. Though he was often cited as one of the high profile examples of an actor who was unsuccessful in making the transition to talkies, there was speculation that his decline as a star had to do with studio politics and money and not the sound of his screen voice.… Read More

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1899 Birth Born on July 10, 1899.


1918 18 Years Old Gilbert was married four times. His first marriage was to Olivia Burwell, a native of Mississippi whom Gilbert had met after her family moved to California, on August 26, 1918. They separated the following year and Olivia Burwell Gilbert returned to Mississippi for a while. She filed for divorce in Los Angeles in 1921.


1921 21 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1921, Gilbert signed a three-year contract with Fox Film Corporation, where he was cast as a romantic leading man. … Read More
1923 23 Years Old The marriage was tumultuous and, in June 1923, Joy filed for legal separation after she claimed that Gilbert slapped her face after a night of heavy drinking. They reconciled several months later. In August 1924, Joy, who was pregnant with the couple's first child, filed for divorce. … Read More
1924 24 Years Old In 1924, Gilbert moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he became a full-fledged star with such high-profile films as His Hour directed by King Vidor and written by Elinor Glyn; He Who Gets Slapped (both 1924), co-starring Lon Chaney, and Norma Shearer, and directed by Victor Sjöström; and The Merry Widow (1925) directed by Erich von Stroheim and co-starring Mae Murray.
1925 25 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1925 Gilbert was once again directed by Vidor in the war epic The Big Parade, which became the second-highest grossing silent film. … Read More
1926 26 Years Old In 1926, Gilbert made Flesh and the Devil, his first film with Greta Garbo. … Read More
1929 29 Years Old 1 More Event
With the coming of sound, Gilbert's vocal talents made a good first impression in the all-star musical comedy The Hollywood Revue of 1929, appearing in a Technicolor sequence with Norma Shearer. … Read More


1932 32 Years Old Gilbert's fourth and final marriage was to actress Virginia Bruce in August 1932. … Read More
1934 35 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Shortly after making Downstairs, he married co-star Virginia Bruce; the couple divorced in 1934. … Read More
1935 36 Years Old He suffered a serious heart attack in December 1935 which left him in poor health.
1936 37 Years Old 1 More Event
Gilbert suffered a second heart attack at his Bel Air home on January 9, 1936, which was fatal. … Read More
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