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Home / Performers / Doris Kenyon_jane (Screen) 
Doris Kenyon Film Star, Odette's Cousin
by jane for group historicalziegfeld Oct 15, 2008
I met Odette Lind about 3 years ago while researching the names for the ACJ photos. Doris Kenyon was photographed by ACJ and Odette was very happy to see pics of Doris she'd never seen before.
Odette and her family are missionaries in Zimbabwe and have been there for a very long time. Since the last election (rigged), the military has taken over and things have been very bad there. She's often without electricity and mail can't get through. I don't hear from her very often now since she said the electricity usually only comes on for a few hours at night. When it's on, she has to rush to do everything while it's on.
Most of us can't imagine having to live in those conditions. I certainly can't. Odette and her family stay because she said their whole lives are there. I always think of her and her family and hope they are doing ok.
Her website, which is sometimes hard to reach because of the situation there, is here:
And that's how I found her. She would enjoy hearing from anyone, I'm sure, but will probably be unable to write back.
Please keep Odette and her family in your hearts and good wishes.
Doris Kenyon (bio from Odette's page):
An American actress - Doris Kenyon was the daughter of well-to-do writer and publisher James B. Kenyon, the editor of 'The Standard Dictionary' and one-time protege of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
While attending an Authors Club meeting with her father, 16-year-old Doris was invited to sing; she so impressed one of the guests, composer Victor Herbert, that she was cast in Herbert's stage musical 'Princess Pat'.
In 1916, one year after her stage debut, Kenyon entered films with The Hidden Hand. A pretty ingenue who matriculated into an interesting if not outstanding actress, Kenyon did quite well in silent films, at one point costarring with Rudolph Valentino in Monsieur Beaucaire.
In 1927, she married Milton Sills, a major star with whom Kenyon had first appeared in The Rack (1916); Sills and his wife appeared together in seven films, all of them moneymakers.
Kenyon was playing tennis with Milton in 1930 when he suddenly was felled by a fatal heart attack. She was disconsolate and planned retirement, but was talked out of it by actor George Arliss, who arranged for Kenyon to have strong co-starring roles in his films Alexander Hamilton (1931) and Voltaire (1933).
No longer a romantic leading lady, Kenyon had matured enough to convincingly play John Barrymore's truculent society-climbing wife in Counsellor at Law (1933). The actress yearned at this point to return to her singing career (she had, after all, appeared with the Metropolitan Opera at one point in the teens); while retraining her voice, she began writing magazine articles for women's magazines, a venture which proved successful.
Rounding out her film career with Man in the Iron Mask (1939), Kenyon spent the war years singing with the USO and lecturing to women's clubs.
Doris Kenyon was almost completely retired the last quarter century of her life, appearing only in a handful of TV shows as favors to her show-business friends; one such friend was Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who in 1958 cast Kenyon as a Norma Desmond-type faded star desperate for a comeback on 77 Sunset Strip.
Doris Kenyon died in 1979 at her Beverly Hills home, of cardiac arrest, four days before her 82nd birthday.
- Doris Kenyon & Milton Sills 1927 - with Baby Kenyon Clarence Sills
- Doris Kenyon & Milton Sills 1930
- Doris Kenyon & Milton Sills c. mid-1920s - on Santa Monica Beach
- Doris Kenyon & Milton Sills c.1930
- Doris Kenyon 000a - by ACJ (orig)
- Doris Kenyon 001a - by ACJ (orig)
- Doris Kenyon 002a - by ACJ (orig)
- Doris Kenyon 003a - theatre mag jan & feb 1926 - by ACJ (scan)
- Doris Kenyon 005 - 1918 - by ACJ (scan)
- Doris Kenyon 006 - by ACJ (scan)
- Doris Kenyon 007 - 1918 - ingram's milkweed cream ad - by ACJ (scan)
- Doris Kenyon 007k - 1918 - ingram's rouge ad - by ACJ (scan)
- Doris Kenyon 009 - danger year in marriage 01 - by ACJ (scan)
- Doris Kenyon 009 - danger year in marriage 02 - by ACJ (scan)
- Doris Kenyon 009 - danger year in marriage 03 - by ACJ (scan)