Bebe Daniels (1901-1971)

Bebe Daniels
Bebe Daniels
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Bebe Daniels was an American film and television actress, as well as a singer, dancer, writer and producer. She made over 230 films and after making her name in silent movies she successfully made the transition to Talkies and became a major musical star, with such hits as 'Rio Rita' in 1929 and '42nd Street' in 1933. She later gained renewed fame, with her actor husband, Ben Lyon, first on radio and then television.


Bebe Daniels was born Phyllis Virginia Daniels on January 14, 1901 in Dallas, Texas. The name Bebe was given to her as a child and it stuck. She came from a show business family with an actress mother and a theater manager father and she first appeared on stage at the age of 4. She started her film career aged 8 and worked for a number of studios,including Imperial, and Pathe and she was the first screen Dorothy in 1910 in 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. When she was just 14 she was chosen to join Hal Roach's comedy studio as Harold Lloyd's co-star in a long series of "Lonesome Luke" two-reel shorts starting with 'Giving Them Fits' in 1915.

After four years and a highly publicised romance with Harold Lloyd Bebe decided her career needed greater variety and she signed a contract with producer/director Cecil B. Demille, appearing in a nunber of silent movies, usually in glamorous, non-starring roles, over the next two years.

In 1921, still aged only 20, she was contracted to Paramount Pictures and began to be given more important, non juvenile, roles in movies such as 'Monsieur Beaucaire' in 1924, opposite Rudolph Vaentino. During the 1920's Bebe appeared in many movies in a variety of genres but became specialist in light comedies such as 'Wild, Wild Susan' in 1925 and 'Miss Brewster's Millions' and 'The Campus Flirt' in 1926. In all she made over 50 films for Paramount and by 1928 had become one of the most popular stars of the silent era.

She easily made the transition to talking pictures and signed up with RKO when her contract was surprisingly dropped by Paramount. Her first Talkie with RKO was the big budget musical 'Rio Rita' in 1929, co-starring John Boles. It became one of the biggest successes of the year and Bebe found herself a major star. In 1930 Bebe married fellow actor Ben Lyons. They had two children, a daughter Barbara and an adopted son, Richard Lyon.

For the next five years Bebe starred in many movies, mainly musicals, first with RKO, then with Warner Bros., including some important hits such as 'Honor of the Family' in 1931, the hugely successful early version of 'The Maltese Falcon', also in 1931, and the classic '42nd Street' in 1933 with Warner Baxter, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell.

In 1935 Bebe retired from Hollywood and, with her husband, actor Ben Lyon, moved to England, where they became extremely popular in stage plays and radio shows they made together for the BBC. In particular the witty 'Hi Gang', in which they played themselves as a constantly bickering couple and for which Bebe wrote much material, enjoyed great popularity during World War II.

In 1943 Ben Lyon enlisted into the United States Air Force, and Bebe, staying in the UK, launched her own radio show for those hospitalised by the war, 'Here's Wishing You Well Again' becoming known as Aunty Bebe in the process.

After the war Bebe returned to America to work in film production but returned to England after three years where she and Ben Lyon starred in a radio successor to 'Hi Gang called 'Life With the Lyons', which also featured their real life daughter Barbara and adopted son Richard. Two movies were also produced following the same format, 'Life with the Lyons' in 1954 and 'The Lyons in Paris' in 1955. In 1954 the show transferred to television and ran until 1960 with great success.

During the 1960's Bebe suffered a series of strokes and had to stop working. She died, aged 70, at her London home on March 16, 1971 from a cerebral hemorrhage. After cremation her ashes were brought back to America and she was interred in the Chapel Columbarium at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

Bebe Daniels Academy Awards

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Bebe Daniels Filmography

1910 The Courtship of Miles Standish
1910 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
1910 The Common Enemy
Justinian and Theodora
A Counterfeit Santa Claus
The Savage
Anne of the Golden Heart
Giving Them Fits (short)
Bughouse Bellhops
Tinkering with Trouble
Great While It Lasted
Ragtime Snap Shots
A Foozle at the Tee Party
Ruses, Rhymes and Roughnecks
Peculiar Patients' Pranks
Lonesome Luke, Social Gangster
Lonesome Luke Leans to the Literary
Luke Lugs Luggage
Lonesome Luke Lolls in Luxury
Luke, the Candy Cut-Up
Luke Foils the Villain
Luke and the Rural Roughnecks
Luke Pipes the Pippins
The Flirt
Lonesome Luke, Circus King
Luke's Double
Them Was the Happy Days!
Luke and the Bomb Throwers
Luke's Late Lunchers
Luke Laughs Last
Luke's Fatal Flivver
Luke's Society Mixup
Luke's Washful Waiting
Luke Rides Roughshod
Luke, Crystal Gazer
Luke's Lost Lamb
Luke Does the Midway
Luke Joins the Navy
Luke and the Mermaids
Luke's Speedy Club Life
Luke and the Bang-Tails
Luke, the Chauffeur
Luke's Preparedness Preparations
Luke, the Gladiator
Luke, Patient Provider
Luke's Newsie Knockout
Luke's Movie Muddle
Luke, Rank Impersonator
Luke's Fireworks Fizzle
Luke Locates the Loot
Luke's Shattered Sleep
Lonesome Luke's Lovely Rifle
Luke's Lost Liberty
Luke's Busy Day
Luke's Trolley Troubles
Lonesome Luke, Lawyer
Luke Wins Ye Ladye Faire
Lonesome Luke's Lively Life
Lonesome Luke on Tin Can Alley
Lonesome Luke's Honeymoon
Lonesome Luke, Plumber
Stop! Luke! Listen!
Lonesome Luke, Messenger
Lonesome Luke, Mechanic
Lonesome Luke's Wild Women
Over the Fence
Lonesome Luke Loses Patients
By the Sad Sea Waves
Birds of a Feather
From Laramie to London
Rainbow Island
Love, Laughs and Lather
The Flirt
Clubs Are Trump (short)
All Aboard
We Never Sleep
Move On
Step Lively
The Big Idea
The Tip
The Lamb
Hello Teacher
Hit Him Again
Beat It
A Gasoline Wedding
Look Pleasant, Please
Here Come the Girls
Let's Go
On the Jump
Follow the Crowd
Pipe the Whiskers
It's a Wild Life
Hey There
Kicked Out
The Non-Stop Kid
Two-Gun Gussie
Fireman Save My Child
The City Slicker
Sic 'Em, Towser
Somewhere in Turkey
Are Crooks Dishonest?
An Ozark Romance
Kicking the Germ Out of Germany
That's Him
Bride and Gloom
Two Scrambled
Bees in His Bonnet
Swing Your Partners
Why Pick on Me?
Nothing But Trouble
Back to the Woods
Hear 'Em Rave
Take a Chance
She Loves Me Not