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Francelia Billington ~ The Screen Beauty

Francelia Billington ~ The Screen Beauty
Francelia Billington ~ The Screen Beauty

Francelia Billington

Francelia Billington was a silent film star who died young from tuberculosis

She was born on February 1, 1895 in. Dallas, Texas. Sadly her father, James Billington, died when she was just two years old. A few years later she moved to California with her mother and sister. Francelia was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Los Angeles. At the age of seventeen she was discovered by director George Melford. He gave her the leading female role in his 1912 film The Mayor’s Crusade. Over the next five years the lovely brunette worked at Thanhauser and Universal studios. She appeared in more than one hundred films including Heart Strings, The Black Sheep, and The Half Breed with Jack Pickford. Her bright eyes and porcelain complexion earned her the nickname “The Beauty Of The Screen”. When she wasn’t working she enjoyed riding horses and photography. Francelia even learned how to operate a film camera. In 1918 she starred in the drama Blind Husbands directed by Erich von Stroheim.

Francelia Billington

Her performance got rave reviews. While making the western Desert Love she fell in love with her co-star Lester Cuneo .They were married in 1920 and had two children – Jack and Francelia. The couple would make thirteen more films together. She also co-starred with Betty Blythe in The Truant Husband and with Madge Bellamy in The White Sin. Her husband Lester had a serious drinking problem which led her to file for divorce in the Fall of 1925. Tragically on November 1, 1925 he committed suicide before the divorce could be finalized. Soon after she quit acting and dedicated herself to raising her children. Francelia returned to the screen in 1930 with a small role in The Mounted Stranger. Unfortunately during the early 1930s she began suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. On November 25, 1934 she died from it at the young age of thirty-nine. She was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

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Francelia Billington


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