May Allison

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May Allison
Born (1890-06-14)June 14, 1890
Died March 27, 1989(1989-03-27) (aged 98)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1914–1927
Spouse(s) Colonel J.L. Stephenson (19??–19??; divorced)
Robert Ellis (1920–1923; divorced)
James R. Quirk (1926–1932; his death)
Carl Norton Osborne (19??–1982; his death)

May Allison (June 14, 1890 – March 27, 1989) was an American actress whose greatest success was achieved in the early part of the 20th century in the medium of silent film, although she also appeared on stage.

Life and career

Allison was born in Rising Fawn, Georgia, the youngest of five children born to Dr. John Simon (Sam) Allison and Nannie Virginia (née Wise) Allison. She made her Broadway stage debut in the 1914 production of Apartment 12-K before settling in Hollywood, California in the early days of motion pictures. Allison's screen debut was as an ingenue in the 1915 star-making Theda Bara vehicle A Fool There Was.

When Allison was cast that same year opposite actor Harold Lockwood in the Allan Dwan directed romantic film David Harum, audiences quickly became enamored of the onscreen duo. The pair starred in approximately twenty-five highly successful features together during the World War I era and became one of the first celebrated on-screen romantic duos.[1]

Allison and Lockwood's highly popular film romances ended, however, when in 1918 Lockwood died at the age of 31 after contracting Spanish influenza, a deadly epidemic that swept the world from 1918 through 1919 killing 50 to 100 million people globally. Allison's career then faltered markedly without her popular leading male co-star.[citation needed] She continued to act in films throughout the 1920s, although she never received the same amount of public acclaim as when she starred opposite Harold Lockwood. Her last film before retiring was 1927's The Telephone Girl, opposite Madge Bellamy and Warner Baxter.[citation needed]

In 1920, Allison married writer and actor Robert Ellis.[2] Allison filed for divorce from Ellis in December 1923, citing cruelty as the reason. Her filing explained the couple had married on November 25, 1920 in Greenwich, Connecticut and were separated about November 5, 1923. [3] Allison then married Photoplay magazine editor James R. Quirk, a union that lasted until 1932.[citation needed]

Allison's third marriage, to Carl Norton Osborne, lasted over forty years until his death in 1982. In her later years, she spent much of her time at her vacation home in Tucker's Town, Bermuda and was a Patron of the Cleveland Symphony.[citation needed]


She died of respiratory failure in Bratenahl, Ohio in 1989 at the age of 98, and was buried at the Gates Mills South Cemetery in Gates Mills, Ohio.[4]

Selected filmography

May Allison (left) with Helen Taft.
Harold Lockwood and May Allison in a scene still for the 1916 silent drama Big Tremaine.


  1. ^ Cozad, W. Lee (2002). Those Magnificent Mountain Movies: (The Golden Years) 1911-1939. p. 47. ISBN 0-9723372-1-0.
  2. ^ "May—Married!". Photoplay. Vol. 21 no. 3. February 1922. pp. 62–63 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "May Allsion Sues For Divorce on Cruelty Charges". Evening Star. Washington, DC. December 4, 1923. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  4. ^ May Allison on IMDb

External links

  • May Allison on IMDb
  • May Allison at AllMovie
  • May Allison at Silent Ladies & Gents
  • May Allison at Find a Grave
  • May Allison at Virtual History
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