Dolores Costello

Dolores Costello

Posted on January 16, 2015

Nicknamed the Goddess of the Silver Screen, Dolores Costello led a charmed life for many years as Hollywood’s silent film sweetheart until the heavy studio makeup destroyed her skin. She is the grandmother of Drew Barrymore.

Sept. 17, 1903
Dolores Costello is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to matinee idol Maurice Costello (“The Dimpled Darling”) and Mae Costello. Her yonger sister is actress Helene Costello.

Dolores and Helene begin appearing in their father’s silent films.

Dolores and sister Helene dance a duet in George White’s Scandals, a New York stage review similar to The Ziegfeld Follies. This leads to both of them being signed by Warner Bros.

Stars in the silent film, The Third Degree.

Stars in the silent film, The Little Irish Girl.

Stars in the silent film, Bride of the Storm.

Stars in the silent film, Mannequin.

Dolores is named a WAMPAS Baby Star. She acquires the nickname, “The Goddess of the Silver Screen”.

Meets John Barrymore while filming The Sea Beast, the silent film adaptation of Moby Dick. She famously faints during her long kissing scene with Barrymore.

Stars in the silent film, The College Widow.

Stars in the silent film, The Heart of Maryland.

Stars in the silent film, Old San Francisco.

Stars in the silent film, A Million Bid.

Stars in the silent film, When a Man Loves with Barrymore.

Stars in the silent film … aka His Lady.

Nov. 24, 1928
Marries John Barrymore.

Jan. 24, 1929
While on honeymoon, Dolores writers in her diary: “I love this life and I adore my darling … It all sums up the fact that I love my Winkie.”

Feb. 24, 1929
Still on honeymoon, she writes in her diary: “My darling and I are married three months today and I only hope it will be for all our lives.”

Stars in the silent film, Noah’s Ark. During the dangerous filming of the flood scene, six extras die and Dolores catches pneumonia.

Dolores gives birth to daughter Dolores Ethel Mae Barrymore (DeDe Barrymore).

June 4, 1932
Dolores gives birth to John Blythe Barrymore, Jr. (He later changes his name to John Drew Barrymore and is the father of actress Drew Barrymore).

Dolores and Barrymore divorce after a tempestuous marriage troubled by Barrymore’s drinking and wild ways.

Stars in Little Lord Fauntelroy.

Dolores marries her obstetrician, Dr. John Vruwink.

Stars as Isabel Amberson in the Orson Welles film, The Magnificent Ambersons.

Due to the damage done to her sensitive skin by years of heavy cinema makeup, her cheeks begin to disintegrate and she is forced into retirement. She lives most of the rest of her life in seclusion at her avocado ranch near San Diego, California.

Helene Costello dies of tuberculosis.

Dolores comes out of seclusion to do some interviews about her life with John Barrymore for the book, Damned in Paradise: The Life of John Barrymore, by John Kobler.

March 1, 1979
Dolores dies of emphysema at her ranch in California.

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