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.

1909
Dolores and Helene begin appearing in their father’s silent films.

1924
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.

1926
Stars in the silent film, The Third Degree.

1926
Stars in the silent film, The Little Irish Girl.

1926
Stars in the silent film, Bride of the Storm.

1926
Stars in the silent film, Mannequin.

1926
Dolores is named a WAMPAS Baby Star. She acquires the nickname, “The Goddess of the Silver Screen”.

1926
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.

1927
Stars in the silent film, The College Widow.

1927
Stars in the silent film, The Heart of Maryland.

1927
Stars in the silent film, Old San Francisco.

1927
Stars in the silent film, A Million Bid.

1927
Stars in the silent film, When a Man Loves with Barrymore.

1927
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.”

1929
Stars in the silent film, Noah’s Ark. During the dangerous filming of the flood scene, six extras die and Dolores catches pneumonia.

1931
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).

1935
Dolores and Barrymore divorce after a tempestuous marriage troubled by Barrymore’s drinking and wild ways.

1936
Stars in Little Lord Fauntelroy.

1939
Dolores marries her obstetrician, Dr. John Vruwink.

1942
Stars as Isabel Amberson in the Orson Welles film, The Magnificent Ambersons.

1943
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.

1957
Helene Costello dies of tuberculosis.

1977
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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