May 14, 1903
Born Lillian Bohny in New York City, Billie Dove had a silent film popularity that rivaled that of Mary Pickford, Marion Davies and Clara Bow. Despite not being able to dance or sing, this lovely lady appeared in Florenz Ziegfeld's Follies, racking up some impressive credits before being sent west to Hollywood by Ziegfeld's wife, actress Billie Burke, when Burke discovered the close relationship between her husband and Dove. Once in Hollywood, Dove would co-star with some of the biggest talents of the time - - John Gilbert, Warner Baxter, Tom Mix, Lon Chaney and Douglas Fairbanks. It was co-starring opposite Fairbanks in the classic silent adventures The Black Pirate that Dove skyrocketed into superstardom. Fame, however, would not last as she retired from the screen in 1932 after her last film role was significantly cut by William Randolph Hearst in order to showcase Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. Dove would return to the screen in a small, uncredited cameo role opposite Charlton Heston in 1963 and would die at the ripe old age of 94.
Best Known For . . .
The Black Pirate (1926)
The Marriage Clause (1926)
Sensation Seekers (1927)
The American Beauty (1927) (where she earned her nickname after appearing in a movie of the same title)
Blondie of the Follies (1932) (her last credited film role)
Did You Know?
Billie Dove's second marriage would last thirty-seven years (from 1933 until 1970). Her third marriage, in 1975, would last a mere three months.
Billie Dove had an intense, three year long affair with Howard Hughes in the early 1930s.
Most of her films were destroyed in a studio fire.
She outlived her only son, Robert, who predeceased her in 1995.
Singer Eleanora Holliday, a big Billie Dove fan, changed her first name to Billie and the rest became history.