/> Priscilla Dean
frame left Priscilla Dean frame right

Priscilla Dean

Priscilla Dean was a very unlikely diva. Her photos show a plain but cheerful looking woman, with rather heavy features, a crooked grin, and an unfashionably curvaceous figure. But on screen her intensity is unmatched. She had been hanging around in Universal films for years when she began working with director Tod Browning, who unleashed her talent. Her startlingly fierce performance in Outside the Law (1920) with Lon Chaney is, fortunately, readily available on video. Sadly, bad decisions stalled her career, and she finished out the 20's in a Hal Roach short and appeared in only a handful of talkies. Her starring career was brief, but there was nobody else quite like her.

On the Web

The Internet Movie Database filmography

Biographical information from Thomas Staedli's Index of International Film Maker of the Silent Movie Era

Dean's entry in The Blue Book of the Screen (1923)

Dean's entry in Stars of the Photoplay (1924)

Review of Outside the Law on Silent Film Sources

Outside the Law, feature of the month in Silents are Golden

Review of The White Tiger on Silents are Golden

Comments on Slipping Wives on Laurel and Hardy Central

Virtual History's links on Priscilla Dean as well as a bunch of scanned postcards (Thanks to Kees Kleihues for bringing these to my attention)

Silent Films Available on Video

Outside the Law (1920)
Available from Kino Video
The White Tiger (1923)
Available from Grapevine VIdeo
Slipping Wives (1927)
in The Lost films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Vol. 8, available from the Hal Roach Studios from Amazon.com

Two advertisements featuring Priscilla Dean, courtesy of David Menefee.

Further Reading

Films in Review, August-September, 1984.

Lahue, Kalton C. Ladies in Distress. South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1971. p. 74-82.

Unsung Divas

©2001, by Greta de Groat. All Rights Reserved

Last updated April 20, 2013