Priscilla Dean; Screen Actress of Silent Films

Priscilla Dean, considered one of the best of the silent screen actresses, has died at her home in Leonia, a small New Jersey town she retired to more than 50 years ago.

Her death Dec. 27 was reported this week to author Richard Lamparski, creator of the “Whatever Became Of. . .” celebrity book series.

Lamparski said she asked that her age not be mentioned and that at her request no services were held.

Her film credits, which began in 1914 with “Mother” and continued in 1917 and 1918 with “Even With You and I” and “Two-Soul Woman,” respectively, would suggest that she was in her late 80s when she died.


She may best be remembered for the silent picture version of “Under Two Flags,” a French Foreign Legion melodrama in which she played Cigarette, a role re-created in sound by Claudette Colbert.

Started in Her Teens

Miss Dean was in her teens when she began doing bit parts at the old Biograph Studios in New York City.

She was placed under contract to Universal supposedly after winning a car race after she had moved to Los Angeles.


Over the years she was seen in more than 30 films, among them “Paid in Advance,” “Wild Honey,” “Drifting,” “The Siren of Seville,” “The Crimson Runner” and “Outside the Law” with Lon Chaney Sr.

Film historian Anthony Slide has written that she was “one of the great dramatic actresses of the silent screen.”

In 1928 she married Leslie P. Arnold, a well known Army flier, made one or two long-forgotten talking pictures in the early 1930s and retired.