Family & Companions
Charming, gentle-featured leading actress of the silent screen. A former model and 'Kodak Girl', Boardman typically played well-bred flappers or troubled heroines in "women's pictures," though she was able to surpass star glamour and add a note of sympathetic ordinariness to her screen roles. Joining MGM upon its consolidation in 1924, Boardman was one of the new studio's first stars, and one of its busiest, starring in 11 films during her first two years with the studio.
A number of her films, including "Wine of Youth" (1924), the pleasing comedy "Proud Flesh" (1925) and the lavish swashbuckler "Bardelys the Magnificent" (1926), costarring John Gilbert, were directed by King Vidor, whose second wife she would become in 1926. Vidor also helmed Boardman's best-remembered film, "The Crowd" (1928), a remarkable study of an urban Everyman. While critics who generally pictured her in roles on a higher social plane thought her miscast in "The Crowd," Boardman achieved a performance of great subtlety that ranks among the finest in the history of silent screen acting. Unfortunately, her career in sound films, hurt by a series of either poor or unpopular films, quickly waned and she retired to marry director Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast.
Cast (Feature Film)
Appeared on Broadway with Edna Hibbard, Louise Dresser and Frank Morgan in "Rockabye, Baby"
Brought to Hollywood by Samuel Goldwyn
Made feature film debut in "The Stranger's Banquet"
Acted in several early films for Goldwyn Pictures, including "Day of Faith" and "Gimme"
Played first leading role, as Remember Steddon, in "Souls for Sale"
Contract with Goldwyn assumed by newly consolidated company, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Played what is her best remembered role, as the wife of an office clerk (James Murray) in King Vidor's "The Crowd"
Appeared in a part-talkie, "She Goes to War"
Made full-fledged talking film debut in "Mamba"
Acted in best remembered sound film, Cecil B. DeMille's remake of his 1914 silent success, "The Squaw Man"
Left MGM; effectively retired from the screen
Played small supporting role in independently-made, low-budget feature, "The Big Chance"
Made another one-shot (and final) return to film, in husband Harry d'Arrast's "The Three-Cornered Hat", shot independently in Spain
Appeared in Kevin Brownlow and David Gill's Thames TV documentary series about the silent movie era, "Hollywood"