When he died in 1936, John Gilbert was considered one of the last of the great romancers of the silent film era.
Gilbert ranked with the best of those whose acting made feminine hearts palpitate in the days of silent cinema.
Gilbert began his career as an itinerant stock company actor and looked toward Hollywood to overcome his poverty. He first became a film cowboy and an extra player and not until 1922 did he gain recognition when he played in "The Count of Monte Cristo."
He reached the top rung of success' ladder in 1924 when "The Merry Widow" was released. This was the picture in which he appeared with Mae Murray and was made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The pendulum kept swinging for Gilbert. The release of "The Big Parade" added more fame and brought into the limelight Renee Adoree.
In the interims between his frequent marriages, there were four, rumors of Gilbert's loves — and engagement — were rampant. In the winter of 1927 Hollywood was thrown into a frenzy by reports that he and the elusive Greta Garbo had eloped and married in Yuma.
Lupe Velez, later the wife of Johnny Weissmuller, was another of his rumored fiancees.
Talking pictures were his Waterloo. Even his appearance with his one-time leading lady, Garbo, in "Queen Christina" failed to bring him his former glory.
His last appearance on the screen was in "The Captain Hates the Sea," based on Wallace Smith's book.