Mae Murray made millions playing the vamp opposite such silent film noblemen as John Gilbert and Rudolph Valentino.
The talkies ended her career, but she always considered herself a star. After one of many attempted comebacks, she philosophized: "You don't have to keep making movies to remain a star. Once you become a star, you are always a star."
And when she was at her zenith, in the 1920s, the cinematic firmament knew none brighter. She was the symbol of the era — frivolous, spendthrift and beautiful.
"The girl with the bee-stung lips and the butterfly gestures" was the way studio publicists described her.
She was a top attraction in Ziegfeld's 1908, 1909 and 1915 shows. Then came the movies and instant film stardom.
The pictures she made were hardly memorable, but light-hearted productions which were the fancy of the times — "The Dance," "Gilded Lily," "The Right to Love," "Peacock Alley," "Fascination," "Broadway Mania" and "Fashion Row."
At her peak, Murray made as much as $2,000 a week and lived in mansions where she entertained like an empress.
But the talkies spelled doom for her career, as they did for many other silent film greats. Her income dwindled. She tried intermittent comebacks, but none succeeded.
In the 1950s she wrote her memoir, "The Self-Enchanted." She hoped a movie would be made of it and she would regain some of her fortune.