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Ruth Roland

Ruth Roland
Ruth Roland by Witzel.jpg
Photographic portrait, c. 1920
Born(1892-08-26)August 26, 1892
DiedSeptember 22, 1937(1937-09-22) (aged 45)
Occupation(s)Actress, producer
Years active1911–1936
Lionel T. Kent
(m. 1917; div. 1919)
(m. 1929)

Ruth Roland (August 26, 1892 – September 22, 1937) was an American stage and film actress and film producer.[1]

Early life and career

Roland was born in San Francisco, California to Elizabeth Lillian Hauser and Jack Roland. Her father managed a theatre, and she became a child actress who went on to work in vaudeville. At age 12, she was the youngest student at Hollywood High School, having attended the school around 1904 or 1905 (there is debate on this date). Roland was Hollywood High School's first homegrown movie star.[2]

She was hired by director Sidney Olcott who had seen her on stage in New York City. She appeared in her first film, A Chance Shot, for Kalem Studios in 1911, becoming the leading actress of their new West Coast studio.[3]

Roland left Kalem and went on to even more fame at Balboa Films, where she was under contract from 1914 to 1917. In 1915 she appeared in a 14-episode adventure film serial titled The Red Circle. A shrewd businessperson, she established her own production company, Ruth Roland Serials, and signed a distribution deal with Pathé to make seven new multi-episode serials that proved very successful.[citation needed]

Between 1909 and 1927, Roland appeared in more than 200 films. She appeared in an early color feature film Cupid Angling (1918) made in the Natural Color process invented by Leon F. Douglass, and filmed in the Lake Lagunitas area of Marin County, California.[citation needed]

Roland worked the film business until 1930 when she made her first talkie. Although her voice worked well enough on screen, now entering her forties she returned to performing in live theatre, making only one more film appearance in 1936.[citation needed]

Personal life and death

Roland was married to Lionel T. Kent on May 16, 1917.[4] The marriage was short-lived: they separated on September 2, 1918, and divorced on April 2, 1919.[5][6] On February 14, 1929 she married fellow actor Ben Bard, who also had a stage acting background, and ran a Hollywood acting school after they married.[7] They were together until the end of Roland's life.

Ruth Roland died of cancer in 1937, aged 45, in Hollywood and is interred near her husband in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.[8]

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Ruth Roland received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6220 Hollywood Boulevard on February 8, 1960.[9][10] In 1979, a concrete box containing Roland's personal film collection was discovered buried in the backyard of Roland's house, and donated to the UCLA Film Archives by her heirs in 1980.[11]

Selected filmography

  • A Matrimonial Martyr (1916)
    A Matrimonial Martyr (1916)
  • The Sultana (1916)
    The Sultana (1916)
  • The Neglected Wife (1917)
    The Neglected Wife (1917)
  • Hands Up (1918)
    Hands Up (1918)
  • The Tiger's Trail (1919)
    The Tiger's Trail (1919)
The Red Circle serial (1915), Roland's portrait by Alonzo Myron Kimball
The Red Circle serial (1915), Roland's portrait by Alonzo Myron Kimball
Roland in 1916
Roland in 1916
Roland portrait by Benjamin Eggleston, Motion Picture Classic, January 1922[12]
Roland portrait by Benjamin Eggleston, Motion Picture Classic, January 1922[12]


  1. ^ Staff writer (September 28, 1937). Morrison, John L. (ed.). "Ruth Roland, Serial Star, Left Real Estate Fortune". The Record-Argus. Vol. 89, no. 227. Greenville, Pennsylvania: Advance Argus Company. p. 3 – via
  2. ^ Ruth Roland profile Archived October 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed May 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Staff writer (1924). Stars of the Photoplay. Chicago, Illinois: Photoplay Magazine. p. 206 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Staff Writer (June 7, 1917). "Ruth Roland". Detroit Free Press. Vol. 82, no. 253. Detroit, Michigan. p. 8 – via
  5. ^ Staff Writer (April 2, 1919). "Ruth Roland is Divorced from Lieut. Kent". Los Angeles Evening Herald. Vol. 44, no. 130 (Night ed.). Los Angeles, California. pp. 1, 7.
  6. ^ Staff Writer (April 19, 1919). "Picture Patter". The Seattle Star. Vol. 22, no. 51. Seattle, Washington. p. 3 – via
  7. ^ Staff Writer (February 11, 1929). "Ruth Roland and New Hubby-to-Be". The News Journal. Vol. 62, no. 36. Wilmington, Delaware. p. 20 – via
  8. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (May 1, 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7864-0983-9.
  9. ^ "Ruth Roland". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  10. ^ "Ruth Roland". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  11. ^ Staff writer (March 14, 1980). "UCLA Acquires Roland Films". The Indianapolis Star. Vol. 77, no. 283. p. 32 – via
  12. ^ Platnick, Norman I. (February 2017). Lady of Mystery: A Collector's Guide to Edward Eggleston version 3.5. p. 5. those Motion Picture Classic covers, published from at least July, 1921 through August, 1922, were actually done by Benjamin Eggleston...(PDF version book released by Platnick's son). ((cite book)): External link in |quote= (help)


  • Balboa Films – A History and Filmography of the Silent Film Studio ISBN 0-7864-0496-5
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Ruth Roland
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