Volume III: Biographies


FARRINGTON, Irene ("Reenie") **

Actress (1914-1916)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Reenie Farrington played ingenue leads in many Thanhouser films released from 1914 to 1916.

Biographical Notes: Irene Farrington, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Farrington, as a young lady played in Princess and other Thanhouser films, under her nickname, Reenie. After Muriel Ostriche left the Princess Department in 1914, Reenie Farrington became its leading lady for a time. Typographers had great difficulty with this unusual name, so they assumed it was French and often listed it incorrectly in print as Rene or Renee, sometimes going so far as to give it an elegant accent: René or Renée.

The New Rochelle Pioneer, August 29, 1914, told of her success: "The local friends of Reenie Farrington, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Farrington, Pratt Street, will be pleased to know that she has jumped into the envied position of leading woman, and is now the youngest leading woman in pictures.... Her characterization of her comedy and dramatic parts is considered admirable by critics, and no one will envy her her new honors."

A 1914 Biographical Sketch: The following article, by John William Kellette, appeared in The New Rochelle Pioneer, October 17, 1914: "Reenie Farrington saw the light of day in New York City 17 years ago, but any morning in New Rochelle looks better to her than did that morning when Frank Farrington, her father...picked her up and tried to have her tell him why she cried. Of course, she couldnt, then, nor did she try, but Mr. Farrington claims that only upon the day of her birth did she sob, as he has failed to note anything but smiles since.

"Reenie Farrington is a cheery little girl. Shell pardon the 'little, I hope, because it does not refer to size, merely to age and girlishness. In form she is tall and shapely, and her light hair drops in curls, surmounting a pleasing face and very expressive eyes. Miss Farrington was a lead when six weeks old. She had the star part in Lost, Strayed or Stolen. She was the baby that had been lost, strayed or stolen, and off and on since she has played leads, her latest leading part since transference from Princess to Thanhouser is as May in The Doctors Sentinel, directed by Jack Harvey.

"Seventeen years ago Miss Farrington began her theatrical career with Augustine Daly, and two years later was taken to England, her parents birthplace, only to become seasick the following season when the Farringtons returned from London with Olga Nethersole to play a New York engagement. In 1898 Mrs. Farrington, who was 'Meenie in Joe Jeffersons Rip Van Winkle, quit the stage, and Reenie had a New York City girlhood until 1904, when she went with the Aborn Opera Company, and later with the Ben Greet players, where she was featured in A White Secret. With Alf Wilson she was Gretchen, and so it went on, parts bigger and bigger until 1914, when she was with the Merry Countess and Hop o My Thumb, in the former doing a special dance feature that attracted the best the critics could offer. With Ben Greet she was 'Puck in A Midsummer Nights Dream, and the young star, when 13 years old, staged it at Asbury Park, with children, for a church benefit. She understudied one of the Dolly Sisters in The Merry Countess, but never had a chance to jump into the role. Mary Pickford is her idol, and she wants to emulate her in screen work. Heres hoping she does."

After Thanhouser: The New Rochelle Pioneer, March 27, 1915, advised its readers: "Miss Reenie Farrington, formerly leading lady of Princess Films, expects to go with one of the Keystone companies at Fort Lee, New Jersey, about April 15. Keystone will have three comedy companies at work behind the Palisades, and Reenie will go in for straight comedy." Although she left Thanhouser in April 1915, she returned for at least one later film, Where Wives Win, a June 1916 release.

Thanhouser Filmography:

1914: The Butterfly Bug (8-2-1914), A Rural Romance (Princess 8-14-1914), The Belle of the School (Princess 8-21-1914), Sis (Princess 9-11-1914), Gold (9-15-1914), The Master Hand (9-18-1914), The Final Test (Princess 9-25-1914), The Balance of Power (Princess 10-2-1914), The One Who Cared (Princess 10-9-1914), A Messenger of Gladness (11-22-1914)

1915: Shep, the Sentinel (1-1-1915), An Innocent Burglar (Princess 1-22-1915), The Home of Silence (Princess 1-29-1915), Nells Strategy (Princess 2-5-1915), Across the Way (Princess 2-12-1915), Who Got Stung? (Princess 2-19-1915), On Account of a Dog (Princess 2-26-1915), And He Never Knew (Princess 3-5-1915), Joe Harkins Ward (Princess 3-19-1915)

1916: Where Wives Win (Falstaff 6-10-1916)

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.