Volume III: Biographies


FINCH, Flora *

Actress (1916)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Flora Finch, earlier a famous screen comedian for Vitagraph, worked for Thanhouser briefly in 1916.

Biographical Notes: Flora Finch was born in Sussex, England on June 17, 1869. She made her stage debut in Shakespearean drama with the Ben Greet players. Miss Finch remained on the stage for many years, after which she entered films with Biograph in 1908, playing in such 1908 and 1909 pictures as Mrs. Jones Entertains, The Helping Hand, A Wreath in Time, Mr. Jones Has a Card Party, Those Awful Hats, Jones and the Lady Book Agent, and The Way of Man. For Charles Dana Gibson, Americas most famous illustrator at the turn of the century, she modeled for character sketches.

Flora Finch went to Vitagraph around 1910. She became a well-known player in Vitagraph comedies, where she co-starred with John Bunny (life dates: September 21, 1863-April 26, 1915), Americas best known comedian of the time, in well over 100 films, with the first of these being The New Stenographer (February 19, 1911). When Vitagraph had a cutback in its operations, she left in March 1916. Two months earlier, in January, she announced that for humanitarian reasons she would open several two-cent theatres in the slum districts in larger cities, so that those who could not afford to part with the customary nickel would have the chance to view current films.

Flora Finch then went to Thanhouser for a brief stay, and took a role in the October 1916 release of Prudence the Pirate. In December 1916 she formed her own company, Flora Finch Films, which subsequently produced and starred her in the comedy release, War Prides, a parody of War Brides, followed in May 1917 by Guess What. In 1918 the Motion Picture Studio Directory noted that she was with the Bessie Love Company and lived at 1703 Avenue N, Brooklyn, New York. She was 55" tall, weighed 110 pounds, had a fair complexion, dark hair, and blue-gray eyes. In October 1921 her mailing address was 253 West 42nd Street, New York City. In the same year she was seen in D.W. Griffiths Orphans of the Storm.

Flora Finch remained in films through the late 1930s, one of her most important appearances being with Marion Davies in 1923 in When Knighthood Was In Flower. Upon completion of her work in the Metro-Goldwyn two-reel production, No Place Like Rome, she made the improbable claim that she had just finished her 1,000th film. She was also seen on stage in various productions, including in Poppy, with W.C. Fields. Flora Finch died in Los Angeles, California on January 4, 1940, of a streptococcus infection. She had a daughter, Veronica, but little about her ever appeared in print.

Thanhouser Filmography:

1916: Prudence the Pirate (10-22-1916)

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