Born Mary Louise Brooks on November 14, 1906, Louise Brooks was the most erotic silent screen star of her time, if not all time. But a hellcat behind the scenes. She conquered New York, Hollywood and Berlin, burning more bridges behind her than any other actress. Yet in the end, she still carved immortality out of defeat. Her second home in Cherryvale is located at 322 East 2nd Street.
At the age of four, Brooks made her "professional debut" as Tom Thumb's bride in a benefit church show in Cherryvale. By the time she was eleven, Brooks was dancing on a regular basis, performing for audiences at the Cherryvale Opera House. In 1919, the Brooks family moved to Wichita.
In 1922, at the age of 15, she traveled to New York to study with the Denishawn Modern Dance Company. From October 1922 until the spring of 1924, Brooks performed in hundreds of cities including Pittsburg and Wichita, Kansas. Brooks next appeared in George White's Scandals revue and The Ziegfeld Follies.
On August 24, 1925, her first movie, The Streets of Forgotten Men (Famous Players Lasky) was released. By 1926, she was working for a major studio, Paramount, and during the next three years, was featured in over a dozen films including American Venus (1936), Rolled Stockings (1927), and Beggars of Life (1928).
However, it is her performance in two films - Pandora's Box (1928) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) - both made in Germany under the direction of G.W. Pabst - that made Brooks an icon of 20s cinema.
Leonard Maltin says of Brooks, "Smart, sassy and sensual. She ranks today as one of the silent screen's greatest stars." Noted film critic, Ado Kyrou said of Brooks, "Not one woman exerted more magic, not one had her genius of interpretation."
Brooks herself noted, "I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance and I learned to dance by watching Charlie Chapline act."
In 1982, three years before her death, a collection of her writing, Lulu in Hollywood, was published.
To understand what made Louise Brooks the great "actress," read more of her biography at the weblink.
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