Dorothy Cumming

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Dorothy G. Cumming
File:Dorothy Cumming from Who's Who on the Screen.jpg
Publicity photo of Cumming from Who's Who on the Screen (1920)
Born (1894-04-12)12 April 1894
Boorowa, New South Wales, Australia
Died 10 December 1983(1983-12-10)
New York, New York, USA
Occupation Stage and silent film actress
Years active 1915-1929

Dorothy Cumming (12 April 1894 – 10 December 1983)[1][2] was an actress of the silent film era. She appeared in 39 American, English, and Australian films between 1915 and 1929, notably appearing as the Virgin Mary in Cecil B. DeMille's 1927 film The King of Kings and the jealous wife in Lillian Gish's 1928 The Wind. She also appeared in stage productions in those same countries.

Childhood and early career

She was born Dorothy Greville Cumming in Boorowa, New South Wales. Her father, Victor Albert Cumming was an officer of the Lands Department and also owned Narrangullen sheep station, near Yass. Her mother was the former Sarah T. Fennell. The family moved to Sydney around 1904, settling in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra. There, while a student at Ascham School, Dorothy attended elocution and acting lessons, appearing on stage from 1907.[3] In 1911 she appeared with Enid Bennett in J. C. Williamson's production Everywoman.[4]

In 1915 she appeared in the 6 reel J.C. Williamson film Within our Gates, or Deeds that Won Gallipoli, a spy drama directed by English actor-director Frank Harvey. At this time Williamsons made a handful of films using their own actors, in response to the threat of increasing American imports, including Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford and Officer 666, directed by Fred Niblo.[5] Determined to follow a career in film, Dorothy departed for the US in mid 1916.[4]

Dorothy had three full siblings, including two sisters who also moved to the United States. Rose Cumming became a prominent American interior decorator,[6] and Eileen Cumming an advertising executive, who married rheumatologist Dr. Russell LaFayette Cecil. Dorothy also had several half-siblings from her mother's first marriage.


Cumming was married twice. Her husbands were:

  • Frank Elliott Dakin (married 4 April 1922, separated 1925, divorced 9 December 1927), a stage director known professionally as Frank Elliott. They had two sons, each of whom took his mother's maiden name after their parents' divorce: Anthony Cumming and Lt. Greville C. E. Cumming (1921–1942).
  • Allan McNab (born 1901), married 2 August 1932. He was a British artist and designer who became the art director of Life, worked as design director for Norman Bel Geddes, and became the director of administration of the Art Institute of Chicago.


She died in New York City in 1983.

Selected filmography


External links