Lucille Ricksen

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Lucille Ricksen
File:Lucille Ricksen Stars of the Photoplay.jpg
Born Ingeborg Myrtle Elisabeth Ericksen
(1910-08-22)August 22, 1910
Chicago, Illinois
Died March 13, 1925(1925-03-13) (aged 14)
Los Angeles, California
Cause of death Tuberculosis
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Nationality American
Other names Lucille Rickson
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 1913–1923

Lucille Ricksen (August 22, 1910 – March 13, 1925) was an American motion picture actress during the silent film era.

Early life

Lucille Ricksen was born Ingeborg Myrtle Elisabeth Ericksen in Chicago on August 22, 1910. Her parents were Danish immigrants named Samuel and Ingeborg Nielsen Ericksen. Although Lucille Ricksen's birth year has been widely reported as being 1909, her birth certificate states 1910 as her true birth year. She had an older brother, Marshall, who was born in 1907 in Chicago, who also appeared in early silent films.


Ricksen began her career as a professional child model and actress similar to other actresses her age such as Madge Evans, Helen Chandler and Kittens Reichert, starting at age 4.[1] Through these roles, Ricksen rose to fame and provided a revenue for her parents.[1] In 1920, she arrived with her mother, Ingeborg, in Hollywood at the request of Samuel Goldwyn who immediately cast the eleven-year-old in a comedy serial entitled The Adventures of Edgar Pomeroy. The serial shorts ran in approximately twelve installments and were based on the stories of Booth Tarkington, with actor Edward Peil, Jr. taking the leading role of Edgar.

After leaving the Edgar Pomeroy serials, Ricksen was next cast in the 1922 Stuart Paton directed comedy The Married Flapper opposite Marie Prevost and Kenneth Harlan and the thirteen-year-old's career opportunities began to improve dramatically. In 1922, Ricksen was signed to a contract with actor and director Marshall Neilan, who cast her in the commercially and critically successful Neilan directed drama The Stranger's Banquet opposite Claire Windsor and Hobart Bosworth.

Ricksen spent the early 1920s appearing in a number of high-profile acting roles. One notable performance was her role as Ginger in the 1923 John Griffith Wray directed drama Human Wreckage, which was a drug prevention film produced by and starring actress Dorothy Davenport. It was made in reaction to the death of Davenport's husband, actor Wallace Reid, as a result of a morphine addiction.[2]

Ricksen, pictured at age 10 upon a promotional poster for the 1920 short film, Edgar's Little Saw

From 1920 to 1925, Ricksen starred opposite some of the most popular actors of the silent era, including Conrad Nagel, James Kirkwood, Sr., Jack Pickford, Louise Fazenda, Laura La Plante, Anna Q. Nilsson, Blanche Sweet, Bessie Love, Cullen Landis and Patsy Ruth Miller. Ricksen often portrayed characters who were much older than herself and she garnered critical acclaim from the public and within the motion picture industry for her maturity at handling adult themes. In 1924, at the age of fourteen, she was named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars; a promotional campaign sponsored by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers in the United States, which honored thirteen young women each year who they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom. Other actresses named that year included Dorothy Mackaill and Clara Bow.[3]


Niche of Lucille Ricksen, in the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale

While filming the Del Andrews directed comedy The Galloping Fish in 1924 opposite Sydney Chaplin and Louise Fazenda, Ricksen became ill. She had appeared in prominent roles in ten films that year, including the popular drama The Painted Lady opposite George O'Brien and Dorothy Mackaill. However, by early 1925, her condition worsened and she was diagnosed as having tuberculosis.[4] During her illness, her father disappeared.[1] Ricksen's last screen appearance was opposite Claire Windsor and William Haines in the drama The Denial, filmed in 1924 and released in early 1925.[5]

Ricksen was bedridden for the last few months of her life, and her mother Ingeborg became distraught and kept a bedside vigil over her daughter. In late February 1925, Ingeborg succumbed to a fatal heart attack and collapsed on top of her bedridden daughter.[6] Afterwards, Ricksen spent her days being taken care of by others in the movie colony, including actress Lois Wilson.[1] She died two weeks after her mother's death, on March 13, 1925 at the age of fourteen.[7]


After her death, the media wrote that her illness was created through malnutrition and exhaustion[8] due to her working almost non-stop for twelve years under poor conditions. Her death was used as an example for parents not to exploit their children to the showcase their talent.[1]

A photo article of Ricksen is featured in the 2011 film The Artist. In the film, she is listed as a newcomer in 1929, four years after she had died in real life.

Season 2, episode 2 of Lifetime Movie Networks, "Ghost Inside My Child" featured a young woman who believes she was Lucille Ricksen in her previous life.

August 1921 Duluth Herald article focusing upon Ricksen's contributions to the comedy serial, The Adventures of Edgar Pomeroy


Year Title Role Notes
1920 Edgar and the Teacher's Pet Short film
1920 Edgar's Hamlet Short film
1920 Edgar's Jonah Day Short film
1920 Edgar Takes the Cake Short film
1920 Edgar's Sunday Courtship Short film
1920 Edgar Camps Out Short film
1920 Edgar's Little Saw Short film
1920 Edgar, the Explorer Short film
1921 Edgar's Country Cousin Short film
1921 Edgar's Feast Day Short film
1921 Edgar, the Detective Short film
1921 The Old Nest Kate at 9
1922 The Married Flapper Carolyn Carter
1922 Remembrance Child
1922 The Girl Who Ran Wild Clytie
1922 Forsaking All Others May Wharton
1922 The Strangers' Banquet Flapper
1923 The Social Buccaneer Lucille Vail Lost film
1923 One of Three Short film
1923 Under Secret Orders Short film
1923 Trimmed in Scarlet Faith Ebbing Lost film
Credited as Lucille Rickson
1923 The Secret Code Short film
1923 The Radio-Active Bomb Short film
1923 The Showdown Short film
1923 Human Wreckage Ginger Lost film
1923 The Rendezvous Vera
1923 The Judgment of the Storm Mary Heath
1924 The Galloping Fish Hyla Wetherill
1924 The Hill Billy Emmy Lou Spence
1924 Those Who Dance Ninon
1924 Young Ideas Eloise Lowden
1924 Behind the Curtain Sylvia Bailey
1924 Vanity's Price Sylvia, Teddy's fiancee Alternative title: This House of Vanity
1924 The Painted Lady Alice Smith
1924 Idle Tongues Faith Copeland
1925 The Denial The daughter Partially lost film

Further reading

  • Michael G. Ankerich (2010). Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen. BearManor. ISBN 1-59393-605-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "A Child Star", The Port Arthur News, March 21, 1925, p. 4
  2. Wallace Reid, The Life And Death of a Hollywood Idol by E. J. Fleming c. 2007; McFarland Publishing
  3. John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars p. 67
  4. [1]
  5. An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films: 1895-1930 p.1949
  6. An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films: 1895-1930 p.1949
  7. New York Times Movies article referencing Lucille Ricksen
  8. The Milwaukee Sentilel Feb. 2, 1926

External links