In the early years of cinema, when people were becoming interested and fascinated by moving images, one name stood out, Myrtle Gonzalez. She was quite influential in making movies popular and was an innovative actress whose contribution to silent films made an unforgettable mark on movie history.
Myrtle Gonzalez was born on September 28, 1891, and was a celebrated and legendary American actress in the silent era. She was the first Latino actress in Hollywood who dignified the silver screen. She has appeared in 70+ films from 1913-1917 until he passed away on 22 October 1918.
However, her legacy endured despite her passing, her contributions are celebrated, and on 23 November 2022, she was featured in Google Doodle in the United States.
|Full name||Myrtle Gonzalez|
|Birthplace||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Father’s name||Manuel George Gonzalez|
|Mother’s name||Lillian L. Cook|
|Date of birth||September 28, 1891|
|Died||October 22, 1918 (aged 27) Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Hometown||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Husband Name||Parks Jones (m. 1910, divorced) Allen Watt (m. 1917)|
|Known for||Google Doodle honored on Nov 23, 2022|
Myrtle Gonzalez’s Early Life
Myrtle Gonzalez was the daughter of Manuel George Gonzalez and Lilian L. Cook. She had two siblings named Manual G. Gonzalez and Stella M. Gonzalez. Her maternal grandparents were born in Ireland, and her father’s family is Hispanic and native Californian from Mexico.
Her father’s family had previously occupied this land before the US took it over. Her mother was a famous opera and popular singer who was the daughter of Irish immigrants. Her father was an independent grocer.
Myrtle had a good soprano voice and displayed amazing dramatic talent from an early age. She performed in church choirs and made several local appearances at concerts and community events. Later, she appeared on stage with Fanny Davenport and Florence Stone in child roles.
Around 1910, Gonzalez married James Parks Jones, and they had one child together, James Parks Jones Jr. (ca. 1911-1970), before getting divorced.
Myrtle Gonzalez Movies
Myrtle Gonzalez grew up in Los Angeles, and it was a big advantage for her when movie production shifted to her hometown. She got the chance to collaborate with studios like Universal and Vitagraph. She appeared in five movies with William Desmond Taylor, including:
- Her Husband’s Friend (1913)
- The drama Tainted Money (1914)
- The comedy Millions for Defence (1914)
- The drama The Kiss (1914)
- The drama Captain Alvarez (1914)
Gonzalez mainly portrayed a courageous and strong woman in her roles. She excelled in challenging roles and was dedicated to hard-hitting storylines that required a lot of physical prowess. When on set, she forced herself both mentally and physically, proving her authenticity in her acting style. Besides, she nailed intense action sequences, which proved her capability to play much more than sentimental love interests. During the last six years of her career, most of the movies were set in snowy countries or forests.
Myrtle Gonzalez Death
She and actor/director Allen Watt got married in Los Angeles on 1 December 1917, and she gave up the screen work. By the time of their marriage, Watt was serving in the US Army at Washington, and the US had entered World War 1. As the climate proved too much for Gonzalez’s health, Watt retired and took her back to South California.
Sadly, at the age of 27, she passed away during the worldwide Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 in LA at 908 West Thirtieth Street while staying with her parents.
Myrtle Gonzalez was a leading Latina film actress who worked hard during World War I, one of the most unsettling periods in American history. But her passing served as an important reminder that despite the fact that happiness and sorrow can happen without warning, even in times of extreme difficulties, the effect of a life completely lived is never reduced by death.