Myrtle Gonzalez Bio, Age, Career, Husband, Kids And Death

Myrtle Gonzalez, a real star of the silent movie days, made a big splash by being in a whopping eighty films in just five years, from 1913 to 1917. Even with all her amazing achievements, her hard work kinda faded away over time.

Born on September 28, 1891, in Los Angeles, California, USA, Myrtle had a Mexican-American family background, with roots going back to immigrants from Ireland and California. Her upbringing in this interesting blend of cultures has inspired her aspirations to succeed in the entertainment industry.

Myrtle used to perform in local theaters and churches, where her stunning soprano voice would often dazzle the crowds. A book by Rosa Linda Fregoso, “The Making of Social Identities on the Borderlands,” dives into Myrtle’s performances, highlighting how she was everywhere in the city, making a real impact.

Who is Myrtle Gonzalez?

Celebrated American actress Myrtle Gonzalez came into the world on September 28, 1891, and left us on October 22, 1918. Her claim to fame? The silver screen. Between 1913 and 1917, she poured her heart into at least 78 feature films and 66 silent-era short films.

Picture this: Myrtle Gonzalez sharing the screen with William Duncan, portraying the titular character Enid Maitland in the six-reel feature film “The Chalice of Courage” (1915). Quite the cinematic journey!

There’s a charming tale from a magazine writer who lovingly dubbed her “The Virgin White Lily of the Screen.” She tragically passed away from us in 1918, during the vicious Spanish flu pandemic. November 23, 1914, saw the premiere of “The Level,” one of her first compositions. In a touching tribute, the United States honored her on November 23, 2022, with a Google Doodle—a little but meaningful memento of her ongoing influence.

Myrtle Gonzalez Biography

Myrtle Gonzalez had a lifelong love for performing, starting with singing and dancing at local events from her early years. Director Thomas Ince discovered her incredible talent while she was shining on stage in a local theater production. Her incredible Hollywood adventure began when, at the age of 19, she made her film debut in the silent western “The Invaders” (1912). With roles in movies like “The Easter Lily” (1915), “The Serpent” (1916), and “One Law for Both” (1917), Myrtle continued to be a cinematic presence.

She attracted attention with her attractiveness and charisma, capturing audiences and winning her the charming moniker “La Única,” or “the unique one,” which is a credit to her exuberance and flawless comic timing.

Myrtle was a forerunner for women in the film business in addition to being a compelling performer. Myrtle bravely embraced dynamic characters who defied gender standards during a time when female actresses were frequently cast in stereotyped parts, making a lasting impression on the film industry.

Myrtle Gonzalez Early Life & Family

Myrtle Gonzalez Early Life

Myrtle Gonzalez was born into the caring arms of Manuel George Gonzalez and Lillian L. Cook. Her upbringing was steeped in the warmth of a close-knit family, with her father running a successful retail grocery business, while her mother, a former opera singer, once graced the stage with her melodious voice.

Growing up, Myrtle shared her childhood adventures with two siblings, Stella M. Gonzalez and Manuel G. Gonzalez Jr. In around 1910, she took a leap of faith into marriage with James Parks Jones, and together they welcomed a son, James Parks Jones Jr., into their lives. However, their paths diverged, and Myrtle found enduring love in 1917 with Allen Watt, an actor and director.

Their journey led Myrtle to step back from acting as she followed Allen, an officer in the US Army, to Camp Lewis in Washington State. Sadly, her health, troubled by a heart ailment, struggled to adjust to the harsh climate. Eventually, Captain Watt retired, and the couple settled in Southern California. Allen resumed his career at Universal, directing movies.

Their bond remained strong until 1918 when Myrtle Gonzalez bid farewell, marking the end of a chapter in their extraordinary love story.

Myrtle Gonzalez Education

Although the formal education of Myrtle Gonzalez remains undisclosed to the public, her early career paints a portrait of a woman with a diverse skill set. She kicked off her journey as a soprano, captivating audiences with her voice in church choirs and concerts. Sharing the stage with renowned actresses like Fanny Davenport and Florence Stone hints at a potential foundation in acting, suggesting that Myrtle might have received some training in both singing and acting.

It’s reasonable to assume that Myrtle Gonzalez underwent a combination of academic and professional learning to refine her abilities for both singing and acting. However, the specifics of her educational path remain elusive and are not extensively documented.

Ascent to Fame

In 1915, the Vitagraph feature picture “The Chalice of Courage,” starring Myrtle Gonzalez, became an enormous smash at the box office. She entered the role of a leading woman with this movie, which was a turning point in her career. Critics praised her performance. Following this success, Myrtle continued her journey with other noteworthy films like “The Little Sheriff” (1914), “The Secret of the Swamp” (1916), and “The Girl of Lost Lake” (1917).

Myrtle Gonzalez Career

The journey of the American silent film actress began in her teenage years, inspired by the influence of her mother and her innate talent. She dipped her toes into the world of entertainment by appearing in local vaudeville shows, musical productions, and took the plunge into films in 1913 with “The Yellow Streak,” showcasing her early grasp of the industry.

With successful silent films to her credit, her acting skills quickly gained acclaim, securing her a regular spot at Vitagraph. The turning point arrived in 1915 with the release of the Vitagraph feature film “The Chalice of Courage,” where Myrtle Gonzalez’s performance shot her to stardom, marking a significant box office triumph.

Despite the accolades and stability as a leading lady, her golden era in the industry was tragically brief, as she left us just two years later at the tender age of 27. She was a young prodigy in the field who made a lasting impression despite her childhood.

Myrtle Gonzalez is cherished as the bright light of the early 1910s, and her memory lives on. Her beauty, skill, and adaptability never cease to fascinate fans of silent films, guaranteeing her position in movie history for years to come.

Myrtle Gonzalez Husband

Myrtle Gonzalez’s life was touched by two marriages during her relatively brief journey.

Her first venture into matrimony was with James Parks Jones, a film producer and director, around 1910. Their union brought forth a son, James Parks Jones Jr., who entered the world in 1911. Unfortunately, the couple went their separate ways around 1915.

In 1917, Myrtle embarked on her second marriage with Allen Watt, an actor and director. The ceremony unfolded in Los Angeles on December 1, 1917. After tying the knot, Myrtle made the decision to step back from her acting career to accompany Allen to Camp Lewis in Washington State, where he served as a US Army officer. Unfortunately, the harsh climate posed challenges for Myrtle’s delicate health due to a heart ailment. Captain Watt, displaying unwavering devotion, opted for retirement, allowing them to return to Southern California. There, he resumed his work at Universal and immersed himself in directing.

Did Myrtle Gonzalez Have Any Kids?

Myrtle Gonzalez became a mother to a son named James Parks Jones Jr., who was born in 1911. This wonderful blessing came from her first marriage with James Parks Jones. The bond between Myrtle and her son filled their lives with cherished moments, creating an important chapter in her personal journey. Their family story, like so many others, reflects the beautiful intertwining threads of love and kinship that enriched Myrtle’s life alongside her achievements in the film industry.

Which Movies Did Myrtle Gonzalez Play?

Myrtle Gonzalez’s career was truly remarkable, starring in an impressive 80 films, starting with “The Yellow Streak.” Her time at Vitagraph stood out, especially for her collaborations with William Desmond Taylor. They appeared together in five movies between 1913 and 1914, ranging from comedies like “Her Husband’s Friend” and “Millions for Defence” to dramas like “Tainted Money,” “The Kiss,” and “Captain Alvarez.”

A significant moment in her career was November 23, the release date of one of her most acclaimed films, “The Level.” After her stint at Vitagraph, Myrtle moved on to Universal Studios, where she continued to shine in features such as “The Secret of the Swamp” and “The Girl of Lost Lake,” solidifying her reputation as a daring heroine in the industry.

Myrtle Gonzalez Personal Life

Myrtle Gonzalez Personal Life

Myrtle Gonzalez graced the world with her presence in Los Angeles, California, on September 28, 1891, born to Manuel George Gonzalez, a respected retail grocer, and Lillian L. Cook, a former opera singer renowned for her vocal talents. She shared her childhood with her two siblings, Stella M. Gonzalez and Manuel G. Gonzalez Jr.

In matters of the heart, Myrtle took her first step into marriage in 1910 with James Parks Jones, a prominent figure in the film industry as a producer and director. Their union brought forth the joy of their son, James Parks Jones Jr., born in 1911. However, love’s journey faced a twist, and the couple eventually parted ways around 1915.

Myrtle’s romantic tale took another turn in December 1917 when she exchanged vows with Allen Watt, an actor and director, in a heartfelt ceremony in Los Angeles. A unique chapter unfolded as Captain Watt, serving in the US Army, prompted Myrtle to retire from acting and accompany him to Camp Lewis in Washington State. Yet, the harsh climate proved challenging for Myrtle’s delicate health, leading to Captain Watt’s retirement. They returned to Southern California, where he resumed his work at Universal and immersed himself in directing. Their love story, woven with the threads of showbiz and romance, left an enduring imprint on Myrtle Gonzalez’s life.

Google Doodle for Gonzalez

On November 23, 2022, Google paid tribute to Myrtle Gonzalez with a Doodle, commemorating the 108th anniversary of the release of her renowned film, “The Level,” in 1914. The Doodle depicts Gonzalez in a familiar setting for her movie shoots—standing amidst three feet of snow in the forest. It served as a heartfelt homage to her lasting contributions to the film industry.

Challenges and Difficulties Faced as a Latina Actress in Hollywood

Navigating Hollywood as a Latina actress during the silent film era was far from easy. Myrtle Gonzalez, trailblazing as one of the initial Mexican-American actresses to achieve success in Hollywood, encountered a series of obstacles on her journey to stardom. In this segment, let’s delve into the hurdles she confronted and bring attention to the persistent systemic challenges that still affect Latina actresses in today’s entertainment industry.

Insufficient Representation

Latina actresses continue to face a significant hurdle – the frustratingly low representation both on and off the screen. Back in Myrtle’s time, the Hollywood scene offered very few opportunities for Latinx actors, tangled up in biased practices and a lack of diversity among those calling the shots in casting.

Regretfully, not much has altered. The hard fact is shown by recent research from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative: Latinx actors, who make up 18% of the US population, only received 4.5% of speaking roles in the highest-grossing movies from 2016 to 2019.

It’s important to know who is working behind the scenes as well as the faces we see on film. Merely 4% of writers and directors in the film business identify as Latinx. The situation is made worse by the persistent lack of diversity, which leads to sparse and frequently erroneous representations of Latinx characters in mainstream media.

Fewer opportunities For Starring Roles

Reaching prominent parts in Hollywood frequently feels like a glass ceiling for Latina actors. Latinas have been cast in supporting or lesser roles for the most part over the years, which has prevented them from having many chances to show off their abilities as main characters.

Myrtle Gonzalez, despite her immense popularity and praise in silent films, encountered this barrier firsthand. She was never given the chance to take on a leading role. Unfortunately, this pattern continues today, with only a select few Latinas achieving A-list status or being seriously considered for major film roles.

Unfair Treatment And Bias

In Hollywood, Latina actresses continue to battle against racism and discrimination. Myrtle Gonzalez, during her time in Hollywood, personally experienced the bias and unfair treatment that Latinx individuals often face. She often found herself in the line of fire from audiences who were unhappy to see a Mexican actress in leading roles instead of a white counterpart.

Unfortunately, these challenges persist today. Latinx actors frequently confront typecasting, being overlooked for roles based on their ethnicity or race, and enduring subtle but hurtful microaggressions on set.

Being a Latina actor in Hollywood means overcoming a unique set of obstacles. From fighting against prejudice and underrepresentation to bridging opportunity gaps and confronting overt discrimination, Latina actresses face structural barriers in their quest for recognition in the industry. Hollywood must confront these issues directly and take proactive steps to create fair and inclusive conditions for Latina actresses.

The Extraordinary Works of Myrtle Gonzalez

Myrtle Gonzalez had an incredible career, appearing in 80 films starting with “The Yellow Streak.” She gained recognition at Vitagraph, particularly for her collaborations with William Desmond Taylor. Together, Myrtle Gonzalez and Taylor starred in five movies between 1913 and 1914, including comedies like “Her Husband’s Friend” and “Millions for Defence,” as well as dramas such as “Tainted Money,” “The Kiss,” and “Captain Alvarez.”

One of Myrtle Gonzalez’s notable films, “The Level,” hit theaters on November 23. After spending some years at Vitagraph, she made the move to Universal Studios. There, she took on roles in features like “The Secret of the Swamp” and “The Girl of Lost Lake,” cementing her reputation as an adventurous heroine.

Awards And Memories Of Myrtle Gonzalez

Myrtle Gonzalez Awards

Even though her time in Hollywood was brief, Myrtle made a significant impact on the film industry, paving the way for future Latino actors.

Posthumous Awards

Even though she passed away at the young age of 27, Myrtle Gonzalez’s talent continued to be recognized.

  • In 1919, Photoplay Magazine honored her with a Bronze Plaque for her exceptional performance in “The Mexican,” considered one of her finest roles.
  • In 1920, Alma de Mexico magazine presented her with an honorary award, acknowledging her as “the most beautiful woman in Mexico.”

These awards highlight the enduring impact Myrtle had on audiences in both America and Latin America.

Effect and Influence on Next Generations of Latina Actresses

Pioneer of the silent cinema era Myrtle Gonzalez continues to influence next generations of Latina actors by paving the way for them. granted her rejection of the restricted Hollywood parts frequently granted to Latinx actresses during the silent cinema period, her influence is significant. At a time when the industry tended to stereotype Latino characters, Myrtle actively sought out diverse and nuanced roles, challenging traditional portrayals.

A notable example of her influence is evident in “The Curse of Capistrano” (1920), where she portrayed Lolita Pulido, breaking new ground as a Latina actress in a strong, independent role. Myrtle shattered gender norms, depicting Latinas as multi-dimensional individuals with agency and strength.

Her success served as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring Latina actresses, making her a role model for those who witnessed her triumph over discrimination. Myrtle’s legacy extends beyond her on-screen achievements; it lies in her courage to defy societal expectations, ultimately opening doors for others.

Myrtle’s impact also stems from her authentic on-screen portrayal of Latinx culture. In an industry where white performers often portrayed non-white characters, Myrtle set herself apart by representing characters from her own cultural heritage in a genuine manner. Her portrayals challenged stereotypes, injecting variety and authenticity into the screen.

Myrtle’s legacy endures in the diverse roles that contemporary Latina actresses now undertake, as they pursue careers with greater freedom from prejudice. The shift in the film industry towards more authentic and varied representations owes much to Myrtle’s trailblazing efforts to challenge and subvert Hollywood conventions.

Controversies About Myrtle Gonzalez

Like many celebrities, Myrtle Gonzalez encountered controversies despite her successful Hollywood career.

Blaché & Myrtle

One of the most notable controversies revolved around her involvement with director Herbert Blaché. During that period, Blaché was married to Alice Guy-Blaché, a trailblazer in cinema history. Despite his marriage, he engaged in an affair with Myrtle, ultimately resulting in his divorce from Alice in 1922. This scandal stirred significant attention in Hollywood, leaving an impact on both Blaché’s and Myrtle’s reputations.

Mexican American

Throughout Myrtle Gonzalez’s career, she grappled with an ongoing controversy surrounding her Mexican heritage. Despite being born in Los Angeles and having Spanish ancestors, she constantly faced discrimination based on her appearance and surname. In an era when Mexican Americans encountered numerous hurdles in Hollywood, Myrtle fought against being typecast into stereotypical roles such as “the exotic temptress” or “the fiery Latina.”


And there were whispers circulating about Myrtle’s romantic life. Acknowledged for her seductive attitude on location, she was romantically associated with many co-stars.

One of the rumored relationships centered on actor Francis X. Bushman, one of Hollywood’s leading stars of the time. Although never officially confirmed, their alleged romance sparked scandal, particularly since Bushman was married during that period.

Devoted to Foundation Giving

The legendary movie actress Myrtle Gonzalez helped women in Hollywood’s early days. In addition to her captivating roles in more than 78 silent-era motion pictures, she dedicated her life to philanthropic work, transforming nursing education, and fighting against racial prejudice. Despite her career being tragically shortened by the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918, Myrtle stands as a legendary figure, continuing to inspire contemporary artists. Her influence stretched far beyond the silver screen, influencing legislation on healthcare reform, police accountability, and incentives for renewable energy, leaving behind a lasting legacy of resilience and determination in pursuing one’s goals.

Considering Myrtle Gonzalez: Honors & Distinctions

Celebrated as the first Latin American cinema star, Myrtle Gonzalez is still a renowned actress whose influence can still be felt today. She pioneered the path for future Latina actors and left an enduring impression on the business despite her brief but exceptional Hollywood career.

This section examines the honors and memorials given to Myrtle Gonzalez. Despite her untimely passing at 27, her talent earned her posthumous recognition. In 1919, Photoplay Magazine honored her with a Bronze Plaque for her outstanding performance in “The Mexican,” hailed as one of her finest roles. In 1920, Alma de Mexico magazine bestowed upon her the posthumous title of “the most beautiful woman in Mexico.” These acknowledgements highlight Myrtle’s impact on audiences in Latin America and the United States.

A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a renowned award bestowed to those who have made noteworthy contributions to the entertainment business, was bestowed upon Myrtle Gonzalez in 1960.

Myrtle Gonzalez Net Worth

Myrtle Gonzalez Net Worth

Determining the precise net worth of Myrtle Gonzalez during the silent cinema period is like to piecing together a riddle with omitted details. Still, we may try to gauge her financial status based on her salary, reputation, and lifestyle.

In her peak, Myrtle Gonzalez was rumored to have made a cool $500 a week, a significant sum in the early 1910s. In addition to her salary, this included any bonuses, movie royalties, money from endorsement deals, and money from other employment.

Living the high life, Myrtle had many homes, fancy cars, and a penchant for going overboard with purchases of clothing, jewelry, and vacations.

Myrtle Gonzalez’s net worth is estimated to have dropped between $100,000 and $250,000 at the time of her death in 1918 based on her income and spending. That works out to be between $1.5 million and $3.75 million in today’s currency). Recall that this is only an approximate amount, and the real number may differ somewhat from the stated amount. But it does provide us with a window into Myrtle Gonzalez’s financial life in Hollywood.

Myrtle Gonzalez Death

October 1918, during the horrible global epidemic that hit the entire world, Myrtle contracted the Spanish flu. She died on October 22, 1918, at the young age of 27, in the security of her parents’ Los Angeles home. The film business and her loyal followers both felt a great loss after her abrupt departure.


Myrtle Gonzalez, a radiant force in silent cinema, etched her legacy with over 80 films, challenging stereotypes and paving the way for Latina actresses. Born on September 28, 1891, in Los Angeles, her spirited performances earned her the nickname “La Única.” Despite her untimely death at 27 in 1918, Myrtle’s impact endures, recognized with awards like the 1919 Bronze Plaque. Google commemorated her in 2022, emphasizing her timeless influence on Hollywood and inspiring resilience against discrimination. Myrtle Gonzalez remains a symbol of courage and determination, transcending the silent film era.

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