Carla Laemmle Dead: Silent Film Actress, Niece of Universal Founder, Dies at 104

Carla-Laemmle
Toby Canham/Getty Images

Silent film actress Carla Laemmle, niece of Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle, died Thursday night in her Los Angeles home of natural causes, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was 104.

Laemmle was considered one of the last surviving performers from Hollywood’s silent film years.

Laemmle was born in Chicago but grew up in Hollywood on the Universal Studios lot after her uncle Carl Laemmle encouraged his brother Joseph to move the family to California from the Midwest in the early 1920s.

She appeared in at least 17 films, starting in 1925 with silent horror classic “The Phantom of the Opera,” in which she played a ballerina. She was the last surviving cast member of the film, which starred Lon Chaney Sr.

In her 20s, she watched as sound was integrated into film and uttered the well-known opening lines to another horror classic, 1931’s “Dracula,” starring Bela Lugosi.

During her later years she appeared several documentaries recounting Hollywood’s earliest years and the production of Hollywood’s classic movies.

Almost nine decades after she began in the business, Laemmle was still appearing on camera. Her last role was in “Mansion of Blood” currently in post-production.

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  1. Larry Gevirtz says:

    Carla Laemmle was an essential link to the whole history of moviemaking, active to the end. She will be missed.

  2. Daniel says:

    One of the last connectors to Hollywood’s great years. Rest in peace Carla Laemmle.

  3. peter says:

    Can you imagine what it was like living on the Universal Lot in the 1920’s!

  4. scb says:

    She lived a long life. Rest in Peace

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