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The Violet Hopson Tribute Page

Alternative Bio A Filmography Wikipedia Entry
Cinema Feminism Another Bio

(Women and Silent British Cinema)

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Violet Hopson Book (from open source material)    

Postcard of actress Violet Hopson taken c 1920Violet Hopson (1887-1973) was a British actress born in Port Augusta, South Australia, Australia on 16 December 1887 as Elma Kate Victoria Karkeek, Violet Hopson being her stage name. Violet Hopson built a theatrical resume in her native Australia before appearing in her first movie in 1910.

She was five foot five inches high, had grey brown eyes and black hair - quite stunning in this picture from 1914.

Her earliest performances were with the Pollard Opera Company in Australia and New Zealand from 1898 to 1900. Arrived in the US in the early 1900's with her older sister Zoe and became popular in drama theatre, a few years later Violet worked in the British theatre's appearing in drama and comedy. Although Australian by birth she would become a star of English films and would in fact epitomize the typically demure English heroine. Her first movie was with the Cricks and Martin Film Company in 'Mr. Tubby's Triumph' a comedy directed by David Aylott and co-starring Johnny Butt in 1910.

Hopson was a major star of the silent era. She was popularly known by audiences as the "Dear Delightful Villainess" - an early example of typecasting in the movies, and the beginnings of the star system.

Read the text of an interview for The Picture Show, May 17, 1919 where she notably said "It is character that counts" when discussing the role of a villainess.

She was noted for her glamorous costumes, and appeared on London Underground posters and cigarette cards to boost her publicity (even if some of the "facts" were completely fabricated!). Her fame was international, including Winnipeg, Canada

Her career started at Hepworth Pictures along with Alma Taylor, Chrissie White, Stewart Rome, James Carew, Gerald Ames and John MacAndrews.

Violet Hopson.After appearing in numerous shorts, Hopson made her first feature film in 1913. She appeared in Trelawny of the Wells, a 1916 British silent romance film directed by Cecil Hepworth and co-starring Alma Taylor, Stewart Rome.

Her career suffered following the end of her marriage to actor Alexander Howitt Worcester, screen name Alec Worcester, (another Hepworth star) whom she married in Luton on 7 June 1909 aged 21. Her marriage certificate gives her name as Elma Kate Victoria Hopson. They divorced in February 1919 on the ground's of his adultery and desertion. They had two children Alexander Nicholas Howitt (who acted under the name Alexander Nicholas) born 1910 and Jessica Yvonne Howitt born 1913.

She co-starred with Stewart Rome in several films of the early 1920s, and was considered a pioneer in the film world of the 1920s being one of the first women to found her own production company - Violet Hopson Productions - in 1923. Here is an interesting analysis of this aspect of her life.

A rare surving film shows Violet Hopson visiting Dundee Fire Station, probably accompanied by Stewart Rome, in September 1920, when she would have been approaching the peak of her fame. Her fur coat certainly stood out from the more demure dress of the Scots who turned up to watch her, in this 5 minute amateur film. This little film provides a fascinating insight into the early days of firefighting technology - and shows a healthy disregard of health and safety at the same time!

in 1920 she wrote "Hints for the Cinema Actress" by Violet HOPSON Publisher Standard Art Book Company, 1920 Length 28 pages.

She was passionate about horse racing and championed women jockeys when this was a very new notion.

She appeared on the cover of Picture Show magazine, and many others too.

She later combined with Walter West, at Broadwest, completing many feature films. The Broadwest studios were initially at Esher, which allowed many Hepworth actors to travel from Walton on Thames to work there with a short journey - the cast list of many Broadwest films features actors that Hepworth would probably have considered his own. Later, Broadwest moved to Walthamstow. West, in his bankruptcy papers claimed to have married Violet. (Incidentally Walter West was also allegedly married to Alma Taylor - this never happened either!).

She kept her good looks throughout her career - this photo from 1931 is stunning.

Hopson also was well known to Ronald Neame and Walter Matthau (this needs checking).

A star in the silent era, she played only minor roles in talking films before retiring in 1933.

She died 21 July 1973 in Princess Louise Hospital, Kensington, London, the records naming her as Elma Kate Worster. She was cremated in Kensal Green Crematorium on 26 July 1973.


Violet Hopson Film Credits

Violet Hopson has no less than 118 recorded titles.

Film Titles: 1933 One Precious Year (Performer), 1932 Self Made Lady (Performer), 1929 Widecombe Fair (Performer), 1928 Remembrance (in person), 1926 Beating the Book (Performer), 1925 A Daughter of Love (Performer), 1924 The Stirrup Cup Sensation (Performer), 1924 The Great Turf Mystery (Performer), 1923 What Price Loving Cup (Performer), 1923 The Lady Owner (Performer), 1923 Beautiful Kitty (Performer), 1922 When Greek Meets Greek (Performer), 1922 The White Hope (Performer), 1922 The Scarlet Lady (Performer), 1922 Son of Kissing Cup (Performer), 1921 Vi of Smith's Alley (Performer), 1921 The Imperfect Lover (Performer), 1921 A Sportsman's Wife (Performer), 1920 The Romance of a Movie Star (Performer), 1920 The Case of Lady Camber (Performer), 1920 Kissing Cup's Race (Performer), 1920 Her Son (Performer), 1919 The Soul of Guilda Lois (Performer), 1919 The Irresistible Flapper (Performer), 1919 The Gentleman Rider (Performer), 1919 Snow in the Desert (Performer), 1919 Missing the Tide (Performer), 1919 In the Gloaming (Performer), 1919 A Daughter of Eve (Performer), 1918 The Woman Wins (Performer), 1918 The Snare (Performer), 1918 Sisters in Arms (Performer), 1918 My Son, My Son (Performer), 1918 A Turf Conspiracy (Performer), 1918 A Fortune at Stake (Performer), 1917 The Ware Case (Performer), 1917 The Ragged Messenger (Performer), 1917 The House Opposite (Performer), 1917 The Eternal Triangle (Performer), 1917 The Cobweb (Performer), 1917 The Blindness of Fortune (Performer), 1917 The American Heiress (Performer), 1917 The Adventures of Dick Dolan (Performer), 1917 Her Marriage Lines (Performer), 1917 A Munition Girl's Romance (Performer), 1917 A Gamble for Love (Performer), 1916/II Sowing the Wind (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Uncle (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Typewriter (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Tip (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Spanish Girls (Performer), 1916 Tubby's River Trip (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Rest Cure (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Good Work (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Dugout (Performer), 1916 Tubby's Bungle-Oh! (Performer), 1916 Tubby and the Clutching Hand (Performer), 1916 Trelawny of the Wells (Performer), 1916 The Marriage of William Ashe (Performer), 1916 The House of Fortescue (Performer), 1916 The Grand Babylon Hotel (Performer), 1916 Molly Bawn (Performer), 1916 Iris (Performer), 1916 Exploits of Tubby (Performer), 1916 Comin' Thro' the Rye (Performer), 1916 A Bunch of Violets (Performer), 1915 Things We Want to Know (Performer), 1915 The White Hope (Performer), 1915 The Shepherd of Souls (Performer), 1915 The Second String (Performer), 1915 The Recalling of John Grey (Performer), 1915 The Outrage (Performer), 1915 The Nightbirds of London (Performer), 1915 The Man Who Wasn't (Performer), 1915 The Man Who Stayed at Home (Performer), 1915 The Baby on the Barge (Performer), 1915 Sweet Lavender (Performer), 1915 Schoolgirl Rebels (Performer), 1915 Marmaduke and His Angel (Performer), 1915 Her Boy (Performer), 1915 Behind the Curtain (Performer), 1915 Be Sure Your Sins (Performer), 1915 Barnaby Rudge (Performer), 1915 All the World's a Stage (Performer), 1915 A Moment of Darkness (Performer), 1915 A Losing Game (Performer), 1914/II The Hunchback (Performer), 1914/I The Chimes (Performer), 1914 Unfit or, The Strength of the Weak (Performer), 1914 Two of a Kind (Performer), 1914 Time the Great Healer (Performer), 1914 They Say - Let Them Say (Performer), 1914 The Unseen Witness (Performer), 1914 The Terror of the Air (Performer), 1914 The Stress of Circumstance (Performer), 1914 The Schemers: or, The Jewels of Hate (Performer), 1914 The Quarry Mystery (Performer), 1914 The Man from India (Performer), 1914 The Kleptomaniac (Performer), 1914 The Heart of Midlothian (Performer), 1914 The Great Poison Mystery (Performer), 1914 The Girl Who Played the Game (Performer), 1914 The Cry of the Captive (Performer), 1914 The Bridge Destroyer (Performer), 1914 Memory (Performer), 1914 Life's Dark Road (Performer), 1914 Judged by Appearances (Performer), 1914 A Noble Deception (Performer), 1913/II The Vicar of Wakefield (Performer), 1913 Two Little Pals (Performer), 1913 The Law in Their Own Hands (Performer), 1913 The Jewel Thieves Outwitted (Performer), 1913 Drake's Love Story (Performer), 1913 At the Foot of the Scaffold (Performer), 1913 A Little Widow Is a Dangerous Thing (Performer), 1912 The Umbrella They Could Not Lose (Performer), 1912 The Stolen Picture (Performer), 1912 Love in a Laundry (Performer), 1910 Mr. Tubby's Triumph (Performer)

VIOLET HOPSON - PICTURE POST CARD SIGNED You can buy a beautiful image of Violet Hopson from the Gallery of History, Inc.


In the Newspapers

In the Daily Express edition of May 25th, 1921

Violet Hopson writes her own column on the failings of English actresses (excerpt):

To be perfectly frank, both Mr. Walter West - the Broadwest producer and myself have made many efforts to "discover " promising British talent , but although we have given every possible encouragement to quite a number of English girls, the results have been distinctly disappointing. We have found, for instance, that girls who have been only too anxious to " walk on " in the early stages have become lazy, un-punctual, and unwilling to work at hours that might have been inconvenient to them' My own impression is that these girls are generally inspired by sheer vanity to seek "crowd " work, for they appear to be highly indignant if they are offered " c h a r a c t e r " parts where they do not " s c r e e n " as beauties, while few if any of them are willing to undergo the hard drudgery that is really necessary for them to learn their business from A to Z.


Where Are The Film Stars Of Yesterday?

OLD - TIME British film stars seem to have been completely forgotten. Can you give me any information about (or do you remember such names as) Isobel Elsom, Fred Paul, Eileen Dennes, Poppy Wyndham, Guy Newall, Ivy Duke, Harry Agar Lyons, Walter Tennyson, Fred Groves, Violet Hopson, Cameron Carr, Mary Dibley?

I know Gregory Scott Is poultry farming in Surrey, and I heard that Florence Turner was taken to Hollywood by Norma Talmadge. Lionel Howard is dead, Stewart Rome still does film work. But what has happened to Henry Victor and Warwick Ward, who played in "Vaudeville" ? And Jameson Thomas?

Is Eille Norwood who sets the "Daily Express" puzzles the man who once made a Sherlock Holmes film? Freda Hartley Isobel Elsom, Fred Groves, Harry Agar Lyons, acting in plays mostly in the provinces.

Walter Tennyson, directing. Guy Newall, Ivy Duke, no longer in films. Cameron Carr, Henry Victor, small part acting. Jameson Thomas, small-part acting in Hollywood.

Violet Hopson has run a beauty parlour and hat shop. Does small parts and crowd work, Fred Pond, crowd work. Poppy Wyndham (Hon. Elsie Mackav) perished in attempt to fly Atlantic with Captain Hinchcliffe in 1928.

Eille Norwood, Sherlock Holmes of screen and stage, compiles " Daily Express" crossword puzzles.

*A guinea goes to the writer of this letter

~Daily Express February 1st, 1936
 



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