Publicity photo of Ralston from Stars of the Photoplay (1924)
Jobyna Lancaster Raulston|
November 21, 1899
South Pittsburg, Tennessee, U.S.
January 22, 1967 (aged 67)|
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
|Resting place||San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles, California|
(m. 1927; div. 1946)
Jobyna Ralston (born Jobyna Lancaster Raulston, November 21, 1899 - January 22, 1967) was an American stage and film actress. She had a featured role in the first Oscar-winning film, Wings in 1927, but is perhaps best remembered today for her on-screen chemistry with Harold Lloyd, with whom she appeared in seven movies.
Ralston was born in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, in 1899 to parents who named her after famed entertainer of the time, Jobyna Howland. Ralston's mother, a portrait photographer, carefully groomed her daughter for a show business career.
At the age of nine she gave her first stage performance as Cinderella during the grand opening of the Wilson theatre/Opera House in 1909. Around 1915, Ralston attended acting school in New York. She later danced chorus and sang in Broadway productions, her first being Two Little Girls in Blue. This production marked her Broadway debut, when she was 21. Comedian Max Linder saw her on stage and persuaded her to go to Hollywood, where she appeared in a number of his films. She also co-starred in Humor Risk (1921), the fabled lost comedy short film that was to be the film debut of the Marx Brothers. Soon director Hal Roach began to star the actress in one-reel comedies. She abandoned the stage for the screen in 1922 when her mother's health began to decline, and she needed to make more money to help pay the medical bills.
In 1923 she was named by the film industry as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars. This award was given every year to the top up and coming female stars. This same year she starred with silent comedian Harold Lloyd in Why Worry?, and for the next five years appeared in six of Lloyd's feature films as his leading lady. It is for these performances and her onscreen chemistry with Lloyd that she is best remembered today. She would start the trend for romantic comedies with Girl Shy (1924).
As a freelance actress, Ralston co-starred with Richard Arlen, in the first Oscar-winning film, Wings (1927). She had a feature role in the film, which also featured Clara Bow, Gary Cooper, and Buddy Rogers. She would star in eleven more motion pictures, among them Special Delivery (1927) co-starring Eddie Cantor. Her film career ended after two early talkies when she became a mother. Her last talkie, Rough Waters (1930), found her acting with Rin Tin Tin.
Ralston was married twice, the first time to childhood beau John Campbell, the second in 1927 to actor Richard Arlen, whom she had met on the set of Wings. They had one child, actor Richard Arlen, Jr. The family appears together in Hollywood on Parade # A-4. Ralston and Arlen divorced in late 1946.
During the last five years of her life Ralston suffered from rheumatism and had a series of strokes. She died in 1967 from pneumonia at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. She was 67 years old and was survived by her son and a brother.