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Elaine Hammerstein

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Cause of death
Car accident

Elaine Hammerstein

Film actress

Oscar Hammerstein I

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June 16, 1897 (
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

August 13, 1948, Tijuana, Mexico

Paint and Powder, The Midnight Express

James Walter Kays (m. 1926–1948), Alan Crosland (m. 1925–1930)

Arthur Hammerstein, Jean Allison Hammerstein

Similar People
Arthur Hammerstein, Oscar Hammerstein I, Alan Crosland, Dorothy Dalton, Edward Dillon

"Reckless Youth" (1922) starring Elaine Hammerstein

Elaine Hammerstein (June 16, 1897 – August 13, 1948) was an American silent film and stage actress.


Elaine Hammerstein Welcome to the Starlight Archives

Musical lineage

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Elaine Hammerstein was the daughter of opera producer Arthur Hammerstein and the granddaughter of Oscar Hammerstein I. Her father once remarked he was more interested in his daughter's career than in his own. Hammerstein was Arthur's daughter by his first marriage, to Jean Allison Hammerstein. When the couple divorced, the mother did not ask for permanent custody of Elaine but instead requested that her daughter be allowed to choose for herself when she reached the age of maturity.


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Hammerstein is frequently reported to have graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1913, at the age of 17. In fact, there is no record in the college's archives of her having ever attended the school. In any case, she appeared in her first Broadway production that year. This was a musical entitled High Jinks, which featured actor Snitz Edwards. After school she was given a position in production work by her father. In 1915 she performed on Broadway a second time, in the The Trap. In the drama she acted opposite actor Holbrook Blinn.


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From this work Hammerstein went into motion pictures. She appeared in 44 movies from 1915 until 1926. Among her film credits are The Girl From Nowhere (1921), The Drums of Jeopardy (1923), Reckless Youth (1922), Broadway Gold (1923), and The Midnight Express (1924), opposite William Haines. With the latter film, the studio tried to promote Hammerstein and Haines as a couple, however, in real life, Haines was a gay man.


Hammerstein wed James Walter Kays in Los Angeles, California, on June 10, 1926. Kays was a Los Angeles fire commissioner and had also served as finance director for the California Democratic Party.

Upon her marriage, Hammerstein retired from acting. Her last film appearance is in the Columbia Pictures drama Ladies of Leisure (1926).


In August 1948, while returning from a trip to the Mexican border town of Tijuana, the Kays and three friends were traveling at high speed up a curving hillside road when they struck an oncoming car. The six occupants of the Mexican vehicle all survived with minor injuries, but Hammerstein and her companions were trapped when their car skidded off the embankment and tumbled down the hill. Hammerstein, Kays and their three passengers – Los Angeles residents Jane Shafer Richards, Gladys Goldie Hall, and Richard Garvey Jr. – were all killed.

At her death Elaine Hammerstein Kays was 51 years old and her husband was 66. They are interred at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

Selected filmography

More than half of Elaine Hammerstein's films are lost. This list identifies films that survive, in whole or in part.

  • The Face in the Moonlight (1915)
  • The Moonstone (World Film Corporation, 1915)
  • Beatrice Fairfax (serial, International Film Service, 1916; incomplete)
  • The Argyle Case (1917; lost)
  • The Co-respondent (Universal Pictures, 1917; fragment)
  • The Accidental Honeymoon (Warwick-Rapf, 1918; Library of Congress)
  • Her Man (Pathé, 1918; UCLA Film and Television Archive)
  • The Pleasure Seekers (Selznick Pictures, 1920; Lost)
  • The Woman Game (Selznick Pictures, 1920)
  • Greater Than Fame (Selznick Pictures, 1920)
  • The Miracle of Manhattan (1921)
  • Handcuffs or Kisses (1921)
  • The Way of a Maid (Selznick Pictures, 1921; Library of Congress)
  • One Week of Love (Selznick Pictures, 1922)
  • The Drums of Jeopardy (Truart Pictures, 1923; Library of Congress)
  • One Glorious Night (Columbia Pictures, 1924; Cinémathèque Royale, Bruxelles)
  • S.O.S. Perils of the Sea (Columbia Pictures, 1925; Library of Congress)
  • The Unwritten Law (Columbia Pictures, 1925; Library of Congress)
  • Paint and Powder (Chadwick Pictures,1925; Library of Congress)
  • Parisian Nights (FBO, 1925; fragment)
  • The Checkered Flag (Banner Productions, 1926; incomplete)
  • Ladies of Leisure (1926; Library of Congress)
  • References

    Elaine Hammerstein Wikipedia

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