100 Years Ago, Texas Saw One of the Most Tragic Filming Accidents
We know many movies were filmed in Texas, but you don't hear too many stories of accidents or deaths occurring while filming a movie. But that wasn't the case 100 years ago on November 29th, 1923 where one woman would be the victim of the craziest and saddest filming accidents in cinema history. This is the sad story of Martha Mansfield.
Who was Martha Mansfield?
Born in New York on July 14, 1899, Martha Mansfield was known for her vaudeville stage plays & roles in silent films like the 1920 adaptation of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, & Civilian Clothes. While sadly most of the films she starred in were lost, there DOES exist footage of her acting.
Martha would continue acting until 1924, where sadly our story takes a sad turn...
Martha Mansfield's filming accident in San Antonio, Texas
While filming for the movie The Warrens of Virginia, Martha, playing the role of Agatha Warren, was wearing a Civil War costume made of hoopskirts & flimsy ruffles. A crew member toss a match towards Martha & her costume, unbeknownst to her, would start to catch on fire. When Martha retired to her car, her clothing burst into flames.
The flames would be put out by Wilfried Lytell after he threw his overcoat on her to smother the flames. Martha was badly burned & she would be rushed to the hospital to attempt to save her. Tragically, she would die from the burns she received to her body & would die on November 30th, 1923. She was 24 years old.
You can even find the original newspaper article from the Meriden Morning Record from Dec 1, 1923 where they talked about Martha's passing.
Today, her story is still talked about; not just for what happened in Texas, but her story of becoming an actress in the 1920s and she's beloved today. YouTuber "silentmoviequeen" has uploaded many tributes to late actress in her honor.
R.I.P. Martha Mansfield, a young talent that the world lost way too soon...
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