With Friends Like These: Week of September 24th, 1921

Exhibitors’ Herald, April 9, 1921

One hundred years ago, Grace Kingsley had yet another slow news week. The most interesting story she wrote was about a surprise wedding:

Climaxing a romance which resulted from their close association during the filming of The Affairs of Anatole, showing at Grauman’s Rialto at present, William Boyd and Ruth Miller, Famous Players-Lasky players, are on their honeymoon trip today. They were married Saturday night at the home of Sylvia Ashton. Though a good-natured prank, the wedding ceremony was performed a day ahead of the scheduled time.

Telling the bride that he wished them to pose for a picture, a friend of the pair induced Miss Miller to array herself in her wedding finery and stand at Boyd’s side for the photograph. The electric lights were switched off, then on again, and there stood a minister behind the couple, waiting to perform the ceremony, to which both the principles consented.

Kingsley concluded: “They did not announce to friends the destination of their honeymoon trip.” With friends like theirs, I’d keep it secret too! Who knows what they’d arrange for them, wherever they went.

Ruth Miller (and Gloria Swanson’s foot), The Affairs of Anatole (1921)

Ruth Miller and William Boyd both had uncredited roles in Anatole: Miller played a lady’s maid and Boyd a party guest. Their marriage lasted until 1924. Ruth Miller got married once more, in 1927 to cinematographer Blake Wagner, and stopped acting after the birth of their son. Wagner went on to become a make-up artist, which is an unusual career progression.

William Boyd

William Boyd’s life and career was even more eventful. He continued to work with Cecil B. De Mille, and in the mid-1920’s he became a leading man. Unfortunately, in 1931 a newspaper mistook him for another actor named William Boyd who was arrested, and his studio ended his contract. In 1935, broke and unemployed, he got the part of Hopalong Cassidy, and the films were a hit. More than sixty-five “Hoppy” movies were made. In 1948 he and his fifth wife bought the television rights to those movies and resold them to the new medium, making him one of the first national TV stars. The films’ popularity inspired a radio show, comic strip, and a big demand for product endorsements. In 1953 he sold all his interests in William Boyd Enterprises for 8 million dollars and retired to Palm Dessert.

Nevertheless, I’ve been noticing that Grace Kingsley has been sidelined more and more at work. As this is the least dull story I can find from this week, I think I need to change my blog schedule. Starting in October, I’m going to switch to posting twice a month so I’ll have more material to choose from. When Kingsley gets some interesting writing assignments, it’ll go back to weekly.


“William Boyd Dies at 77,” Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1972.

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