Mildred Kornman, one of the last people known to have acted in a silent film during the silent era, died on August 19 at the age of 97, according to longtime friend Robert Satterfield .
Cohnman starred in more than 20 “Our Gang” comedy shorts from 1926 to 1935, and was the last woman and third-to-last to survive from the silent era, and her career began with the silent era. It bridged the sound era.
The only two surviving figures believed to have acted in the silent film are Gary Watson (as a child) and Donnie “Beezer” Smith.
After “Our Gang”, Kornman appeared in 12 uncredited productions from 1937 to 1962. The moniker Ricky Van Dusen has graced the covers of Bazaar and Vogue, posed for Irving Penn and more.
Cornman has made numerous appearances at fan conventions over the years, where she was a favorite. “Everything gets more popular when you get older,” she opined in a 2015 interview with The Guardian.
Born July 10, 1925, Kornman was the sister of “Our Gang” star Mary Kornman. They were the daughters of stills photographer Eugene Kornman, who worked under silent superstar Harold Lloyd.
Nearly 100 years before her death, she made her screen debut at the age of one month in The Thundering Fleas (1926), but she was noted as a regular on Our Gang from 1926 to 1928. Her other credits in the series after 1930 were for her extra work.
After her acting and modeling career ended, Kornman took up her father’s profession: photography.