Virginia Daniels was born on January 14, 1901, in Dallas, Texas, and died on March 16, 1971, in London, England. Nicknamed Bebe when just an infant, she was the only child born to her parents, Danny and Phyllis Griffin Daniels.
Charming, beautiful, and gifted, Bebe began her career in the mid-teens with Harold Lloyd in his early Lonesome Luke comedies. She continued to work with Lloyd when he created his most beloved Glass Character. Following this success, she went on to greater heights with Cecil B. DeMille in such films as Male and Female (Famous Players-Lasky, 1919); Why Change Your Wife (Famous Players-Lasky, 1920), and The Affairs of Anatol (Famous Players-Lasky, 1921). She would go on to star with Rudolph Valentino in Monsieur Beaucaire (Famous Players-Lasky, 1924). In 1927, Bebe did a spoof of Douglas Fairbanks‘ The Mark of Zorro (United Artists, 1920) called Senorita (Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.). She later shared the screen with Fairbanks in his early talkie, Reaching for the Moon (United Artists, 1931). Incidentally, DeMille, Valentino, and Fairbanks are buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Bebe was a popular actress, not only with her fans but with her co-workers, as well. She could always make life fun, even under the most trying of circumstances. In 1921, at age 20, Bebe Daniels was arrested for speeding. Sentenced to ten days in jail, our Bebe made the most of her time behind bars, bringing with her such comforts as a Persian rug, catered meals from a Hollywood restaurant, and a constant stream of celebrity visitors. Without missing a beat, upon her release, Paramount made a film of her experience, aptly titled The Speed Girl.
Bebe was a popular musical star when the talkies began (she had a delightfully whimsical singing voice, and was prominently featured in the 1933 musical classic, 42nd Street), and continued to charm her audiences, as did matinee idol Ben Lyon (1901-1979), her costar in movies and radio, as well as becoming her husband off-screen in 1930. In the 1940s, Bebe, Ben, and their children Barbara and Richard, settled in England, where they became folk heroes, greatly due to their active participation in civilian war efforts. Bebe and Ben wrote an entertaining book together, which later became a radio series, called Life with the Lyons (1951). The radio show, eventually, grew into two theatrical films, and a television series, generally recognized as Britain’s first family situation comedy.
Bebe Daniels, and her husband Ben Lyon, rest together in a large niche, on the second story of the Columbarium, located behind the Chapel, at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Her contributions to the creative arts, her brave sense of citizenry, and her vivacious and lively personality, will live on, indeed, forever.