She was born into a theatrical family, and remained active in the performing arts all her life. Carmelita Geraghty was expected to succeed, and lived out that promise.
She was born on March 21, 1901, in Rushville, Indiana. Her father, Tom J. Geraghty, was a noted actor, title writer, scenarist, and producer, who pioneered cinema excellence alongside the likes of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Mary Pickford, and Gloria Swanson. He died in Los Angeles on June 5, 1945. Her two brothers, Maurice and Gerald, would go on to become talented screenwriters. She, for her part, was a brunette beauty whose expectations were high from the dawn of her career: following her graduation from Hollywood High School, she undertook a career in acting, and was eventually named a Wampas Baby Star in 1924. The Wampus stars were, generally, ten up-and-coming female performers whose inclusion on the list usually meant a good head start towards stardom. Carmelita, by making this list, showed much promise.
She lived up to the expectations: Her career filmography includes some 55 films from 1923-1937, and she was in some important films, including Jealous Husbands (1923), in which she played fiery siren Carmen Inez; the first screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s immortal The Great Gatsby (1926), which won her praise for her role as Jordan Baker; What Every Girl Should Know (1927); Mississippi Gambler (1929), What Men Want (1930), and Manhattan Butterfly (1934). Her final known role was as Lolita in the 1937 drama Phantom of Santa Fe.
In her later years, Geraghty became a painter, and enjoyed a quiet and peaceful life with her husband, the talented screenwriter/producer Carey Wilson (best remembered as the executive producer of the “Andy Hardy” and “Dr. Kildaire” series of films). Wilson died in 1962. Four years later, on July 7, 1966, Carmelita Geraghty died, in New York, NY, at the age of 65. She rests in Section 8 of Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
As one of the recipients of the prized Wampus Baby Star honors, and the subsequent realization of a healthy career before the camera, Carmelita Geraghty lived out a dream, destined from birth: and, in so doing, she continues to provide new generations with an example of perseverance and self-belief, from which we all can continue to learn.