In today's Hollywood, producers, directors and stars such as Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford, control their movie projects, as does director and producer Steven Spielberg.
But in the silent era of movies, Lois Weber was every bit as powerful, as she wrote, produced, directed and starred in an estimated 200 to 400 films.* At one point she even owned her own movie studio.
At a time when U.S. women couldn't vote, had limited legal rights and little access to high paying jobs or advanced educations, Lois became a great example of what women could accomplish if given the chance.
Lois was born on June 13th, 1879 in what is now a part of Pittsburgh, and as a young woman she moved to New York and became a stage actress and a singer.
But Lois was determined to act, write, direct and choreograph plays, as she took an interest in every aspect of production and she mastered these arts. In 1912, widely respected for her stage work, Hollywood beckoned and she and her husband relocated.
Lois made movies and those movies were very popular, although sometimes controversial.
For some of her movies dealt with themes such as abortion, birth control and women's rights, as well as anti-Semitism and interracial relationships.
Lois filmed Hollywood's first woman's frontal nudity scene, experimented with color and sound in films and created new filming techniques.
From 1913 into the 1920's, Lois was one of Hollywood's most powerful people.
But as movie tastes changed and then talkies came in, Lois was one of many Hollywood silent era elite who did not make a successful transition and her career waned, as she made her last movie in 1934.
In November, 1939 Lois was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles with severe stomach pain and on November 13th she passed away from a bleeding ulcer. She was 60 years of age and she had no surviving children or grandchildren.
Although Lois is not well known to movie audiences today, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and she is highly respected by movie historians around the world for her remarkable body of creative work and her multi-faceted talents.