Roberta Wilson

Roberta Wilson

Known for: Acting


Roberta Wilson (1896–1977) was an American actress who appeared in several silent films. She had three sisters, and all the young women would eventually act in films. Roberta and her older sister Lois Wilson were born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while her two youngest sisters were born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1907, when Roberta was 11, the entire household moved to Birmingham, Alabama. Roberta and Lois would always regard Alabama as their home. Lois Wilson, the oldest of the girls, would end up experiencing the longest career in films, including both silent and sound pictures.

In 1915, Roberta was coaxed into acting by her older sister. After making several uncredited appearances, her career blossomed in 1916. By the end of 1916, she was receiving top billing, and the movie colony glitterati affectionately called her "Bobby." Her star was rising, and 1916 would become the most productive year of her entire movie career. During this time, Roberta and Lois became known as the "Alabama beauties." Roberta completed 24 movies between 1916 and 1918, with the bulk of the films being two-reel shorts. This first phase lasted until Roberta's marriage in 1918. She departed the silver screen at age 21 to concentrate on her marriage.

After the collapse of her first marriage, she reinvented her persona and became Diana Kane. She knew the name change was needed because her motion picture career always existed in the shadow of her famous sister Lois. Whenever the media listed Roberta Wilson or Diana Kane in print, the name was accompanied by parentheses and the phrase – sister of Lois Wilson. Roberta's film production in 1916 proved she needed no additional endorsements.

Between 1924 and 1927, she acted in eight feature films as Diana Kane. She received critical praise for all of her performances. Roberta Wilson worked in 31 movies between 1916 and 1927. This second stint of movie making came to a close with her second marriage in 1927. She would never return to the silver screen again in a credited role. Instead, she was content to focus her energy on charity work, children, entertaining, and preserving successful marriages.

Roberta's age seemed to fluctuate depending on the source. Many actors of this period and successive eras believed they would extend their careers by remaining youthful. In Roberta's case, the media of the period reported her birth year to be between 1896 and 1905. A verifiable birth certificate could settle the controversy, but the whereabouts of Roberta Wilson's actual birth certificate continues to be a mystery.


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Known For


Lois Wilson, Constance Wilson

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