Helen Chandler (February 1, 1906 – April 30, 1965) was an American film and theater actress, best known for playing Mina Seward in the 1931 horror film Dracula.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Chandler began her acting career in New York City at the age of eight and was on Broadway two years later in 1917. Her early performances include Arthur Hopkins' 1920 production of Richard III, which starred John Barrymore, Macbeth in 1921 with Lionel Barrymore; Hedvig in Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck in 1925 and Ophelia in the 1925 modern dress version of Hamlet starring Basil Sydney. By the time of her first film she had been in over twenty Broadway productions. She made her film debut in 1927 in the silent film The Music Master and in 1930 joined Leslie Howard, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Beryl Mercer for Outward Bound, the film version of the stage success. The unusual story told of a group of passengers on an ocean liner who gradually realize that they are all dead and will soon face the Last Judgment. Chandler, with her blonde hair and ethereal quality, was considered to be perfectly cast, and she received critical praise for her performance. Chandler did not want to play the role for which she is probably best remembered, Mina in Dracula (1931); she wanted to play Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Nevertheless, Chandler joined David Manners and Bela Lugosi in what became one of the most successful movies made at that time. Chandler appeared with Manners that same year in the Lost Generation celebration of alcohol in Paris, The Last Flight, also starring Richard Barthelmess and John Mack Brown. She achieved more successes in A House Divided (1931) and Christopher Strong (1933), all the while dividing her time among films, radio work, and theater roles in Los Angeles, New York and London. She starred in British actor Will Hay's 1934 movie, Radio Parade of 1935 and played a role on Lux Radio in Alibi Ike with Joe E. Brown (1937). Among her later stage successes were Within The Gates in 1934, Pride and Prejudice in 1935, Lady Precious Stream in 1936 with then-husband Bramwell Fletcher, a reprise of her film role in Outward Bound in 1938 and various productions of Boy Meets Girl and Noël Coward's Tonight at 8.30
On February 14, 1935, Chandler married actor Bramwell Fletcher in Riverside Church in New York. She had previously been married to Cyril Hume, whom she divorced in 1934.By the late 1930s she was battling alcoholism and her acting career declined. She was hospitalized several times but was unable to gain control over her life. In 1950, Chandler was severely burned in an apartment fire, caused by her falling asleep while smoking. She survived but her body was badly disfigured. Her alcoholism continued unabated after the accident.
Movies & TV shows
Mr. Boggs Steps Out
A dull statistician changes his life after winning a pile of money after successfully determining the number of beans in a barrel. He decides to do something novel with the prize and ends up buying a ...
An elderly woman provides an alibi to a man she scarcely knows who is on trial for murder of his girlfriend's racketeer father.
Long Lost Father
A long-absent father is reunited with his daughter, who still holds a grudge that he had deserted his family years earlier.
Radio Parade of 1935
One of the first screen outings for Will Hay. Hay plays the Director General of the National Broadcasting Group (NBG) who hides away in his office unaware that the general feeling about his programmin...
Composer Franz Schubert--broke, struggling and unhappy--gets a break when a wealthy friend wangles him an invitation to a command performance in front of a princess of the royal family. Schubert perfo...
A man's wife is put on trial for the murder of his first wife.
A romance develops between a happily married middle-aged British politician and an adventurous young aviatrix.
Flirtatious mix-ups abound when a celebrated novelist tangles with an old flame and her suspicious husband. Will the author's savvy secretary, who's secretly in love with him, save his neck?
Young Nell loses everything and her father is sent to prison. She joins the Salvation Army and tries to redeem him when he comes out....
The Last Flight
Cary, Shep, Bill, and Francis are pilots during World War I. The four friends, haunted by the devastation of the war, head to Paris instead of home, where they meet Nikki, an eccentric and wealthy you...
A House Divided
A New England fisherman's (Walter Huston) second wife (Helen Chandler) prefers his son (Kent Douglass).
An Austrian soldier must choose between a wealthy fiancee and a new girl who takes his fancy.
A powerful and ruthless vampire named Count Dracula arrives in London to prey on young, socialite women. Standing in the vampire's way, is a group of concerned men and the enigmatic Dr. Abraham Van He...
Having raised four children alone, widow Mary Williams still manages to love her eldest son, vicious and sadistic Danny Williams, who has led a life of crime and now returns to inflict his insane beha...
Love and logging in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.
A group of strangers find themselves aboard an unmanned ship, surrounded by fog and uncertain of their destination. As they attempt to make sense of their situation, the group of passengers discover t...
The Sky Hawk
Jack Bardell, a British aviator in World War I, a dashing hero to all who know him, is discharged following an airplane crash that occurred under suspicious circumstances. Invalided to private life, t...
Young Irish lad Tommy O'Day lives in a poor section of New York's Lower East Side, and is blessed with a beautiful singing voice. After an argument with his father, who accuses him of stealing the fam...
A comedy-romance about rival brothers attending a military academy.
The Joy Girl
Though she loves one man, an ambitious Palm Beach girl marries another, whom she thinks is rich. He turns out to be a fraud who thought she was an heiress. She returns to a successful hat shop she mai...
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Helen_Chandler", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.