Born Alice Frances Taaffe in Vincennes, Indiana, she made her film debut in 1916 in Not My Sister, opposite Bessie Barriscale and William Desmond Taylor. That same year, she played several different characters in the 1916 anti-war film Civilization, co-directed by Thomas H. Ince and Reginald Barker. One of her most acclaimed performances came as “Marguerite” in 1921’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, starring Rudolph Valentino. In 1925 her husband co-directed Ben-Hur, filming parts of it in Italy. The two decided to move to the French Riviera, where they set up a small studio in Nice and made several films on location in North Africa, Spain, and Italy for MGM and others. In 1933, Terry made her last film appearance in Baroud, which she also co-directed with husband Rex Ingram. In 1921, she married director Rex Ingram during production of The Prisoner of Zenda (released 1922), which he directed and in which she appeared as Princess Flavia. The couple sneaked away over one weekend, were married in Pasadena, and returned to work promptly the following Monday.
During the making of The Arab (1924) in Tunisia, they met a street child named Kada-Abd-el-Kader, whom they adopted upon learning that he was an orphan. Allegedly, el-Kader misrepresented his age to make himself seem younger to his adoptive parents, and after he “began associating with fast women and fast cars throughout the San Fernando Valley”, Terry and Ingram sent him back to Morocco “to finish school.” Terry was known to have several gay male friends in the film industry, including Ramón Novarro (a former leading man of hers) and Barry Norton. During the 1930s, she accompanied Novarro to speakeasies with predominantly gay clientele, allegedly in part to throw off any suspicion about Novarro’s homosexuality. Terry and Ingram retired together in the 1930s. By all accounts, theirs was a happy marriage, though they often had separate bedrooms during their marriage and occupied separate retirement community bungalows at the end of their marriage. Nonetheless, they remained together until his death in 1950. After his death, Terry became romantically involved with actor Gerald Fielding, who bore a strong physical resemblance to her late husband. They were lovers until his death, at the age of forty-six, in 1956. Terry had a sister, Edna, who died in 1984. Terry died on December 22, 1987 of natural causes, and was interred in the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Alice Terry has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6628 Hollywood Blvd.
- July, 24, 1900
- Vincennes, Indiana
- December, 22, 1987
- Burbank, California
Cause of Death
- natural causes
- Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery
- North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California