They began their own film company called ‘Ivy Close Productions’, and in 1914 Ivy starred in her first full length feature film, ‘The Lure of London’ – a great triumph. As the economy slowed as a result of the First World War, Ivy accepted a year’s contract acting in Florida, then the home of American film making. When her contract was up Ivy came home and had success with several films including the critically acclaimed, ‘La Roué’, which debuted in 1923.
In 1923 her beloved Elwin was killed in a motorcycle accident, leaving Ivy with two young children. Furthermore, with the new ‘talking’ movies now in production she struggled to find work. Her Stockton accent was considered unsuitable for American audiences.
As a result of these hard times Ivy’s son, Ronald had to leave education and get a job. First as an office boy at an oil company, then as a messenger boy for Elstree Studios. It was here he learned the business of film making and became an assistant cameraman for Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘Blackmail’ (1929).
Ivy died in a nursing home in Goring, Oxfordshire in 1968. A silent movie star, famed beauty and a fierce entrepreneur. Her career may have ended sharply, but she founded a dynasty of film and television making producers and directors, spanning four generations. The latest being Gareth Neame, Executive Producer of ‘Downton Abbey’. Gareth put a reference to Ivy in one of the episodes. Did you catch it?