Among the lesser lights who made early screen appearances in Ben-Hur were Gary Cooper and Clark Gable as uncredited Roman guards. Beyond these two men, the list of guards is noteworthy, but the list of uncredited slave girls is equally significant. While the names of many of the girls who toiled, twirled and danced as slaves have been lost, the list of those who have been identified is impressive. Among these actresses are:
Although they haven’t been officially identified, some speculate that Sally Rand, who was famous for her ostrich feather fan dances, and Fay Wray, who went on to greater things as the girl friend to King Kong, also made screen appearances as seductive slave girls.
The impact of the 1925 film version of Ben-Hur resonated throughout Hollywood and the film industry for years. It assured the survival of MGM as a major studio, it put “business” in the driver’s seat in show business as accountants and financiers took firm control of creative projects, and it gave countless numbers of struggling young actors and actresses precious time on screen as they rose from obscurity to become leaders in Hollywood for decades.
The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum celebrates and renews belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture.