Who’s Buried in Catholic Cemeteries: Mona Darkfeather, Actress (1883-1977)

Mona DarkfeatherBetween 1910 and 1917, this actress appeared in some 109 movies, featured mainly as a Native American woman. Born Josephine Workman in California, she was of English, Scottish, Native American and Chilean descent. As a young woman she responded to a newspaper from Bison Pictures looking for women to play Native American characters. The company advertised as a full-blooded Blackfoot Indian princess, and she became famous in the movie world of the 1910’s as Princess Mona Darkfeather, famous for “leaping for leaping onto her pinto pony, ‘Comanche,’ and galloping away bareback.” She also played Spanish roles in several historical dramas. Some of her biggest successes of the era were The Massacre of the Fourth Cavalry (1912) and The War Bonnet (1914). Around this time a young director named Cecil B. De Mille offered a leading role in his first major epic, The Squaw Man (1914). Darkfeather refused because her schedule was too full. (The role went to an authentically Native American actress known as Red Wing.) In 1917, Darkfeather retired from the screen with her last film, The Hidden Danger. From there she tried theater, but to no great success. She lived some sixty years in relative seclusion until her death on September 3, 1977, at the age of 94. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, under her married name, Josephine Akley.

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