Clara Kimball Young was an American film actress, who was highly regarded and publicly popular in the early silent film era.
Clarisa Kimball was born in Chicago; her parents Edward M. Kimball and Pauline Maddern were travelling stock actors. She made her stage debut at the age of three, and throughout her early childhood travelled with her parents and acted with their theater company. She attended St. Francis Xavier's Academy in Chicago and then was afterwards hired into a stock company and resumed her stage career, travelling extensively through the United States and playing various small town theaters.
Early in her career she met and married a fellow stock company actor named James Young. After sending a photograph to the Vitagraph motion picture studios Clara Kimball Young, as she was then known, and her husband were both offered yearly contracts in 1912.
In the new medium of motion pictures, and without much screen competition, Clara Kimball Young's star at Vitagraph rose quickly. Young was predominantly cast in one and two reel roles as the virtuous heroine. By 1913 she had become one of the most popular leading ladies at Vitagraph and placed at number seventeen in a public popularity poll. Unfortunately, many of Young's films from her early period with Vitagraph are now lost.