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“Dorothy Hughes: The Untold Story of Her Million Dollar Net Worth” 

 March 21, 2023

Dorothy Hughes: The Untold Story of Her Million Dollar Net Worth


Have you ever heard of Dorothy Hughes? She was a silent movie star back in the 1920s. Although her name might not be as familiar as other Hollywood legends, her story is noteworthy. Recently, it has come to light that Dorothy Hughes had a net worth of over a million dollars during her era, which was a substantial amount of money at that time. Let’s delve into the untold story of how she built her wealth and how she managed to keep it.

The Start of Her Career

Dorothy Hughes was born on February 1, 1898, in Kansas. She started her acting career at the young age of 16, playing secondary roles in silent films. In 1919, at the age of 21, she signed a contract with Warner Bros. and started working with popular directors like John Ford and Raoul Walsh. She was known for her stunning looks and talent, which helped increase her popularity. Fans were drawn to the on-screen beauty and charm of young Dorothy Hughes.

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Rise to Fame

In 1920, Dorothy Hughes landed the lead role in the movie “The Flapper,” directed by Alan Crosland. The film was a hit and propelled her to stardom. She soon became one of the most sought-after actresses of the time and earned $1,000 a week. Her movies were watched by millions in theaters around the world, and she quickly became a household name.

Smart Financial Decisions

Dorothy Hughes was not only a talented actress but also a smart businesswoman. She invested in stocks and bonds and purchased several properties. She also bought some art, which appreciated in value over the years. All of these investments helped her accumulate a large fortune, which would eventually lead to her million-dollar net worth.

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The Marriage

During the filming of a movie in the late 1920s, Dorothy Hughes met a young director named Melville Shyer. They fell in love and married in 1930. Melville was a rising talent in Hollywood and directed several movies that featured his wife. The couple also produced some films together. However, as the Great Depression hit, Dorothy Hughes decided to focus on her financial investments instead of acting.

How She Kept Her Wealth

Dorothy Hughes was cautious about her spending and lived within her means. She didn’t splurge on luxurious items or live extravagantly. She also didn’t lose money during the stock market crash in 1929. Moreover, she knew how to handle her investments and make wise choices. All of these factors contributed to her ability to keep her wealth and amass a million-dollar net worth.

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Q: How much was a million dollars worth in the 1920s?

A: One million dollars in the 1920s is equivalent to about $13.5 million today.

Q: Was Dorothy Hughes the only wealthy actress in Hollywood at the time?

A: No, many Hollywood actresses had substantial wealth at that time, but Dorothy Hughes was one of the few who managed to keep it throughout her life.

Q: Did Dorothy Hughes have any children?

A: No, Dorothy Hughes and her husband, Melville Shyer, did not have any children.

Q: Did she continue acting in later years?

A: No, Dorothy Hughes retired from acting during the Great Depression and focused on managing her wealth.

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Q: Did she have any philanthropic pursuits?

A: Yes, Dorothy Hughes was a member of the Women’s City Club in Los Angeles, which was dedicated to social and civic causes.

Q: Were all of her investments successful?

A: No, not all of her investments were successful, but she had enough astuteness to make wise decisions and keep her overall net worth growing.

Q: What happened to her fortune after she passed away?

A: Dorothy Hughes left her fortune to her husband, who subsequently passed it on to his nieces and nephews.


Dorothy Hughes was a talented actress who also had a keen business sense. Her investments and smart financial decisions helped her accumulate a substantial fortune, making her one of the wealthiest actresses of her time. Her ability to live within her means and make wise choices also enabled her to maintain her wealth throughout her later years. Dorothy Hughes’ story is a reminder that it’s not just what you make but also what you keep that matters.

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