She was never among the biggest, but she was a very pretty blonde charmer who played with Joan Crawford in the silent pictures that helped propel her into sound and who held her own against the torrid appeal of Ramon Novarro.
It was never, at least to me, quite clear just what she was up to (how much was ballyhoo, that is, and how much of her nonsense she really believed), but she was a valiant ambassador for her vanished age.
Art collides with Life? Anita meets Norma Desmond
She made a string of virtually unseen low-budget stinkers (I doubt her swan song, in this year's Frankenstein Rising, will displace anyone's fond memories of Our Blushing Brides) and generally had a ball playing the Grande Dame who was there when pictures were big. You can read more about her here, and you probably ought to.
As of today, we live in a world without anyone who attended the 1929 Academy Awards in it. That can't be good.