Despite being a mediocre actress with less than classic beauty, Theda Bara was one of Hollywood's leading performers in the early years of cinema. Her success was mostly due to Fox Studio's publicity: they made her a screen vamp and used her to titillate the public. And Theda Bara, ambitious and nearing 30 when she made her first film, enthusiastically played the role. In real life, Theodosia Goodman bore little resemblance to the vampish Theda Bara character. But the studio-created persona, with the invented name, evil personality and fictional history, was a major star. Though her films were often trite, poorly acted, extravagant and crude, the public packed movie houses. But her film career ended once the public tired of the persona. Through contemporary newspaper accounts, film reviews, interviews and other sources, this is a comprehensive account of the life and times of one of Hollywood's first female stars.