Biography Author Matching "Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net" (Sorted by Birth Date Ascending)


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1. George Fawcett

Actor | Burn 'Em Up Barnes

A grand, stoic presence of the silent screen, George Fawcett was an immensely popular stage thespian both here and in London at the turn of the century. During his heyday his eloquence rivaled that of both Lionel Barrymore and John Barrymore. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he was a ...

2. David Torrence

Actor | Mutiny on the Bounty

David Torrence was the second child born out of eleven children to Henry Torrance Thomson and Janet Bryce. Davis given name was 'David Bryce Thomson." Born on Jan 17,1863 in Edinbough,Scotland. David's brother was character star 'Ernest Torrence' who was 15 years younger than David. Ernest was the ...

3. Harry Davenport

Actor | Gone with the Wind

Character fame on film came quite late for long-time stage actor Harry Davenport at age 70, but he made up for lost time in very quick fashion with well over a hundred film roles registered from the advent of sound to the time of his death in 1949. Beloved for his twinkle-eyed avuncular and/or ...

4. Fanny Belle DeKnight

Actress | Hallelujah

An African-American veteran performer who struggled in vain to build a film career following a top role in an early all-black musical, Fannie Belle DeKnight found herself in a dead end situation trapped in an unflattering, stereotyped role and her film career went nowhere. Best known for her ...

5. Ben Turpin

Actor | Yankee Doodle in Berlin

First of all, the cross-eyed comedian of silent days was not born that way. Supposedly his right eye slipped out of alignment while playing the role of the similarly afflicted Happy Hooligan in vaudeville and it never adjusted. Ironically, it was this disability that would enhance his comic value ...

6. Charley Grapewin

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

This old codger film favorite, born in 1869 (some reports say 1875), got into the entertainment field at an early age, first as a circus performer (aerialist and trapeze artist). When acting sparked his interest, he worked in a series of stock companies while writing stage plays that he himself ...

7. Claude Gillingwater

Actor | A Tale of Two Cities

A man so disagreeable on celluloid, Claude Gillingwater's characters seemed to subsist on a steady diet of persimmons. Fondly recalled as the cranky old skinflint whose seemingly cold heart could only be warmed by the actions of a cute little tyke, the tall and rangy Gillingwater invariably played ...

8. Henry Stephenson

Actor | Tomorrow at Seven

Stephenson was a firm, dignified, worldly presence in Hollywood's classic history-based films of the 30s and 40s. The tall British character actor Henry Stephenson could be both imposing and benevolent in his patrician portrayals, usually expounding words of wisdom or offering gentlemanly aid. He ...

9. Louise Closser Hale

Actress | Dinner at Eight

Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1872, character actress Louise Closser Hale (nee Louise Closser) began her acting studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC and Emerson College of Oratory in Boston. On stage from 1894, her first hit show was in George Bernard Shaw's "Candida" in 1903 on ...

10. Fred Stone

Actor | Alice Adams

Hardly remembered today, if at all, Fred Stone was once one of the most multi-faceted circus performers to hit turn-of-the century America. There seemed to be nothing he couldn't do--tightrope walking, acrobatics, clowning . . . you name it. This initial celebrity eventually led to his stellar ...

11. Grant Mitchell

Actor | Arsenic and Old Lace

You would think stage and film veteran Grant Mitchell was born to play stern authoritarians; his father after all was General John Grant Mitchell. But Mitchell would actually be better known for his portrayals of harangued husbands, bemused dads and bilious executives in 30s and 40s films. Born in ...

12. Helen Westley

Actress | Show Boat

Although she could on a rare occasion display a bit of kindness, or at least some kind of grouchy benevolence, Helen Westley had few peers on stage or film when it came to outright unpleasantness. A stern, indomitable presence, her characters offered unsolicited advice to anyone and everyone within...

13. Francis Pierlot

Actor | Bathing Beauty

Minor film player Francis Pierlot came to Hollywood in 1939 at the age of 63 with the notion that he would retire rather quickly. Instead he played a steady stream of small character roles in a film career that spanned well over a decade. Born July 15, 1875 in France, Pierlot came to the United ...

14. Elizabeth Patterson

Actress | Dinner at Eight

A dainty but nevertheless feisty character actress, southern-bred Elizabeth Patterson started her career over her strict parent's objections and became a member of Chicago's Ben Greet Players, performing Shakespeare at the turn of the century. This followed college at Martin College where she ...

15. Russell Simpson

Actor | The Grapes of Wrath

His grim, beady-eyed, sharp-nosed, weatherbeaten face was always familiar despite the small roles he appeared in. Every once in a while character actor Russell Simpson would stand out in a small scene, but his main purpose seemed to be adding rustic authenticity to his westerns or small-town dramas...

16. Constance Collier

Actress | Rope

In a career that covered six decades, Constance Collier evolved into one of Broadway and London's finest tragediennes during the first half of the 1900s. While the regal, dark-featured beauty who bore classic Romanesque features enjoyed a transcontinental career like a number of her contemporaries,...

17. Conway Tearle

Actor | Romeo and Juliet

This West Point-educated actor was a tall, dark and handsome American co-star who romanced some of the most illustrious femme stars ever to appear on the silent silver screen. Conway Tearle was born in New York City on May 17, 1878 to a family of entertainers. Christened Frederick Levy, his father,...

18. Bill Robinson

Soundtrack | The Shape of Water

Bill Robinson quit school at age seven and began work as a professional dancer the following year. Bojangles (the name referred to his happy-go-lucky ebullience) starred in vaudeville, musical stage and movies. He invented the stair tap routine and was considered one of the world's greatest tap ...

19. Franklyn Farnum

Actor | Sunset Blvd.

Boston-born Franklyn Farnum was on the vaudeville stage at the age of 12 and was featured in a number of theatre and musical productions by the time he entered silent films near the age of 40. He appeared to be at his most comfortable in the saddle, his career dominated mostly by westerns. Some of ...

20. Ernest Torrence

Actor | Steamboat Bill, Jr.

He was the man you loved to hiss. This towering (6' 4"), highly imposing character star with cold, hollow, beady eyes and a huge, protruding snout would go on to become one of the silent screen's finest arch villains. Born Ernest Thayson Torrence-Thompson on June 26, 1878, in Edinburgh, Scotland, ...

21. Louise Dresser

Actress | The Scarlet Empress

This knowing, plump-framed, strong-willed actress went on to play the gamut of emotions, from downtrodden, drunken ex-stars to self-controlled dowager empresses, in both silent pictures and early talkies. Grandly supporting the huge stars of her day (including Rudolph Valentino and Will Rogers), ...

22. Robert Warwick

Actor | In a Lonely Place

A prominent matinée stage and silent-film star with handsome features offset only slightly by a prominent proboscis, Robert Warwick was born and raised in Sacramento, California, as Robert Taylor Bien. The gift of music was instilled at an early age (he sang in his church choir) and he initially ...

23. Thomas Meighan

Actor | The Racket

Sadly, this once-popular silent screen star and older matinee idol for Paramount Studios, is all but forgotten today. Thomas "Tommy" Meighan was one of the rulers of the Hollywood roost, between the years 1915 and 1928. He was born in Pittsburgh, his father a president of a major manufacturing ...

24. Alla Nazimova

Actress | Eye for Eye

The grand, highly flamboyant Russian star Alla Nazimova of Hollywood silent films lived an equally grand, flamboyant life off-camera, though her legendary status has not held up as firmly as that of a Rudolph Valentino today.

Alla Nazimova was born Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon in 1879, in Yalta, ...

25. Lucile Watson

Actress | The Razor's Edge

Unsmiling character player Lucile Watson was one of Hollywood's most indomitable mothers of the 1930s and 1940s...and you can take that both ways. The archetypal matriarch who enhanced scores of plush, soapy, Victorian-styled drama, her prickly pears could be insufferable indeed and heaven help ...

26. Kathlyn Williams

Actress | The Rosary

Pioneer silver screen star Kathlyn Williams is primarily known as the spry blonde of the very first Hollywood cliffhanger, The Adventures of Kathlyn (1913), in which her real first name was used in the title. This accomplishment has resulted in many reference works mistakenly referring to her as an...

27. Charles Trowbridge

Actor | Tarzan and the Huntress

This veteran character and his younger brother, western actor Jack Rockwell, were born to American parents south of the border in Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1882. Charles Trowbridge was educated in Napa, California and Hawaii, then studied for his degree at Stanford University. He forsook a thriving ...

28. Edward Earle

Actor | The Innocence of Ruth

Canadian native Edward Earle was born in Toronto on July 16, 1882, and was raised and schooled there. His stage career took form in Canada with an early emphasis on musical comedy, and he later toured in vaudeville and stock in association with Belasco, DeWolf Hopper Sr., Marie Cahill and the ...

29. Leon Weaver

Actor | Arkansas Judge

The senior member of the popular musical comedy hillbilly trio The Weaver Brothers and Elviry, the musical saw-playing Leon Weaver popularized this and other novelty instruments as part of their Okie-styled shows. The team would eventually move from the Grand Opry stage into Republic Studio films ...

30. Sybil Thorndike

Actress | The Prince and the Showgirl

This distinguished theatrical tragedienne will be remembered forever if only for the fact George Bernard Shaw wrote his classic "Saint Joan" work specifically for her. Her over six-decade career allowed for a gallery of sterling, masterful portrayals, both classic and contemporary, performing all ...

31. Ludwig Stössel

Actor | From the Earth to the Moon

Born in Austria in 1883, Ludwig Stossel was an established theater presence (from age 17) in both his homeland and in Germany for decades, performing at one time or another for both Max Reinhardt and Otto Preminger. He made a handful of German silents beginning in 1926 and had moved with ease into ...

32. Tom Walls

Actor | A Cup of Kindness

Comedy farceur Tom Walls is indelibly associated with the popular Aldwych Theatre farces of the 1920s and 1930s. Born in 1883, this English gent was a former constable and jockey before making his stage debut in 1905. As the star and producer of a succession of witty spoofs typically denigrating ...

33. Polly Moran

Actress | Chasing Rainbows

She was one rowdy, no-holds-barred entertainer. Comedienne Polly Moran was considered second only to perhaps Louise Fazenda as Mack Sennett's funniest lady during her silent-era heyday. Born in 1883, Polly was made for vaudeville, touring all over the world, notably Europe. Sennett snapped her up ...

34. Marion Lorne

Actress | Strangers on a Train

Forever embraced as the mumbling, bumbling Aunt Clara on the Bewitched (1964) television series, endearing character actress Marion Lorne had a five-decade-long career on the stage before ever becoming a familiar TV household name.

Born Marion Lorne MacDougall on August 12, 1883 (other sources list ...

35. Roy Stewart

Actor | The Lone Star Ranger

Tall in the saddle, and dark and handsome to boot, he may be little remembered today when compared to a William S. Hart, Tom Mix or Hoot Gibson, but cowboy hero Roy Stewart was arguably one of the best known of the silent screen back then. While touring with the famous Floradora Girls, Stewart ...

36. Ned Sparks

Actor | Lady for a Day

Ned Sparks proved himself a top character support whose style would be imitated for decades to come. Although less remembered now, he was an inimitable cinematic player back in 1930s Hollywood. The nasal-toned, deadpan comedian Sparks was born Edward A. Sparkman in Guelph, Canada, and was raised ...

37. Raimu

Actor | La femme du boulanger

Orson Welles once called beloved, down-to-earth French character star Raimu (born Jules Auguste Cesar Muraire) "the greatest actor who ever lived." It is hard to argue the compliment of one genius to another. Raimu was born in Toulon, France on December 17, 1883 of very humble means. He began his ...

38. Forrest Taylor

Actor | Shadow of Chinatown

Minor American character actor Forrest Taylor was a veteran of the stage by the time he started appearing as a silent lead in both short and feature-length films. He went on to appear in hundreds of secondary "B" movies, although his name does not appear in a large percentage of them. Taylor was ...

39. Sophie Tucker

Soundtrack | The Great Gatsby

What becomes a legend most? For the beloved Russian-born entertainer Sophie Tucker, it was most definitely the live stage. The stage was her home. She fed off a live audience and it's what made her the sensation she was. Seeing her up close and personal was to get the very best of her. Movies and ...

40. Charles Winninger

Actor | Show Boat

Short, chubby-framed, twinkle-eyed, ever-huggable Charles Winninger was a veteran vaudevillian by the time he arrived in talking films. Born in a trunk to show biz folk in Athens, Wisconsin, on May 26, 1884, he was initially christened Karl Winninger. He left school while quite young (age 8) to ...

41. Godfrey Tearle

Actor | The 39 Steps

Godfrey Seymour Tearle was born in 1884, the son of British actor/manager George (Osmond) Tearle and American actress Marianne Conway (her second marriage). His father and uncle were first-generation acting Tearles, and his mother also came from a family of actors. It seems that Godfrey's destiny ...

42. Owen Moore

Actor | Betty in Search of a Thrill

Born in 1886, virile and dashing silent screen idol Owen Moore, equipped with incredibly handsome reddish and ruddy features, came to America with his family from Ireland at age 11. After some stage work, he entered films at the Biograph Studio in 1908 and appeared in many of D.W. Griffith's early ...

43. Florence Turner

Actress | A Welsh Singer

Widely publicized as "The Vitagraph Girl," dark-haired silent film actress Florence Turner was one of the screen's first celebrities to be called by the term "movie star." Born in New York City in 1885, she was pushed into the business at age 3 by an overzealous stage mother, performing on the ...

44. Russell Thorndike

Actor | Hamlet

Lesser known than sister Dame Sybil Thorndike but just as versatile, Russell Thorndike was a British actor who later turned author and novelist. Of the two, Russell had natural talent but lacked the fire. His first love was for the pen and, following WWI, devoted himself more and more to writing. ...

45. Myrtle Stedman

Actress | The Silver Horde

Born in Chicago in 1885, silent screen actress Myrtle Stedman's (née Lincoln) musical talents developed quite early, finding herself on stage at age 12 singing light opera in the chorus. She had progressed to singing leads in shows by the time she decided to abandon her music career altogether for ...

46. Andrew Tombes

Actor | Phantom Lady

You'd think with a last name like that, character player Andrew Tombes was doomed to play gravediggers in horrors or coroners in crime drama. Not usually, and when he did, it was often played for laughs. Born June 29, 1885 in Ohio, he was an athletic sort who played a lively, talented game of ...

47. Moore Marriott

Actor | Ask a Policeman

Largely forgotten today, comic actor Moore Marriott reigned supreme for a time in the 1930s alongside Will Hay and Graham Moffatt in British film farce. The trio came about by happenstance, but it was their audiences who insisted they reappear together again and again.

Born in 1885, Marriott started...

48. Dooley Wilson

Actor | Casablanca

"You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh; the fundamental things apply, as time goes by...". . The gentleman who crooned this now legendary tune for the morose Humphrey Bogart and moist-eyed Ingrid Bergman at Rick's Cafe Americain amid the bleak WWII backdrop was none ...

49. Spring Byington

Actress | You Can't Take It with You

The possessor of one of Hollywood's gentlest faces and warmest voices, and about as sweet as Tupelo honey both on-and-off camera, character actress Spring Byington was seldom called upon to play callous or unsympathetic (she did once play a half-crazed housekeeper in Dragonwyck (1946)). Although ...

50. Monte Blue

Actor | Key Largo

Stalwart, durable Monte Blue, a romantic leading man of the silent days, was born January 11, 1887, as Gerard Monte Blue (some sources indicate 1890, but his mother's application for his admission to the Soldier's and Sailor's Orphan's Home lists his birth date as January 11, 1887). Various sources...


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