Douglas Fairbanks

Douglas FairbanksBorn: 23 May 1883
Died: 12 December 1939

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silent film actor and co-founder of United Artists Douglas Fairbanks was born on this day in 1883.

He began his career as a director in amateur theatre productions but after moving to Los Angeles he signed a contract with Triangle Pictures and worked with D. W. Griffith. His first film was The Lamb (1915), a role which raised his profile significantly.

By 1918 Fairbanks had become the most popular actor in Hollywood and the third highest paid, behind friend Charlie Chaplin and future wife Mary Pickford. At the time though the big film studios monopolised the distributors in an attempt to control the actors salaries. As a result Fairbanks, along with Chaplin, Pickford and Griffith founded United Artists in 1919 to protect their independence.

During his career Fairbanks made over 50 films including The Mark of Zorro (1920), Robin Hood (1922), The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and his last silent film The Iron Mask (1929). Whilst his career had flourished during the silent era, Fairbanks enthusiasm for film was dulled by the restrictions of the early talkies. His first sound film The Taming of the Shrew (1929) with Pickford was poorly received and after a few more failed attempts he starred in his last film The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) before retiring from acting.

Read more at The Internet Movie Database

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