Curly-haired Hollywood child star whose earnest presence, refined British diction and angelic looks established him as a boxoffice favorite in the 1930s and 40s. After a few minor roles in British fil...
Formed a little theater group on the West Coast and toured with it as an actor-director
Subject to a drawn-out court battle between his parents and aunt over his earnings; final court settlement allocated his earnings as follows: 10% to his parents, 5% to each of his two sisters, 10% to his aunt and the remainder set aside in a trust fund fo
Made final onscreen appearance, an interview for TNT's six-hour history of MGM
Film debut in "Toyland" shorts series (Great Britain)
Made performing debut at age four, reciting a poem at a church social; aunt took him on rounds of British film studios and helped him get bit parts
Joined Benton & Bowles advertising agency in NYC; rose to position of vice president; handled the company's involvement in "The Andy Griffith Show" and other show accounts
Became associate director of WPIX TV station in NYC in the early 1950s
Appeared in vaudeville and nightclub shows and performed in summer theater after WWII
Film acting debut in "Fascination" (Great Britain)
David O. Selznick, Louis B. Mayer's son-in-law, sent director George Cukor to England to cast title role of "David Copperfield" (Mayer wanted Jackie Cooper to star); Bartholomew's teacher Italia Conti recommended Bartholomew to Cukor; traveled with aunt t
Farmed out by parents to live with grandparents and aunt, Mylicent Mary Bartholomew, who raised him in Westminister, southern England; changed surname to his aunt's
Hollywood debut in title role of "David Copperfield"
TV debut in "Outward Bound"
Salary upped to $1000 after boxoffice success in Selnick's "Anna Karenina"
Aunt waged a court battle to wrest Bartholomew from MGM contract
Made final film appearance in "St. Benny the Dip"
Inducted into the US Air Force; served as a maintenance worker for a group of B-17 bombers in WWII
Turned to directing TV shows in USA
Aunt arranged contractual agreement whereby any money Bartholomew earned was divided between herself, his grandparents and a trust fund for him; parents were induced to sign the agreement
Curly-haired Hollywood child star whose earnest presence, refined British diction and angelic looks established him as a boxoffice favorite in the 1930s and 40s. After a few minor roles in British films, the ten-year-old was signed by MGM to star as Dickens's hero in David O. Selznick's production of "David Copperfield" (1935). He went on to play Greta Garbo's son in "Anna Karenina" (1935) and followed up with his two most popular roles: as the American boy who learns he is the heir to a dukedom in "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1936) and as a pampered rich brat who is rescued and educated by rough fishermen in Rudyard Kipling's adventure yarn, "Captains Courageous" (1937).
With a salary eclipsed only by that of child superstar Shirley Temple, Bartholomew was earning $2,500 a week by the late 30s, though his career began to wane after numerous court battles between his guardian-aunt and his parents over his earnings. After service in WWII he made a stab at a career in vaudeville and nightclubs before turning to TV, where he hosted a daytime program in the 1950s and then became associate director of a New York TV station. In the mid-1950s he again switched careers, this time joining New York's Benton and Bowles agency as an advertising executive.
Lillian Mae Llewellyn
Married until his death 1992
born in 1954; mother, Eileen Paul
raised Bartholomew; won custody battle with parents in 1936; was his guardian and adopted him by 1939; died in 1970
publicity director of little theater group Bartholomew founded in 1945; married in 1946; divorced in 1953
with wife, fought to regain custody of son in 1936; awarded allowances for their living expenses instead; had one leg shot off during WWI
employee of WPIX-TV in New York when Bartholomew worked there as associate director; married in 1953
Italia Conti School
"At times he was quite effective, although some critics found Bartholomew's screen work shrill, stiff, and verging on the emetic. But any chance of maturing as an actor was thwarted by a combination of his pretty face, his English background, and the whole "Fauntleroy" business which so sissified his screen image that he was turned down as a possible costar with Mickey Rooney in "Boys Town" (1938). Studio executives considered him too much the gentleman to be believable as a tough orphan. However, such a role would have been the change of pace that Bartholomew needed to catapult him into a credible teenage performer." --James Robert Parish and Ronald L. Bowers ("The MGM Stock Company", Arlington House, 1973)
"Little Lord Fauntleroy" typed Bartholomew as a dandy and made little boys across the country detest him when their mothers insisted they emulate him." --James Robert Parish and Ronald L. Bowers ("The MGM Stock Company", Arlington House, 1973)
Various sources say that Bartholomew was born Frederick Llewellyn and that he borrowed his aunt Millicent (or Mylicent) Bartholomew's surname.