Richard Barthelmess

Actor, Producer
One of the bright lights of the silent era, Richard Barthelmess began in supporting roles and gradually worked his way up to lead parts. He hit the big time with D.W. Griffith's hit film "Broken Blossoms or the Yellow ... Read more »
Born: 05/09/1895 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (26)

The Mayor of 44th Street 1941 (Movie)

Ed Kirby (Actor)

Only Angels Have Wings 1939 (Movie)

Bat McPherson (Actor)

The Finger Points 1930 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Noose 1927 (Movie)

Nicky Elkins (Actor)

The Patent Leather Kid 1926 (Movie)

(Actor)

Way Down East 1921 (Movie)

David Bartlett (Actor)

Broken Blossoms 1919 (Movie)

(Actor)

Central Airport (Movie)

Jim Blaine (Actor)

Cock of the Air (Movie)

(Actor)

Drag (Movie)

David Carroll (Actor)

Heroes for Sale (Movie)

Thomas "Tom" Holmes (Actor)

Just Suppose (Movie)

Prince Rupert (Actor)

Massacre (Movie)

Joe Thunder Horse (Actor)

Midnight Alibi (Movie)

Lance McGowan (Actor)

Scarlet Seas (Movie)

Steven Dunkin (Actor)

Shore Leave (Movie)

"Bilge" Smith (Actor)

Son of the Gods (Movie)

Sam Lee (Actor)

Soul-Fire (Movie)

Eric Fane (Actor)

The Cabin in the Cotton (Movie)

Marvin Blake (Actor)

The Dawn Patrol (Movie)

Dick Courtney (Actor)

The Enchanted Cottage (Movie)

Oliver Bashforth (Actor)

The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come (Movie)

Chad Buford (Actor)

The Man Who Talked Too Much (Movie)

J.B. Roscoe (Actor)

Three Men and a Girl (Movie)

(Actor)

War Brides (Movie)

Arno (Actor)

Weary River (Movie)

Jerry Larrabee (Actor)

Biography

One of the bright lights of the silent era, Richard Barthelmess began in supporting roles and gradually worked his way up to lead parts. He hit the big time with D.W. Griffith's hit film "Broken Blossoms or the Yellow Man and the Girl" (1919), in which he gave a compelling performance as a Chinese man in love with a Caucasian woman (Lillian Gish). The following year, he reunited with Griffith and Gish for "Way Down East" (1920), the highlight of which featured Barthelmess risking his life for real by jumping from one unsteady ice floe to another in the midst of a winter storm. The New York native continued his string of successes with pictures like "Tol'able David" (1921) and was one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Although he made the transition to talkies, his popularity eventually began to wane. To try and ensure continued employment, Barthelmess underwent plastic surgery, but the procedure failed and left him scarred. After three years away from acting, Howard Hawks convinced him to return in "Only Angels Have Wings" (1939) and Barthelmess gave a strong turn with his facial imperfections in plain view at the director's request. Largely forgotten in later years, Barthelmess deserved the notoriety he gained at the height of his career and was also worthy of later celebration beyond the core of silent film enthusiasts who helped keep his memory alive.

Relationships

Stewart Barthelmess

Son
born to second wife and adopted by Barthelmess when they married

Mary Bradley

Daughter
mother, Mary Hay

Caroline Harris

Mother

Mary Hay

Wife
born in Fort Bliss, Texas on August 22, 1901 married in June 1920 divorced in 1926 died in Inverness, California on June 4, 1957

Jessica Sargent

Wife
married in 1929 survived him

EDUCATION

Trinity College

Hartford, Connecticut
quit to accept acting job; later awarded honorary degree

Milestones

1941

Joined the Naval Reserve

1941

Last film, "The Spoilers"

1939

Returned to film after almost four years to play supporting role in Howard Hawks' "Only Angels Have Wings"

1936

Appeared on the New York stage in "The Postman Always Rings Twice"

1929

Acted in his first talking picture, "Weary River"

1927

Received Oscar nomination for first film under acting contract to First National, "The Patent Leather Kid"

1926

Sold Inspiration to First National, though some films continued to be released as Inspiration productions

1920

Founded Inspiration Pictures which produced some 15 features in five years; 12 starring Barthelmess, eight directed by Henry King

1916

Film acting debut (bit) in serial, "Gloria's Romance"

1916

Discovered by Russian actress Nazimova while she was being taught English by his mother; cast in leading role opposite her in "War Brides"

Began film career as an extra

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