William S Hart
Serious-looking hero of silent westerns and the genre's first bona fide star. Beginning in 1914 Hart helped define the genre, insisting on authentic recreations of the "old west" and often leaning more toward character development than action. By the early 1920s his style had been superseded by more action-oriented westerns and his popularity began to decline. Hart later turned to writing, authoring several western novels and an autobiography, "My Life--East and West" (1929).