Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (May 23, 1883 – December 12, 1939) was an American actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films such as The Thief of Bagdad, Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro.
An astute businessman, Fairbanks was a founding member of United Artists. Fairbanks was also a founding member of The Motion Picture Academy and hosted the first Oscars Ceremony in 1929. With his marriage to Mary Pickford in 1920, the couple became Hollywood royalty and Fairbanks was referred to as "The King of Hollywood", a nickname later passed on to actor Clark Gable. His career rapidly declined with the advent of the "talkies".
Fairbanks and Pickford separated in 1933, after he began an affair with Sylvia, Lady Ashley. They divorced in 1936, with Pickford keeping the Pickfair estate. Within months Fairbanks and Ashley were married in Paris.
He continued to be marginally involved in the film industry and United Artists, but his later years lacked the intense focus of his film years. His health continued to decline, and in his final years he lived at 705 Ocean Front (now Pacific Coast Highway) in Santa Monica, California, although much of his time was spent traveling abroad with Sylvia.
In December 1939, at 56, Fairbanks had a heart attack in his sleep and died a day later at his home in Santa Monica. By some accounts, he had been obsessively working out against medical advice, trying to regain his once-trim waistline. Fairbanks's famous last words were, "I've never felt better." His funeral service was held at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather Church in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery where he was placed in a crypt in the Great Mausoleum. He was deeply mourned and honored by his colleagues and fans for his contributions to the film industry and Hollywood.
Two years following his death, he was removed from Forest Lawn by his widow, who commissioned an elaborate marble monument for him featuring a long rectangular reflecting pool, raised tomb, and classic Greek architecture in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The monument was dedicated in a ceremony held in October 1941, with Fairbanks' close friend Charles Chaplin reading a remembrance. The remains of his son, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., were also interred here upon his death in 2000.

D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin (seated) and Douglas Fairbanks at the signing of the contract establishing United Artists motion picture studio in 1919. Lawyers Albert Banzhaf (left) and Dennis F. O'Brien (right) stand in the background

“Went up Town this morning  This afternoon I went over to Isaac Johnsons and got the heifer.  Quite a cold disagreeable day.”
Leesah

No comments:

Post a Comment