Jack Hoxie

John Hartford Hoxie (January 11, 1885 – March 28, 1965) was an American rodeo performer and motion picture actor whose career was most prominent in the silent film era of the 1910s through the 1930s. Hoxie is best recalled for his roles in Westerns and rarely strayed from the genre.

Jack Hoxie
Jack Hoxie.jpg
Hoxie, c. 1920
Born
John Hartford Hoxie

(1885-01-11)January 11, 1885
DiedMarch 28, 1965(1965-03-28) (aged 80)
Other namesJohn F. Stone
Hart Hoxie
Hartford Hoxie
John Hart Hoxie
Jack Hart Hoxie
Art Hoxie
OccupationActor
Years active1913–1933
Spouse(s)
Pearl Gage
(m. 1905; div. 1905)

Hazel Louise Panting (divorced)
(m. 1920; div. 1925)

Dianne Juanita Hodges "Dixie Starr" (divorced)
Bonnie Avis Showalter
(m. 1944)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Kingfisher Creek in Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma), Hoxie was the son of a veterinarian father, Bart "Doc" Hoxie, who was killed in a horse accident just weeks before Jack's birth, and a half–Nez Perce mother[1][2] (some reports list her as Cherokee), Matilda E. Hoxie (née Quick). After his father's death he and his mother moved to Northern Idaho where, at an early age, Jack became a working cowboy and ranch hand. Matilda married a rancher and horse trader named Calvin Scott Stone. The family then relocated to Boise, where Jack worked as a packer for a US Army fort in the area, continuing to hone his skill as a horseback rider while competing in rodeos. In 1905, aged 20, he married Pearl Gage. The marriage lasted only a few months before the couple divorced.[3]

In 1909 he met performer Dick Stanley and joined his Wild West show. He performed as bronco rider in the show.[4] It was during this period that Jack met and married his first wife, Hazel Panting, who was a Western trick rider with the outfit.[citation needed]

Film careerEdit

Hoxie continued to tour with circuit rodeos until 1913, when he was approached to perform in the Western drama film short The Tragedy of Big Eagle Mine.[5] Now billing himself as Hart Hoxie (a moniker he would use until 1919), he would continue working through the 1910s in popular Western shorts, often in small but well-received roles. In 1919, after appearing in approximately 35 films, he was cast in the starring role in the Paul Hurst-directed Lightning Bryce serials as main character Sky Bryce. Hoxie began billing himself as Jack Hoxie and used this name thereafter. It was during this time that he met and married his second wife, actress and frequent co-star Marin Sais, after his divorce from Hazel Panting. Although he rarely strayed from the Western film genre, several notable exceptions include his role as Perrone in the 1916 historical drama The Dumb Girl of Portici, starring Anna Pavlova; a role in the 1916 epic drama film Joan the Woman starring Geraldine Farrar; and his role as Sandusky in the 1917 drama Nan of Music Mountain, starring Wallace Reid and Ann Little.[3]

 
Hoxie in his first starring role in Lightning Bryce (1919) with Ann Little

Through the early 1920s Hoxie became an extremely popular western film star and worked for such film companies as Pathé Exchange, Arrow Film Corporation, National Film Corp. and Sunset Pictures. In 1923 Universal Pictures head Carl Laemmle put Hoxie under contract and soon his career was on par with that of other Western stars of the era: Art Acord, Harry Carey and Hoot Gibson. Hoxie appeared in such high-profile films as 1923's Where Is This West? with newcomer Mary Philbin and 1924's Universal promotional film Hello, 'Frisco, alongside such popular actors of the era as Jackie Coogan, Norman Kerry, Barbara La Marr, Antonio Moreno, Anna Q. Nilsson, Bebe Daniels and Rin Tin Tin. The film was designed to showcase Universal's roster of its most popular actors. Hoxie, often atop his horses Fender and Dynamite, would star alongside such actresses as Marceline Day, Alice Day, Helen Holmes, Louise Lovely, Lottie Pickford and Fay Wray in westerns throughout the silent era.

Also, during this period, Jack's younger half-brother Al Stone began to appear with him in films. Al would eventually become a successful actor in the western genre after changing his name to Al Hoxie and appearing in a series of films by actor/director J.P. McGowan.

In 1926 Laemmle and Universal chose Jack to star as Buffalo Bill Cody in Metropolitan Pictures' The Last Frontier, co-starring William Boyd. The film would prove enormously successful. In 1927, however, Hoxie became dissatisfied with his contract at Universal and refused to renegotiate for another stint at the studio. He would continue throughout the late 1920s making films with lower-rank film studios. He made his last silent film, Forbidden Trail, in 1929 before pursuing further work in circuit rodeos, carnivals and the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show.

Later lifeEdit

During the 1930s Hoxie made a brief comeback in films after signing a contract with low-budget studio Majestic Pictures. The films, however, did little to revive his acting career and he once again hit the rodeo circuit. His last film appearance would be in 1933's Trouble Busters with Lane Chandler, who had appeared alongside Hoxie in a number of earlier films.

Hoxie eventually divorced and married his third wife, Dixie Starr. The couple briefly operated the Broken Arrow Ranch, a dude ranch in Hereford, Arizona. After a fire consumed the ranch, Hoxie returned to Wild West shows, often billed as the "Famous Western Screen Star". Hoxie performed throughout the 1940s and well into the 1950s before finally making his last public appearance as a performer in 1959 for the Bill Tatum Circus.

Hoxie divorced Starr and married his fourth wife, Bonnie Avis Showalter, and the couple retired to a small ranch in Arkansas, then later moved to his mother Matilda's old homestead in Oklahoma. In his later years Hoxie developed leukemia, and he died in 1965 at the age of 80. He was interred at the Willowbar Cemetery in Keyes, Oklahoma [6] with the epitaph "A Star in Life - A Star in Heaven".

Selected filmographyEdit

 
Hoxie with Dorothy Gulliver in Outlaw Justice (1932)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Hoxie Brothers "Matilda, the mother of the two boys, was part Nez Perce Indian."
  2. ^ Profile, AllMovie.com; accessed June 27, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Katchmer, George A. (2009). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7864-4693-3. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  4. ^ Katchmer, George A. (2002-05-08). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. ISBN 9781476609058.
  5. ^ Cox, Mike (2011). Big Bend Tales. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61423-816-4. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Oklahoma USGenWeb Archives: Cimarron County. County Seat - Boise City". Archived from the original on June 28, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2017.

SourcesEdit

Hoxie Boys: The Lives and Films of Jack and Al Hoxie. by Edgar M. Wyatt, Wyatt Classics, Raleigh, NC. 1992.

External linksEdit