John R. Cumpson

John R. Cumpson (August 30, 1866 – March 15, 1913) was an American stage and film actor. On Broadway, he appeared in Up York State in 1901.[2] With regard to his screen career, Cumpson appeared in at least 124 films between 1905 and 1912. A 1910 newspaper item described him as "the famous Swedish dialect comedian."[3]

John R. Cumpson
Portrait of actor John R. Cumpson, 1911.jpg
John Raymond Cumpson

August 30, 1866
DiedMarch 15, 1913 (aged 46)
Other namesJohn Compson
John R. Cumpson
Mr. Cumpson
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1901–1913
Spouse(s)Carrie Craft
(m.1898–1900, her death)[1]

Silent film star Florence Lawrence enjoyed working often with Cumpson at the Biograph Company in 1908 and 1909, although later, in an interview with Photoplay, she described him as essentially a humorless comedian:

"Mr. Cumpson was the most serious comedian I have ever known. Nothing was ever funny to him, and he never tried to be funny....When all the rest of the company would laugh at something he had said or did, he would become indignant, thinking we were making fun of him."[4]

Cumpson died of pneumonia and diabetes at Washington Heights Hospital in New York City. He was survived by a brother and two sisters.[5]

Film still of Cumpson (wearing hat) co-starring in the Biograph short Mrs. Jones Entertains (1909)

Selected filmographyEdit

Year Film Role Notes
1905 The White Caps
1908 Romance of a Jewess Customer
The Zulu's Heart Zulu warrior
The Call of the Wild Chinese servant
A Calamitous Elopement
Monday Morning in a Coney Island Police Court Justice McPheeney
A Smoked Husband Mr. Bibbs
1909 Mrs. Jones Entertains Mr. Jones
Mr. Jones Has a Card Party Mr. Jones
The Road to the Heart Chinese cook
Trying to Get Arrested Tramp
A Sound Sleeper Tramp[6]
Those Awful Hats Theatre audience member Alternative title: Those Darn Hats
The Lonely Villa "At the Inn"
1910 How Bumptious Papered the Parlor Bumptious
Two Men Miner
Bumptious as a Fireman Bumptious
1911 Mr. Bumptious, Detective Bumptious
Billy's Séance Billy
The Child and the Tramp 3rd tramp
1912 Percy Learns to Waltz Percy
A Millionaire for a Day Fred Dudley
How Shorty Won Out Shorty
A Case of Dynamite Jonathan Jay
Ferdie, Be Brave Ferdie


  1. ^ "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940", John Cumpson to Carrie Craft, 12 July 1898, database, New York Municipal Archives, New York. FamilySearch.
  2. ^ "John R. Cumpson". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Ole Olson". The Springfield News-Leader. Missouri, Springfield. March 2, 1910. p. 4. Retrieved April 14, 2018 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)  
  4. ^ Lawrence, Florence (in collaboration with Monte K. Katterjohn). "Growing Up with the Movies", part three of four, Photoplay (Chicago), January 1915, p. 105. Internet Archive, San Francisco, California. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  5. ^ "Sudden Death of J.R. Cumpson". The Buffalo Enquirer. New York, Buffalo. March 17, 1913. p. 10. Retrieved April 14, 2018 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)  
  6. ^ "The Sound Sleeper (1909)", catalog, American Film Institute (AFI), Los Angeles, California. Retrieved March 2, 2021.

External linksEdit