Rupert Julian

Rupert Julian (born Thomas Percival Hayes; 25 January 1879 – 27 December 1943) was a New Zealand cinema actor, director, writer and producer. During his career, Julian directed 21 films and acted in 7 films. He is best remembered for directing Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925),[1] he also directed The Cat Creeps (1930), a sound remake of The Cat and the Canary (1927),[2] which is now considered a lost film, with only two minutes of footage remaining in the 1932 Universal comedy short film Boo!.

Rupert Julian
Rupert Julian, silent films (SAYRE 4913).jpg
Julian in 1923
Thomas Percival Hayes

(1879-01-25)25 January 1879
Died27 September 1943(1943-09-27) (aged 64)
OccupationFilm Director, writer, producer, actor
Years active1915–1930
Notable work
The Phantom of the Opera, The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin, The Cat Creeps
Spouse(s)Elsie Jane Wilson
Parent(s)John Daly Hayes Jr.
Eliza Harriet Hayes


Born Thomas Percival Hayes in Whangaroa, New Zealand, son of John Daly Hayes (Jr) and Eliza Harriet Hayes. Rupert Julian performed on stage in his native country and Australia before emigrating to the United States in 1911, where he started his career as an actor at the Daly Theatre in New York and touring with Tyrone Power, Sr., and then worked in silent movies. He turned to directing in 1915, often directing his wife Elsie Jane Wilson (also a director), and earned a substantial sum for his film The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin, which he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the title role. This made him a star in Hollywood at the time, and opened doors to larger projects with Universal Studios.

He was assigned to complete Merry-Go-Round in 1923 when director Erich von Stroheim was fired from it. In 1924, he directed Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera, but left the production shortly before it was released. The studio hired another director to complete the filming, and changed the ending. Julian moved to Cecil B. DeMille's Producers Distributing Corporation for a series of films, but after directing The Cat Creeps and Love Comes Along (both in 1930), his career faded.

Rupert Julian died of a stroke in Hollywood, California at the age of 64 and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, in 1943. His wife Elsie died in 1965.

Selected filmographyEdit

Julian (right) with Ruth Clifford and an unidentified actor in The Fire Flingers (1919)

As actorEdit

As directorEdit


  1. ^ The Phantom of the Opera (1925) - IMDb, retrieved 15 January 2021
  2. ^ "The Cat Creeps". American Film Institute. Retrieved 14 January 2020.

External linksEdit