William Farnum

William Farnum (July 4, 1876 – June 5, 1953) was an American stage and film actor. He was a star of American silent film cinema and became one of the highest-paid actors during that time.

William Farnum
William Farnum.jpg
Farnum in 1917
Born(1876-07-04)July 4, 1876
DiedJune 5, 1953(1953-06-05) (aged 76)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Years active1900–1952
Spouse(s)Mabel Eaton
(m. ??; div. ??)
Olive White
(m. 1906; div. 1931)

Isabelle Major
(m. 1932)
Children5(including Dorothy)
FamilyDustin Farnum
(brother)
Marshall Farnum
(brother)

BiographyEdit

Farnum was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but he grew up in Bucksport, Maine.[1]

One of three brothers, Farnum grew up in a family of actors. He made his acting debut at the age of ten in Richmond, Virginia, in a production of Julius Caesar, with Edwin Booth playing the title character.

He portrayed the title character of Ben-Hur (1900) on Broadway. Later plays Farnum appeared in there included The Prince of India (1906), The White Sister (1909), The Littlest Rebel (1911) co-starring his brother Dustin, and Arizona (1913), also with Dustin.[2]

In The Spoilers in 1914, Farnum and Tom Santschi staged a classic film fight which lasted for a full reel. In 1930, Farnum and Santschi coached Gary Cooper and William Boyd in the fight scene for the 1930 version of The Spoilers. Other actors influenced by the Farnum/Santschi scene were Milton Sills and Noah Beery in 1923 and Randolph Scott and John Wayne in 1942.[3]

From 1915 to 1952, Farnum devoted his life to motion pictures. While becoming one of the biggest sensations in Hollywood, he also became one of the highest-paid actors, earning $10,000 a week. Farnum's silent pictures: the western Drag Harlan (1920) and the drama-adventure If I Were King (1921) survive from his years contracted to Fox Films.

Personal lifeEdit

Married three times, Farnum was the father of screenwriter Dorothy Farnum with Mabel Eaton.[4] He had a daughter, Sara Adele, with his second wife, Olive White. He had three children with his third wife, Isabelle, named Isabelle, Elizabeth, and William Farnum Jr.[5]

Farnum died from uremia and cancer on June 5, 1953 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.[6][7] He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.[8]

On February 8, 1960, Farnum received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion pictures industry at 6322 Hollywood Boulevard.[9][10]

He was the younger brother of major film actor Dustin Farnum. He had another brother, Marshall Farnum, who was a silent film director who died in 1917.

FilmographyEdit

 
William Farnum at a piano in 1915
 
The Man Hunter (1919)

SilentEdit

SoundEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lowrey, Carolyn (1920). The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen. Moffat, Yard. p. 56. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  2. ^ "William Farnum". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Griffith, Richard, &Arthur Mayer, The Movies (Bonanza Books, 1957), pp. 98-99
  4. ^ The Los Angeles Times; October 17, 1927
  5. ^ "The Times-News - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  6. ^ "The Evening Gazette - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  7. ^ "The Times-News - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  8. ^ Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries
  9. ^ "William Farnum | Hollywood Walk of Fame". www.walkoffame.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  10. ^ "William Farnum". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  11. ^ Wenzell, Nicolette (April 3, 2016). "1919 movie 'The Lone Star Ranger' shot in Palm Springs". The Desert Sun. Gannett.

External linksEdit