'The man thats out to do something has to keep in high gear all the time!" ~ Douglas Fairbanks

His quote sums him up pretty well. He was always going! He was one half of 'Pickfair' fame and, unlike the other half, enjoyed it to the fullest!! The original Zorro, the original Robin Hood, the original 'star' animal advocate,  The original Musketeer...  The original Zorro... The original "Thief of Bagdad", and he did his own stunts..and was one of the 36 founders, and first president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences..(The Academy Awards)...and he had a swayyt & AWESOME friendship with Chaplin!! 👍

 

Stick em UP!!  FoSho!! 👍  Here is his story ... 

Douglas Fairbanks was born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman (at 10am EST, in case you were wonderin'), May 23rd, 1883 .. in Denver, Colorado. His mother was a sweet, homespun, Southern lady who loved to cook - and his dad .. a bitter attorney. (Ain't it something how ONLY with humans do 'bitter' & 'sweet', mix for a time??))

 

His parents split from each other when Douglas was 5.  At the age of 7 - he was in a school play, and loved it!  In school, he loved English and Literature, and would often entertain himself by converting that literature into playwrights.  By age 11, his mother, seeing his talent, enrolled him in theater, by age 12 he was teaching a wing of younger kids at the theater centre. His passion for acting on stage just got stronger over the years..

 

At age 17, he along with his mom, moved to New York where he joined 2 theaters, and worked odd jobs around NYC.  There he met and dated a lady named Anna Sully, who's father was an industrialist, & who went on to be wife #1, & the lady he'd have his only son, Jr., with... 

In 1902, he made his first appearance on Broadway .. his talent was missed and reviews were mundane. In July of 1907, he married Anna Sully and worked with her father. Following some terrible advice from the new wife and her father, he left theater to devote his full attention to his work in industrialism. Missing theater horribly, he returned to it in 1915 to the disdain of his wife and her father. It would result in Douglas dumping them both. (That's killing 2 evil birds with ONE stone, FoSho!! 👍) 

He landed at gig with D.W.Griffith in Hollywood.  There, he was working with Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford (whom he had an instant attraction to, and began a relationship with.  MARY, not CHARLIE, just to be clear... Doug & Mary, were both married, but separated at the time) He quickly shocked them all by doing his own stunts. Throughout his career he would perform all of his own stunts with the exception of one that proved too risky.  In 1919, his divorce from Anna Sully was finalized and he was determined to make Mary Pickford his wife - she was still married though.  He issued her an
ultimatum, she finalized her divorce and they were married on March 28, 1920.  They quickly became 'Hollywood's Royalty" couple and their estate, 'Pickford', became legend for extravagant dinner parties on a nightly basis.  Regular guests included Albert Einstein, W.C. Fields, Amelia Earhart, and other notables.  Foreign dignitaries, when they would visit the White House, would ask to visit Pickfair Estate

In May of 1927, Sid Grauman, (who was a MASTER showman & promoter - according to Chaplin in his autobio), opened a Chinese Theater in Hollywood & asked Doug and Mary to put their hands and feet in wet cement, as a promotion for his new theater.. They agreed & became the FIRST celebrities, to put their prints into the cement at the theater.. Thus, Grauman’s Chinese Theater's “Forecourt of the Stars was born.  Doug's prints remain there today - along with other celebrities thru the years.. Attracting over 5 million guests per year!!

 

Both Doug & Mary, were strong in their core belief, that films, "ought NOT have sound."  Because of their UNSHAKABLE belief in this - their film careers both began to fizzle - as more & more films were made, WITH sound..  Doug took to traveling overseas..A LOT!!  Something Mary didn't really enjoy..  Thus - she began to stay home at Pickfair as he traveled.. 

America was SHOCKED in the early 30's when news of an affair became public involving Doug.. The marriage went into separation mode, & became a public subject of a downward spiral, then finalized in divorce on January 10, 1936.  


The divorce left both of them in heartbreak.  Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, (son of Sr. from a previous marriage), once stated ... "I don't think dad or Mary ever got over the fact that they couldn't reconcile things."  

Douglas quit acting altogether, but still stayed involved with United Artists (always dear to his heart.) 

He moved out of Pickfair - into here.. On the 'Golden Coast."  Thru the gates, he walked.. Into the house.. Dining.. Game.. Deck.. Looking back.. Looking forward.. CHEERS!  Bath... OHH - I love reality!! 

 

At the Academy Awards 1938, Doug presented Darryl Zanuck the VERY first Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.   I look at this pic & wonder what must be going thru Doug's head!! He now LIVED RIGHT NEXT DOOR, to Irving Thalberg's home..

 

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.  He wasn't EXTREMELY obese.. As you can see here.. Taken about 9 months before his death..

 

Leave your virtual flowers and comments here!

RIP Douglas!!  Your presence in early film, set a standard still followed today!!

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now