Douglas Fairbanks Poster


Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (36) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (7)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 23 May 1883Denver, Colorado, USA
Date of Death 12 December 1939Santa Monica, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameDouglas Elton Thomas Ullman
Nickname Doug
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Douglas Fairbanks was born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman in Denver, Colorado, to Ella Adelaide (Marsh) and Hezekiah Charles Ullman, an attorney. His paternal grandparents were German Jewish immigrants, while his mother was from an Anglo family from the South. He was raised by his mother, who had separated from his father when he was five. He began amateur theater at age 12 and continued while attending the Colorado School of Mines. In 1900 they moved to New York. He attended Harvard, traveled to Europe, worked on a cattle freighter, in a hardware store and as a clerk on Wall Street. He made his Broadway debut in 1902 and five years later left theater to marry an industrialist's daughter. He returned when his father-in-law went broke the next year. In 1915 he went to Hollywood and worked under a reluctant D.W. Griffith. The following year he formed his own production company. During a Liberty Bond tour with Charles Chaplin he fell in love with Mary Pickford with whom he, Chaplin and Griffith had formed United Artists in 1919. He made very successful early social comedies, then highly popular swashbucklers during the 'twenties. The owners of Hollywood's Pickfair Mansion separated in 1933 and divorced in 1936. In March of that year he married an ex-chorus girl and retired from acting.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (3)

Edith Louise Sylvia Hawkes (7 March 1936 - 12 December 1939) (his death)
Mary Pickford (28 March 1920 - 10 January 1936) (divorced)
Anna Beth Sully (11 July 1907 - 30 November 1919) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Stunts: He did all his own, with one exception

Trivia (36)

Uncle of Lucile Fairbanks
Born at 9:00am-LMT- (MST).
One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
Performed most of the stunts in his films himself. He was an excellent athlete and used his physical abilities to his best advantage. However, there were instances when a stuntman was used (as proved by outtakes from The Gaucho (1927)), as these types of stunts were deemed too risky for the star.
Interred at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now called Hollywood Forever), Hollywood, California, USA.
He frequently requested that his name be listed last in the film credits.
Brother-in-law of Lottie Pickford and Jack Pickford.
Father-in-law of Joan Crawford.
Pictured on a 20¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the Performing Arts USA series, issued 23 May 1984.
Son-in-law of Charlotte Smith.
Was Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel's basis for the overall physical look of Superman.
The Hollywood mansion he and Mary Pickford owned was called Pickfair.
Hosted the very first Academy Awards in 1929 alongside William C. de Mille
First president of the AMPAS from 1927 to 1929
Founder of United Artists along with Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin and D.W. Griffith.
Suffered from depression as a child.
According to legend, the thing that sparked his interest in acting occurred when he fell off the roof as a young child and hurt himself.
Good friend of Charles Chaplin.
During his European honeymoon with Mary Pickford, the couple was greeted by crowds of up to 300,000 people in London and Paris, which made them Hollywood's first celebrity couple.
Son of Hezekiah Charles Ullman, a New York attorney, and Ella Adelaide Marsh, who previously was married to a man named John Fairbanks. Ullman left the family when Douglas was five years old.
Lived in retirement with Sylvia Ashley at 705 Ocean Front (now Pacific Coast Highway) in Santa Monica, California.
Among those in attendance at his funeral in 1939 were Viola Dana, Antonio Moreno, Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, and his son Douglas Fairbanks Jr..
After receiving bad French press for his role in the American version of The Three Musketeers (1921), he vowed "never to put a foot in France again" (July 1st 1921).
His father, a native of Pennsylvania, was a captain for the Union forces during the Civil War. His mother was a native Southerner with roots in Louisiana and Georgia.
President of Douglas Fairbanks Pictures Corp., formed in 1918.
His portrayal of Zorro was the inspiration for the iconic DC Comics hero Batman.
In 1908 on holiday he hiked across Cuba and made a walking tour of Yucatan.
In 1938 he formed a new company, Fairbanks-International, and announced his first production, "The Californian" would star his son, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The film was never made.
Although he had met Mary Pickford and her husband Owen Moore at Elsie Janis' Tarrytown (NY) home in 1914, the actress considered him brash. However, it was at a dinner dance at New York's Algonquin Hotel the following year that they danced and fell in love. It was not until 1920 that Pickford divorced Moore and married the swashbuckling star.
Gifted movie-fan President Woodrow Wilson with an early film projector, which Wilson used to watch a movie almost every afternoon in the White House when he was recuperating from a stroke in 1919. Soon after, Wilson's lawyer son-in-law William Gibbs McAdoo Jr. would serve as chief counsel to Fairbanks' fledgling United Artists company.
His paternal grandparents, Lazarus Ullman and Lydia Abrahams, were German Jewish immigrants. His mother had British Isles ancestry.
He was the visual inspiration for the original illustrations of the superhero Superman/Clark Kent (created in 1938). Fairbanks was 55 years old at the time, and he was modeled for the Superman identity (Clark Kent's identity was modeled after Harold Lloyd).
He had two roles in common with Errol Flynn: (1) Fairbanks played Robin Hood in Robin Hood (1922) while Flynn played him in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and (2) Fairbanks played Don Juan de Maraña in The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) while Flynn played him in Adventures of Don Juan (1948).
The first time he appeared on the stage, he had one line: "Stand back, my lord, and let the coffin pass," which he erroneously spoke as "and let the passon cough.".

Personal Quotes (3)

[last words] I never felt better in my life.
The man that's out to do something has to keep in high gear all the time.
[Referring to D.W. Griffith] D. W. didn't like my athletic tendencies, or my spontaneous habit of jumping a fence or scaling a church at unexpected moments which were not in the script. Griffith told me to go into Keystone comedies.

Salary (7)

The Lamb (1915) $2,000 /week
Double Trouble (1915) $2,000 /week
His Picture in the Papers (1916) $2,000 /week
The Habit of Happiness (1916) $2,000 /week
Flirting with Fate (1916) $10,000 /week
The Iron Mask (1929) $40,000
Reaching for the Moon (1930) $300,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page