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Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in San Francisco, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (fall from horse, uremic poisoning)

Mini Bio (1)

American actor-director-writer-producer of silent pictures, formerly a singer and vaudevillian. A native of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill, he was one of four sons born to Rocco Beban, a Dalmatian immigrant, and Johanna Dugan, from County Cork, Ireland.

He exhibited singing talent at an early age and was known in San Francisco theater circles as "The Boy Baritone." By age 8, according to a 1920 newspaper interview, "[his] first professional job was singing at $8 a week at the Vienna Garden on Stockton Street. Then came boy parts with the McGuire, Rial and Osborne stock company at the Grand Opera house and the McKee Rankin stock company at the old California, where I used the name of George Dinks."

After his father continued to block his career choice, getting him fired from every one of those jobs, he ran away from home at the age of 14. He appeared in light opera and on stage with vaudevillians Weber & Fields. He recalled in the same 1920 interview that, "Marie Cahill offered me my first chance on Broadway, when I was about 22, in her first starring vehicle, the musical comedy 'Nancy Brown,' at the Bijou."

He played in vaudeville and legit theater for a number of years, primarily doing caricatured Frenchmen, before making his film debut in 1915. In his play (later film) "Sign of the Rose," (A.K.A. "The Alien") and in Thomas Ince's "The Italian," he sought to change the stereotype of Italian immigrants as all being members of The Black Hand (mafioso).

He told the San Francisco Examiner in 1910 that he "learned how to imitate Italian speech and talk Italian dialect with a proper accent," from his childhood days spent teasing and stealing fruit from local Italian gardeners and grape growers. "Also that was where I first learned to appreciate Italian character, to recognize that honesty and industry and gentleness of spirit are its attributes."

He wrote and/or directed many of his later films, few of which survive.

He retired in late 1926 following the death of his wife, the stage actress Edith Ethel MacBride, and by midsummer, 1928, completed work on his dream home on a bluff overlooking the Pacific in Playa del Rey, California. His August 19 housewarming became international news when two guests, the Western star Tom Mix and the vaudevillian William Morrissey, duked it out over Morrissey's comment that Mix's horse, Tony, would have a career in the talkies, because at least he could snort, but what could Mix do?

Five weeks later, while vacationing at June Lodge Dude Ranch at Big Pine, California, Beban was thrown from a horse and seriously injured on September 29, 1928. He died in Los Angeles several days later, from the effects of the fall and from uremic poisoning. His remains were cremated.

He was survived by his 14-year-old son, George Beban Jr., who had appeared with his father (using the stage name Bob White) in a few films, and who would have a short career in the 1940's playing supporting roles.

George Beban, Sr. was the grandfather of the cinematographer Richard Beban, and great-granduncle of the screen and TV writer Richard W. Beban.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Richard Beban <beban@beban.org> & Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (1)

Edith MacBride (22 August 1890 - 10 December 1926) ( her death) ( 1 child)

Trivia (1)

Father of actor George Beban Jr..

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