Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman
Born: 23 May 1883, Denver CO.
Died: 12 December 1939.
Buried: Hollywood, CA
Douglas Fairbanks came from a dysfunctional family: his father, a drunk with the last name Ulman, abandoned his family when Douglas was aged 5, and he was raised by his mother, who changed his last name to Fairbanks – the name of her own ex-husband!
By his late teens, Douglas was an in-demand actor on the Denver stage, and in 1900 the family moved to New York, where Douglas began to appear in small roles on Broadway.
Douglas’ career took many years to take off, but he was finally offered a $104,000 contract by the Triangle Film Corporation in 1914. In preparation for this new direction, Douglas and his family moved to Hollywood in 1915.
Initially mentored by D.W. Griffith (who had his own production company, the Fine Arts Film Company, under the Triangle umbrella), Douglas quickly found success as a very athletic comedic actor, churning out 28 films from 1915-1919. It was in this latter year that Douglas, together with his mistress Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Griffith, formed United Artists. The first film produced by the new company was Fairbanks’ own His Majesty, the American.
The next year, 1920, Fairbanks divorced his wife of 22 years (he had married Anna Beth Sully in 1907), and married Mary Pickford. It was also in this year that Fairbanks’ career took a hard turn, when he made The Mark of Zorro, and from this point forward, Fairbanks was an action and adventure hero, rather than a comedian. It was over the remainder of the silent era that Fairbanks made his most famous movies, including Robin Hood (1922), The Thief of Bagdad (1924), and The Black Pirate (1926).
The aging Douglas Fairbanks retired from movies in 1933, divorced Mary the same year, and died in 1939 of a heart attack.
(Information in this post was adapted primarily from article by Tammy Stone, Douglas Fairbanks Sr.)
Silent Filmography of Douglas Fairbanks
Key to Studio names:
Fine Arts = the Fine Arts Film Company. This was D.W. Griffith’s own production studio, which made films under the Triangle Film Corporation banner. The Triangle logo appears at the beginning of most of Fairbanks’ films which were produced and released in 1915-1916.
DF Pictures = Douglas Fairbanks Pictures. Fairbanks formed this production company in 1917.
Elton = Elton Corporation.
|Lamb, The||1915/11/07||Fine Arts||Christy Cabanne||F||Seena Owen||n/a|
|Double Trouble||1915/12/05||Fine Arts||Christy Cabanne||F||Margery Wilson||Link||Film could use some restoration.|
|His Picture in the Papers||1916/02/13||Fine Arts||John Emerson||F||Link||No music.|
|Habit of Happiness, The||1916/03/12||Fine Arts||Allan Dwan||S||George Fawcett||Link||No music. Film appears in LOC list of silent features as 5-reeler.|
|Good Bad-Man, The||1916/04/21||Fine Arts||Allan Dwan||F||Bessie Love||Link|
|Reggie Mixes In||1916/06/11||Fine Arts||Christy Cabanne||F||Bessie Love||Link||No music; film quality not great.|
|Mystery of the Leaping Fish, The||1916/06/11||Triangle||John Emerson||S||Bessie Love||Link I|
|Link I: traditional score, but with ads.
Link II: untraditional score, but no ads.
|Flirting with Fate||1916/07/09||Fine Arts||Christy Cabanne||F||Jewel Carmen||Link|
|Half-Breed, The||1916/07/30||Fine Arts||Allan Dwan||F||Alma Rubens||n/a|
|Intolerance||1916/09/05||Triangle||D.W. Griffith||F||Link||DF with brief cameo appearance only, as "man on white horse".|
|Manhattan Madness||1916/10/01||Fine Arts||Allan Dwan||F||Jewel Carmen||Link||No music. Film included on LOC list of silent features as a 5-reeler, so video, at 29 minutes, may be abbreviated version.|
|American Aristocracy||1916/11/12||Fine Arts||Lloyd Ingraham||F||Jewel Carmen||Link I|
|Link I: with soundtrack, but lots of ads.
Link II: no music, but no ads.
|Matrimaniac, The||1916/12/16||Fine Arts||Paul Powell||F||Constance Talmadge||Link|
|Americano, The||1916/12/24||Fine Arts||John Emerson||F||Alma Rubens||n/a|
|In Again, Out Again||1917/04/30||DF Pictures||John Emerson||F||Arline Pretty||n/a|
|Wild and Woolly||1917/06/24||DF Pictures||John Emerson||F||Eileen Percy||Link||No music.|
|Down to Earth||1917/08/16||DF Pictures||John Emerson||F||Eileen Percy||Link||With optional Spanish CC.|
|Man From Painted Post, The||1917/09/30||DF Pictures||Joseph Henabery||F||Eileen Percy||Link||No music; film is ready for restoration.|
|All-Star Production of Patriotic Episodes for the Second Liberty Loan||1917/10||NAMPI||?||F||William S. Hart||Link|
|Reaching for the Moon||1917/11/17||DF Pictures||John Emerson||F||Eileen Percy||Link I|
|Link I: with music, but aspect is incorrect (stretched too wide).
Link II: correct aspect, but no music.
|Modern Musketeer, A||1917/12/30||DF Pictures||Allan Dwan||F||Marjorie Daw||Link|
|Headin' South||1918/02/25||DF Pictures||Allan Dwan,|
|Mr. Fix-It||1918/04/15||DF Pictures||Allan Dwan||F||Marjorie Daw||n/a|
|Say! Young Fellow||1918/06/16||DF Pictures||Joseph Henabery||F||Marjorie Daw||n/a|
|Bound in Morocco||1918/07/28||DF Pictures||Allan Dwan||F||Pauline Curley||LOST|
|Sic 'Em, Sam||1918/09/14||Paramount||Albert Parker||S||Sara Mason||n/a||Fundraiser for Liberty Bonds.|
|He Comes Up Smiling||1918/09/15||DF Pictures||Allan Dwan||F||Marjorie Daw||Link||Only surviving footage of film (about 11 minutes).|
|Arizona||1918/12/08||DF Pictures||Douglas Fairbanks,|
|Swat the Kaiser||1918||?||Joseph Henabery||S||Gustav von Seyffertitz||n/a|
|Knickerbocker Buckaroo, The||1919/05/25||DF Pictures||Albert Parker||F||Marjorie Daw|
|His Majesty, the American||1919/09/01||DF Pictures||Joseph Henabery||F||Marjorie Daw||Link|
|When the Clouds Roll By||1919/12/28||DF Pictures||Victor Fleming||F||Kathleen Clifford||Link||With optional Russian CC.|
|Mollycoddle, The||1920/06/13||DF Pictures||Victor Fleming||F||Ruth Renick,|
|Link I: with untraditional music, with ads.
Link II: no music, but no ads.
|Mark of Zorro, The||1920/12/05||DF Pictures||Fred Niblo||F||Marguerite De La Motte||Link I|
|Link I: piano accompaniment, no ads.
Link II: small ensemble accompaniment but with lots of ads.
|Nut, The||1921/03/06||DF Pictures||Theodore Reed||F||Marguerite De La Motte||Link||Probably could use a score more appropriate for an action-comedy.|
|Three Musketeers, The||1921/08/28||DF Pictures||Fred Niblo||F||Adolphe Menjou,|
|Robin Hood||1922/10/18||DF Pictures||Allan Dwan||F||Wallace Beery,|
Sam De Grasse,
|Hollywood||1923/08/19||Paramount||James Cruze||F||LOST||DF in brief cameo appearance only.|
|Thief of Bagdad, The||1924/04/11||DF Pictures||Raoul Walsh||F||Julanne Johnston||Link|
|Don Q Son of Zorro||1925/06/15||Elton||Donald Crisp||F||Mary Astor,|
|Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ||1925/10/08||MGM||Fred Niblo,|
|F||Link||Link is to archive.org.|
|Black Pirate, The||1926/03/08||Elton||Albert Parker||F||Billie Dove||Link||One of the earliest features filmed entirely in technicolor.|
|Gaucho, The||1928/01/23||Elton||F. Richard Jones||F||Lupe Velez||n/a|
|Show People||1928/10/20||MGM||King Vidor||F||n/a||DF in brief cameo appearance only.|
|Iron Mask, The||1929/02/21||Elton||Allan Dwan||F||Marguerite De La Motte||Link I|
|Link I: classical accompaniment.
Link II: traditional organ accompaniment.