Ben Lyon

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Ben Lyon (born February 6, 1901 in Atlanta , Georgia , United States , † March 22, 1979 near Honolulu , Hawaii , during a cruise through the Pacific ) was an American actor and later film studio manager.

Live and act

Lyon went to school at Baltimore City College and began his theater career at the age of 17 at the side of Jeanne Eagels . His early plays in New York City (including Broadway ) include Mary the Third and Wonderful Thing . He also stood in front of the film camera for the first time when he was 17, and Ben Lyon has regularly appeared in films since the early 1920s. Many of his silent films in that decade also enjoyed some popularity in Germany and Austria, so that he received an offer from Friedrich Zelnik to take on the male lead in his screen romance Das tanzende Wien at the side of Zelnik's wife Lya Mara . The film was shot in August and September 1927 both in Vienna (exterior shots) and in Berlin-Staaken (studio shots).

The actor with the distinctive center parting only made his breakthrough in his homeland with the dawn of the sound film age: with the role of Monte Rutledge in Howard Hughes' legendary aviator film Hell's Angels , in which Lyon, also an enthusiastic aviator in his private life, was a volunteer pilot during the First World War embodied, he was instantly known. Despite numerous follow-up roles - over the next five years he appeared in around two and a half dozen films, all of which were of minor importance - and great popularity among women, Lyon's career stagnated, and so he and his wife (from 1930) decided to take on actress Bebe Daniels (1901 –1971), to move to England in 1936. In London, he continued to work as a film actor, but made a name for himself above all as an entertainer on the radio and in music halls . His wife Bebe was a regular partner in his singing and dancing performances.

During World War II , Ben Lyon temporarily peaked in popularity when, unlike many other US citizens, he did not travel home to the United States in the face of the German threat, but stayed. In addition, he showed solidarity with the British by working for the BBC and volunteered as a bomber pilot with the Royal Air Force . In 1942, Ben Lyon was drafted into the 8th Army Air Force in the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel .

At the end of the war in 1945, Lyon returned to civilian life and was appointed Executive Talent Director at the London branch of 20th Century Fox . From 1946 to 1948 Lyon was employed in the same function in Hollywood. Then, until 1951, he was employed as assistant to the head of production in London. He returned twice more in front of the camera in 1953 and 1954 when Lyon starred in two British family comedies with his wife and two children Barbara and Richard. After Bebe Daniel's death in 1971, Ben Lyon married the actress Marian Nixon (1904–1983) in 1974 . He died of a heart attack in 1979 at the age of 78 while on a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth 2 across the Pacific.


  • 1918: The Transgressor
  • 1919: Open Your Eyes
  • 1921: The Heart of Maryland
  • 1923: Potash and Perlmutter ( Potash and Perlmutter )
  • 1923: Flaming Youth ( Flaming Youth )
  • 1923: The Swamp Angel ( Painted People )
  • 1924: Modern Youth ( Wine of Youth )
  • 1924: The Commander's Wife ( Lily of the Dust )
  • 1924: The daughter of the Foreign Legion ( Wages of Virtue )
  • 1924: You Boy ( So Big )
  • 1925: Gold Fever ( Winds of Chance )
  • 1925: Courage to Cowardice ( The Pace That Thrills )
  • 1925: Paradise Destroyed ( The New Commandment )
  • 1926: The Great Deception
  • 1926: Temptation of the Senses ( The Prince of Tempters )
  • 1926: The Savage
  • 1927: The dancing Vienna
  • 1927: Dance Magic
  • 1927: high hat
  • 1928: The aviator Legion ( The Air Legion )
  • 1929: The Quitter
  • 1929: The Flying Marine
  • 1929: Lummox
  • 1930: Hell's Angels ( Hell's Angels )
  • 1930: French Gertie
  • 1930: What Men Want
  • 1931: Hollywood jewel theft ( The Stolen Jools )
  • 1931: My Past
  • 1931: Indiscreet
  • 1931: Night Nurse
  • 1931: Bought
  • 1932: Lady With a Past
  • 1932: Hat Check Girl
  • 1932: The Big Timer
  • 1933: Girl Missing
  • 1933: Hyenas of the Sea ( I Cover the Waterfront )
  • 1934: Lightning Strikes Twice
  • 1934: Together We Live
  • 1935: Dancing Feet
  • 1936: Not Wanted on Voyage
  • 1937: Stardust
  • 1939: I Killed the Count
  • 1939: Confidential Lady
  • 1941: Hi Gang!
  • 1941: This Was Paris
  • 1942: The Dark Tower
  • 1953: Life With the Lyons
  • 1954: The Lyons in Paris


  • Kay Less : The film's great personal dictionary . The actors, directors, cameramen, producers, composers, screenwriters, film architects, outfitters, costume designers, editors, sound engineers, make-up artists and special effects designers of the 20th century. Volume 5: L - N. Rudolf Lettinger - Lloyd Nolan. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-340-3 , p. 153.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gerhard Lamprecht : German silent films, 1927-1931, p. 219