Douglas Fairbanks Junior

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Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1973), Photo: Allan Warren

Douglas Elton Ulman Fairbanks junior (born December 9, 1909 in New York City , † May 7, 2000 , ibid) was an American film actor and film and television producer.


His father was Douglas Fairbanks senior , one of the most famous silent film actors and co-founder of the film distributor United Artists , his mother was Anna Beth Sully. The parents separated when Fairbanks was ten years old. He then spent his youth with his mother in California . As a child, Fairbanks was seen in two films at the side of his father. At the age of 14 he was awarded a contract with Paramount Pictures , largely due to his well-known and famous name. He initially played minor supporting roles in second rate films, but was encouraged to continue filming by his greatest mentors, stepmother Mary Pickford and his father's friend, Charlie Chaplin . Occasionally, Fairbanks also worked for FBO .

In the last phase of the silent film era he achieved his breakthrough, which was not least due to his good looks. Like his father, he was often cast in adventure films, for example in Der Gefangene von Zenda (1937) alongside Ronald Colman , where he delivered one of his best film performances as the villain Rupert von Hentzau . He played, among other things, the friend of Edward G. Robinson in the gangster classic The Little Caesar (1931) and a Broadway writer in Dawn of Fame (1933) on the side of Katharine Hepburn . In addition, Fairbanks was seen as the male lead in numerous comedies such as Gauner mit Herz , Joy of Living and Whirlwind from Paris . In 1935 he started his own production company.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

In 1941 he went on a mission to South America at the behest of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt . When the USA entered the war, he was transferred to the staff of Lord Louis Mountbatten in Great Britain. He was then transferred back to the USA and was jointly responsible for planning the landing in North Africa ( Operation Torch ) under the command of Admiral Hewitt . On his idea, Admiral King brought the "Beach Jumpers" into being, which were specially trained for a landing. The program initially included almost 500 participants. Their task was to divert the enemy troops from the main landing in other places with small landing parties. Their main use was in Operation Husky , the landing of Allied forces in Sicily . Fairbanks was highly decorated for service in the United States at the end of the war. Great Britain, France and Italy also gave the actor high marks. Until 1954 he was in the reserve of the US Navy with the rank of captain.

Anglophile from the war , he spent most of the remainder of his life in England. At the same time he continued his acting career with films such as Sindbad the Seafarer (1947). From the 1950s he switched to work in the theater and on television, where he owned his own television series in the 1950s, among other things. In 1981 he returned to the big screen for the horror film Back The Fear Remains . By the late 1980s, Fairbanks had guest appearances on US television.

One of his closest friends was the famous British actor Laurence Olivier , whom he paid personal honor to in various contributions after his death. From 1945 to 1950 he was President of CARE International .

Private life

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was married to actress Joan Crawford from 1929 to 1933 . They married in New York City City Hall after his date of birth was postponed because he was actually a minor at the time. However, the split came after Crawford had a relationship with Clark Gable and showed no interest in his social engagement. Nevertheless, both remained close friends after their divorce. When the adopted daughter Christina Crawford's book Mommie Dearest was published, Douglas publicly stood by his ex-wife by stating that the Joan Crawford in the book was not identical to the Joan Crawford he knew.

In 1939 he married Mary Lee Epling, who died in 1988; with her he had three daughters: Daphne, Victoria and Melissa. In 1991, at the age of 81, he married the journalist Vera Shelton. He died of a heart attack on May 7, 2000 at the age of 90 and was interred at his father's side in Hollywood Forever Cemetery .

Filmography (selection)

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1987)


Web links

Commons : Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos | AllMovie. Retrieved October 20, 2017 .
  2. Information from the Federal President's Office