Image of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Although he appeared in approximately 100 movies or TV shows, Douglas Elton Ulman--better known as Douglas Fairbanks Jr.--never really intended to take up acting as a career. However, the environment he was born into and the circumstances naturally led him to be a thespian. Noblesse oblige. The son of future silent era swashbuckling idol 'Douglas Fairbanks' and Beth Sully--the daughter of a very wealthy cotton mogul--was born in 1909 and soon proved a gifted boy. To the end of his life he remained a multi-talented, hyperactive man, not content to appear in the 100 films mentioned above. Handsome, distinguished and extremely bright, he excelled at sports (much like his father), notably during his stay at the Military Academy in 1919 (his role in Claude Autant-Lara's "L'athlète incomplete" illustrated these abilities). He also excelled academically, and attended the Lycéee Janson de Sailly in Paris, where he had followed his divorced mother. Very early in his life he developed a taste for the arts as well and became a painter and sculptor. Not content to limiting himself to just one field, he became involved in business, in fields as varied as mining, hotel management, owning a chain of bowling alleys and a firm that manufactured popcorn. During World War II he headed London's Douglas Voluntary Hospital (an establishment taking care of war refugees), was President Franklin D. Roosevelt's special envoy for the Special Mission to South America in 1940 before becoming a lieutenant in the Navy (he was promoted to the rank of captain in 1954) and taking part in the Allies' landing in Sicily and Elba in 1943. A fervent Anglophile, was knighted in 1949 and often entertained Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in his London mansion, "The Boltons". His film career began at the age of 13 when he was signed by Paramount Pictures. He debuted in Stephen Steps Out (1923) but the film flopped and his career stagnated despite a critically acclaimed role in Stella Dallas (1925). Things really picked up when he married Lucille Le Sueur, a young starlet who was soon to become better known as Joan Crawford. The young couple became the toast of the town (one "Screen Snapshots" episode echoes this sudden glory) and good parts and success followed, such as the hapless partner of Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar (1931) a favorably reviewed turn as the villain in The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) or more debonair characters in slapstick comedies or adventure yarns. The 1930s were a fruitful period for Fairbanks, his most memorable role probably being that of the British soldier in Gunga Din (1939); although it was somewhat of a "swasbuckling" role, Fairbanks made a point of never imitating his father. After the World War II, his star waned and, despite a moving part in Ghost Story (1981), he did not appear in a major movie. Now a legend himself, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. left this world with the satisfaction of having lived up to the Fairbanks name at the end of a life nobody could call "wasted". Date of Death 7 May 2000, New York City, New York  (heart attack)

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Dec 9, 1909 In New York City, New York, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie American Aristocracy 1916-11-11
Latest Project:
Movie Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies 2008-08-29
Known For
Poster of Hollywood
Poster of Accused
Poster of Union Depot
Poster of Our Modern Maidens
Movie Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies Himself (Archive Footage) 2008-08-29
Movie Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star Himself 2002-08-01
Movie Goldwyn: The Man and His Movies Himself (archive footage) 2001-10-07
Movie The Battle Over Citizen Kane Himself 1995-12-31
Movie Hollywood Uncensored Himself 1987-01-01
Movie Strong Medicine Eli Camperdown 1986-01-01
Movie George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey 1985-03-03
Movie Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage Himself (archive footage) 1983-02-25
Movie Ghost Story Edward Charles Wanderley 1981-12-18
Series Hollywood 1980-01-08
Movie The Crooked Hearts Rex Willoughby 1972-11-08
Movie The Funniest Man in the World Narrator 1967-11-13
Series ABC Stage 67 Unknown 1966-09-14
Movie Hollywood Without Make-Up 1963-07-01
Series Dr. Kildare Unknown 1961-09-27
Series This Is Your Life Unknown 1955-07-29
Movie Mister Drake's Duck Donald 'Don' Drake 1951-09-21
Movie The Costume Designer 1950-07-13
Series Your Show of Shows Unknown 1950-02-25
Movie State Secret Dr. John Marlowe 1950-09-11
Movie The Fighting O'Flynn The O'Flynn 1949-02-26
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20
Movie That Lady in Ermine Colonel Ladislas Karolyi Teglas / The Duke 1948-08-24
Movie Sinbad the Sailor Sinbad 1947-01-13
Movie The Exile Charles II 1947-10-17
Movie The Corsican Brothers Lucien Franchi / Mario Franchi 1941-11-28
Movie Safari Jim Logan 1940-06-14
Movie Green Hell Keith Brandon 1940-01-26
Movie Cavalcade of the Academy Awards Himself 1940-07-31
Movie Angels Over Broadway Bill O'Brien 1940-10-02
Movie Gunga Din Ballantine 1939-01-26
Movie The Sun Never Sets John Randolph 1939-05-31
Movie Rulers of the Sea David 'Davie' Gillespie 1939-11-08
Movie The Rage of Paris Jim Trevor 1938-06-09
Movie Having Wonderful Time Chick Kirkland 1938-07-01
Movie Hollywood Goes to Town 1938-07-07
Movie The Young in Heart Richard Carleton 1938-07-06
Movie When Thief Meets Thief Ricky Morgan 1937-01-01
Movie The Prisoner of Zenda Rupert of Hentzau 1937-09-03
Movie The Amateur Gentleman John Beverley aka Barnabas Barty 1936-04-26
Movie Accused Tony Seymour 1936-12-17
Movie Man of the Moment Tony Woodward 1935-09-01
Movie Mimi Rodolphe 1935-03-28
Movie The Rise of Catherine the Great Grand Duke Peter 1934-02-09
Movie Success At Any Price Joe Martin 1934-03-16
Movie Parachute Jumper Bill Keller 1933-01-28
Movie The Life of Jimmy Dolan Jimmy 1933-06-03
Movie Morning Glory Joseph Sheridan 1933-08-18
Movie Captured! Lieutenant Fred Digby 1933-08-19
Movie The Narrow Corner Fred Blake 1933-07-08
Movie Union Depot Charles 'Chick' Miller 1932-01-14
Movie It's Tough to Be Famous Scott 'Scotty' McClenahan 1932-04-02
Movie Love Is a Racket James 'Jimmy' Russell 1932-06-18
Movie Scarlet Dawn Baron Nikita 'Nikki' Krasnoff 1932-11-12
Movie The Stolen Jools Douglas Fairbanks Jr. 1931-04-04
Movie Little Caesar Joe Massara 1931-01-25
Movie I Like Your Nerve Larry O'Brien 1931-09-12
Movie Chances Jack Ingleside 1931-07-17
Movie The Dawn Patrol Douglas 'Doug' Scot 1930-07-10
Movie Loose Ankles Gil 1930-02-02
Movie Party Girl Jay Rountree 1930-01-01
Movie An Intimate Dinner in Celebration of Warner Bros. Silver Jubilee Himself 1930-08-01
Movie Outward Bound Henry 1930-09-17
Movie Little Accident Norman Overbeck 1930-08-03
Movie One Night at Susie's Dick Rollins 1930-10-19
Movie The Way of All Men Billy Bear 1930-09-07
Movie The Forward Pass 1929-01-02
Movie Fast Life Douglas Stratton 1929-09-01
Movie Show of Shows Ambrose in 'Bicycle Built for Two' Number (uncredited) 1929-11-21
Movie Our Modern Maidens Gil Jordan 1929-09-08
Movie The Power of the Press Clem Rogers 1928-10-30
Movie A Woman of Affairs Jeffry Merrick 1928-12-15
Movie The Barker Chris Miller 1928-12-09
Movie Man Bait Jeff Sanford 1927-01-18
Movie The American Venus Triton 1926-01-31
Movie The Air Mail Sandy 1925-03-15
Movie Stella Dallas Richard Grosvenor 1925-11-16
Movie Wild Horse Mesa Chess Weymer 1925-09-13
Movie American Aristocracy 1916-11-11
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