Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Born Today December 2: Doris Hollister

 


 1906-1990

 

Child actress Doris Ethel Hollister was born on this day in New York to actress Alice Hollister and cinematographer George K. Hollister Sr.; she was the older sister of fellow child actor George Hollister Jr.  She made her film debut in the Sidney Olcott early feature From the Manger to the Cross; or, Jesus of Nazareth in which her mother played Mary Magdalene. The film had a much larger uncredited cast than it did a credited one, she was just one of many who appeared without credit--which also saw her younger brother appear as Jesus as a child sans a credit; she was just 6 years of age when the film was filmed all over the middle east and north Africa in 1912. Her first film acting credit came the very next spring.  Again acting with her mother and younger brother, she played the daughter in the Robert Vignola short immigration drama The Alien, which was released in May of 1913 when she was still just 6. In all, she appeared in just seven films, none of them past the age of 7. All of her films were Kalem productions, and all, save for the first one, were shorts. Historically, the most well known of these films was an adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin; released in 1913--it featured an all white cast in blackface parts, of which her brother George was a member.  Her last film appearance came in the Kenean Buel directed western The Brand, which was released in August of 1914. As an adult, Doris was married for a time to extremely prolific animation director/producer Walter Lantz; they divorced in 1940.  She died in Tustin, California on the 26th of July in 1990 at the age of 83. She is reportedly interred not far from the ashes of her parents at the Iris Terrace of Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

 

Still from The Atheist (1913) with Tom Moore and Alfrede Handsworth

 


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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Born Today December 1: Cyril Ritchard

 

1898-1977

 

Australian born character actor (and occasional director) Cyril Ritchard (Cyril Joseph Trimnell-Ritchard) was born on this day in Surry Hills, Australia (a suburb of Sydney). Educated in Sydney by Jesuits and studied medicine at the Sydney University. He completed his studies and briefly went into medicine, but had a long love of non-professional acting and decided in 1917 to take that passion pro.  After a couple of years of fits and starts, he went on a professional tour in New Zealand as a dancer, where he and his dancing partner--one Madge Elliott--appeared in musicals. Sometime after 1918 he immigrated to the New York City area and took up stage acting there. In the mid-1920's he left the U.S. for the stage in London, reuniting with Elliot there; they would eventually marry some ten years later.  Though both of them were actors of the stage and Ritchard was also a talented director of stage production--especially comedy musicals--both did have film careers--his longer than hers. They both made their film debut in On With The Dance in 1927 while living in the UK. It is listed as a silent film, but it is also a lost film, so it is possible that it was some sort of early sound musical dance short (or possibly a "phonofilm" in which an accompanying disc was played along with the film at screening); it is equally possible that it was actually silent with proscribed soundtrack listing.  He appeared in just two more films in the 1920's; both of which were films with some type of sound and both were released in 1929.  The first of these was the large budget BIP production Piccadilly, which survives and has been released on disc.  While Piccadilly is a pretty famous late 1920's film, Ritchard's next film is one of the most famous releases of 1929.  He both acted in and contributed his first musical number in a film to Alfred Hitchcock's all sound crime thriller Blackmail, released in October of that year. His next film appearance did not come until well over a year after, when he appeared in the U.K. musical Just For A Song, released in December of 1930. In 1937, two years after his marriage to Elliott, he appeared in two very early television shorts, one of which--Pasquinade--was an early BBC production starring Herminone Baddeley. His first appearance in an actual television series came is in the U.S. variety series The Billy Rose Show in the 1951 episode Duet for Two Actors, in which he appeared along side Frank Albertson, who would go on less than ten years later to play the "dirty old man" Tom Cassidy in Hitchcock's Psycho. All of his appearances after this up until 1966 were on the small screen, including a made-for-television film of his stage role as Capt. Hook in a musical production of Peter Pan in 1955 (he won a Tony for his role in the live stage production). In 1966 he provided voice work on the animated anthology The Daydreamer, based on the writings of Hans Christian Andersen, which also featured silent era star Tallulah Bankhead.  He there after made appearances mostly on television, including multiple appearances on The Red Skelton Hour. His last role came in the 1977 animated film The Hobbit, made for television by ABC and aired on the 27th of November.  He passed away less than a month later on the 18th of December of that year at the age of 79.  He passed away in his adopted home city of Chicago and was buried at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Ridgefield, Connecticut, along with his beloved wife, who had passed in 1955, preceding him in death by over twenty years. 


[Source: Jack Sanders (Find A Grave)]


His wedding to Madge Elliott


 

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Monday, November 30, 2020

Silent Films Upcoming On TCM: December 2020

 


All Times in EST

Star of the Month: Laurel & Hardy!

TCM Homepage 

 


 2 Dec. 7:45AM [Year: 1919] Film Information 

 


 4 Dec. 4:45AM [Year: 1929] (full talkie) Clip
 
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An Afternoon with Laurel And Hardy: 
 
 

7 Dec. 12:30PM [Year: 1927] (partial silent) Film Information
 

  7 Dec. 12:51PM [Year: 1927] Clip
 

 7 Dec. 1:30PM [Year: 1928] Film Information
 
 

7 Dec. 1:52PM [Year: 1928] (partial silent) Film Information
 
 

7 Dec. 2:14PM [Year: 1928] (partial silent) Film Information


7 Dec. 2:45PM & 19 Dec. 7:30AM [Year: 1929] (partial silent) Film Information
 

 7 Dec. 3:04PM [Year: 1929] (talkie) Film Information
 

 7 Dec. 3:25PM [Year: 1929] (partial silent) Clip
 

7 Dec. 4PM [Year: 1929] (partial silent talkie) Film Information
 

 7 Dec. 4:20PM [Year: 1929] (talkie) Film Information
 

 7 Dec. 4:40PM [Year: 1929] (talkie) Film Information
 
 

7 Dec. 5:15PM [Year: 1929] (talkie) Film Information  


7 Dec. 5:36PM [Year: 1929] (talkie) Film Information
 
 

 7 Dec. 5:57PM [Year: 1929] (talkie) Clip
 
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 14 Dec. 12AM [Year: 1915] Restored Clip
 

 16 Dec. 11:45AM [Year: 1925] Trailer (part of a day celebrated in snow in film)


21 Dec. 12AM [Years: 1901-1925] Information on the Films
 
 
28 Dec. 12:15AM [Year: 1929] Film Information
 
 

 28 Dec. 3:15AM [Year: 1921] Film Information
 
 

30 Dec. 8:15AM [Year: 1924] (part of TCM's celebration of actors we've lost this year. Feature "Baby Peggy"--Diana Serra Cary who died this year at the age of 101) TCM's 2015 Intro
__________
 
Other Goodies:
 

10 Dec. 3:45PM [Year: 1962] Trailer
 
 

28 Dec. 1PM [Year: 1957] Extended Clip

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Born Today November 26: Frank Peregini (Perugini)

 

1888-1967

 

Little known silent film cinematographer/director Frank Peregini was born in Italy on this day. He is known to have shot only two films and directed one production, but it is likely that he worked on more films than just these three. There is no information as to when he immigrated to the U.S., but he arrived in or--more likely--before 1921.  His first film was as the cinematographer on the independent melodrama The Devil's Confession in 1921.  He next shot the police drama The Valley of Lost Souls; also an independent film, it was released in May of 1923. By far his most famous work came as the director of the 1927 "all colored" domestic crime melodrama The Scar of Shame; where he is credited as "Frank Perugini" (a film that has survived and is widely available for viewing today--plus there is a completely restored Library of Congress print as well).  This film was shot in Philadelphia, which would become Peregini's adopted hometown.  He stayed in Philly for the remainder of his life, passing away there in January of 1967; he was 78 years of age. Details of his burial or interment are unknown.  

 


 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Born Today November 17: Germaine Dulac


1882-1942

The woman who has been called the first feminist director Germaine Dulac was born Charlotte Elisabeth Germaine Saisset-Schneider on this day in Amines, France.  Her family was an upper middle class family; and her father was a career officer in the French military.  As a child, she could not get accustomed to the frequent moves required by the military, so she was sent to live with her grandmother in Paris.  After arriving there, she quickly became interested in the arts and studying music.  This lead to a keen interest in the theater. As an older teen and young adult and influenced by women's movements of the time in Paris, she became interested in socialism and feminism and settled on a career in journalism.  In 1905 she married Marie-Louis Albert-Dulac (hence her surname) and four years later she began writing for the feminist publication La Française; while working as the magazine, she became it's theater critic.  She also joined the editorial stuff of La Fronda, a feminist newspaper that was largely regarded as "radical."  It was at this time that she avidly pursued an interest in still photography, that naturally morphed into an interest in the moving picture: the year was 1914.  Her interest was sparked by her friend, dancer and actress, Stacia Napierkowska (Stacia is the dancer seen in the famous French crime serial Les Vampires).  An a pre-war trip to Italy Dulac was with Napierkowska when she was filming and the bug took hold of her.  She was determined to start her own film company upon her return to Paris.  A lot of the chronology of her films is hard to pen down, but what is absolutely known for sure is that her first film was made in 1915:  Les soeurs ennemies.   Her next film Venus Victrix (1917) starred her friend Napierkowska.  She added screen writing to her listed of accomplishments with Âmes de fous (1918)--it was melodramatic serial that she also directed--it was her first major success.  Dulac met director D. W. Griffith in 1921 and wrote about purely on artistic merits alone; avoiding the obvious problems of feminism in his films, she curiously chose to focus instead on two positive artistic elements in his film-making instead.  She made the bulk of her films in the 1920's, with many progressing more and more toward the surreal.  She ended her time in the directors chair with a series of shorts, bringing sound into her work in 1929 in Arabesque a 5 minute montage short.  She also produced two films in the late 1920's, the first of which was L'invitation au voyage (1927), which she also wrote and directed.  With the coming of sound, she took to filming newsreel and short documentaries for the likes of Gaumont and Pathé (please visit the Wikipedia page for these titles--IMDb's page on her is woefully lacking in her later work!). The last film that she directed was the 10 minute Le retour à la vie in 1936.  After her film career retirement, she then became the president of Fédération des ciné-clubs, an organization that apprenticed and supported young filmmaker.  She also taught classes on film.  Germaine Dulac died in Paris on the 20th of July in 1942 at the age of just 59. She is interred at the historic Père Lachaise. 
 
[Source: CriMa (Find A Grave)]

 
 
 



Sunday, November 15, 2020

Born Today November 15: James O'Neill

 

1847-1920


Irish born American actor James O'Neill was born on this day in County Kilkenny, Ireland. O'Neill was primarily a man of the stage, and a handful of films (mostly in the teens) and father of playwright Eugene O'Neill--making him the great grandfather of all eight of Charlie Chaplin and Oona O'Neill Chaplin's children. O'Neill was already famous by the time he made an equally famous film debut. He had been acting professionally since the age of 21, having made his stage debut in Cincinnati. This came about due to the O'Neill family relocating in the Ohio city from Ireland, by way of Buffalo, New York. What made him so well known was not great or high skills in acting--though he was quite good--but that he had become a matinee draw--to the point of becoming an idol. He spent time in touring companies, though he and his wife settled on the west coast in San Francisco, instead of New York, where their eldest son was born. They did return to the east coast shortly after (famous son Eugene was born in New York City).  James became famous for his acting in the stage adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo; in fact he was so famous for it, his appearances in other plays, including some of Shakespeare's historical works, suffered for it. It is then little surprise that his film debut came as Edmond Dantes in the 1913 film of The Count of Monte Cristo, produced by Famous Players and co-directed by Joseph A. Golden and former Edison man Edwin S. Porter. At the time he made the film he was at what we think of as retirement age now: 65.  He didn't appear in another film for five years, and would only make eight more films in his career.  He was pushing 70 years of age when he appeared in God of Little Children, which was released in the winter of 1917.  It was the first of three films he acted in during that year. Although, he appeared one film in 1918 (The Grain of Dust), his most prolific year acting in films was his last.  The first of four films in 1920 that he had roles in was a short Hoot Gibson western: The Sheriff's Oath, released in February. His last film was also a western, this time a Harry Carey Sr. feature: West is West.  This film was released in November, some three months after O'Neill's death at the age of 72. O'Neill had passed away in New London, Connecticut on the 10th of August.  He was buried locally at Saint Mary Cemetery in a family plot. 

 

[Source: Find A Grave]

 


[Source: Iain MacFarlaine (Find A Grave)]


 

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Born Today November 14: Adam Oehlenschäger

 

1779-1850

 

Danish poet and playwright Adam Gottlob Oehlenschäger was born on this day in Copenhagen.  Credited with introducing romanticism to Danish literature, Oehlenschäger began to write poetry at the age of nine. At just the age of twelve, he was noticed by another Scandinavian poet of note Edvard Storm of Norway; who began to tutor him. As a young man, he became an apprentice and was set to become a man of trade, but wound up on the stage as an actor instead.  Slowly he understood that his path in the theater lie in writing and not acting; around this time he also undertook to further his education at the University of Copenhagen, reading philosophy and history--but writing all the while in verse. This also lead to writing lyrics for music. He then spent a considerable amount of time in Germany and upon his return to his native Denmark began to lecture at the University on the ideas of romanticism and on important Germanic romantic writers--hence the introduction of the above romanticism to his home land. In 1806, he embarked on a trip through the continent, starting in Berlin; he did not return until 1810, when he also returned to the University and to lecturing. His travels would further solidify his commitment to romantic ideals of writing and philosophy.  By 1815, he was writing plays and continued to do so for the rest of his life; by the end of his life, he was an internationally recognized and appreciated writer--one of the first from Denmark to become so. To date, only eight films have been made using his work as source material or inspiration; and three titles have used at least one of his songs for soundtracks.  Only two films were produced in the silent era using his writing for scenarios, the first of which was the Danish film The Isle of Death [De Dødes Ø] in 1913. Produced by Filmfabrikken, it was directed by Vilhelm Glückstadt; Oehlenschäger, along with Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin, are listed as "inspiration."  The other film, also Danish, was released in 1914 and was directly based on one of Oehlenschäger's poems.  Guldhornene was directed by Kay Van der Aa Kühle and was just his third film.  It would be nearly 30 years before another film was made using his work as film material; Langelandrejsen was based on the rare novel that he penned and was released in 1943. The very next production of his work was produced for television for the first time; Aladdin, made for Danish television in 1952, was based on his play of the same name. In 1975, that same play was included in an episode of the television mini-series Aladdin eller den forunderlinge lampe, oddly produced by Danmarks Radio. The most recent use of the his work came in 1979 with the film A Midsummer's Play, based on another play.  Though Oehlenschäger is an internationally read author, his work has not been produced for film and television outside of Denmark. His music has been used twice in productions in the 2000's, including in the Danish film Druk, set for release this December.  Oehlenschäger passed away on the 20th of January in 1850 at the age of 70. He was buried Frederiksburg Old Cemetery.


[Source: Erik Skytte (Find A Grave)]


 

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Born Today November 12: Harry F. Millarde

 


 1885-1931

 

Prolific silent film actor and director Harry F. Millarde was born on this day in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He started in the film business as an actor at Kalem, making his debut in the Robert Vignola directed The Message of the Palms, a 1913 melodramatic short. He would appear in a remarkable number of shorts during that year, even taking top billing in male leads, such as his role as "the mark" in Kalem's own "vamp" tale The Vampire, opposite Marguerite Courtot as the sweetheart and Alice Hollister as the vamp [October, 1913] (he would appear in another "vampire" film the following year, only in a supporting role; The Vampire's Trail also featured Hollister as the "loose woman," with Tom Moore in the male lead). Although he worked with other director's in his prolific two years of acting at Kalem, the vast majority of the films in which he acted were either directed by Vignola or Kenean Buel. In 1915 he also began to direct.  His first film, The Curious Case of Meredith Stanhope, was a short melodrama, in which he also took the male lead opposite the same Alice Hollister mentioned above. For the rest of the year he continued to direct himself, but he had his eye on directing exclusively and only directed one film in which he personally appeared in 1916: The Lotus Woman.  He acted in just two additional films during his career, neither of which he directed: Elusive Isabel (1916, directed by Stuart Paton) and Man and Woman (1920, directed by Charles Logue & B.A. Rolfe).  Once he dedicated his career to directing he made 40 films between 1916 and 1927.  By the beginning of 1917, he had parted ways with Kalem and directed at  IMP, Universal and Victor, before settling in at Fox.  There he began directing June Caprice, whom he would marry in 1920, their first film together was Every Girl's Dream (August 1917).  While at Fox, he briefly became a producer, when he produced two films that he also directed: The Town That Forgot God and My Friend The Devil, both released in 1922. After this he directed just five more films.  His last film for Fox was The Fool based on a Channing Pollock play and released in November of 1925.  His final two films in 1927 were for MGM, the second of which was his last film: On Ze Boulevard, a crime comedy starring Lew Cody. Millarde died of a heart attack four years later, after a battle with some type of heart disease that likely caused the end of his directing career. He died in his in Bayside home (Queens borough) in New York City on the 2nd of November in 1931, just ten days shy of his 46th birthday. He left behind his wife and young daughter who was just nine at the time. She would go on to be the New York area cover girl Toni Seven. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.


[Source: Bronx Aquarium (Find A Grave)]



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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Born Today November 11: Thomas Bailey Aldrich

 

 


 1836-1907

 

Thomas Bailey Aldrich is best remembered for being the long time editor of The Atlantic Monthly magazine from 1881 to 1890. But he was also a writer of poetry, prose and criticism. Born on this day in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he was taken as a child to New Orleans, returning to New England at near college age some ten years later. He never went to college, instead going to work in his teens for an Uncle in New York where he began to write for publication in both newspapers and magazines.  He was also fast friends with the New York area writers community of the time; which is eventually what led him into the field of editing. Promoting writers of an ever increasing circle of acquaintance landed him with an editor's job in the late 1850's, leading to an important job of being the editor of The New York Illustrated News during the Civil War (copies of which are housed at the Library of Congress in their "Chronicling America" section preserving newspapers--some are posted on line, including Civil War political cartoons*).  Magazine editing then became his career; but for someone who was such a busy and important editor, he also found time to write a large number of works. And, of course, it because of these that he has a little write up here. Two films have been produced using his work for scenarios, both of them in the silent era of the 1910's; they are also interconnected films. The first, Judith of Bethulia, was based on one of Alrich's poems; partially adapted by it's director, the film was made for Biograph--the director, by the way, was D. W. Griffith. The film was released on the 8th of March, 1914 and was quite a lavish production--it's price tag reportedly one of the reasons that Griffith left Biograph, having been put back in charge of one-reelers after the film's release (there was also a Broadway production ten years prior, based of the same dramatic poem--and with the same title; it was quite successful; the film's screenplay was heavily reliant on that play for material). Part of the reason that I spent so much space on the first film, is that the second is a cut from that film. In 1917, D. W. Griffith edited together a few newly shot scenes from the original screenplay and his Biograph film from 1914 to create Her Condoned Sin.  No other films were ever produced from Aldrich's volume of writing. He lived long enough to see the production of his work on Broadway, but passed away three years later on the 19th of March in 1907 at the age of 70. He is buried at Cambridge, Massachusetts' famed Mount Auburn Cemetery. 


[Source: Bobby Kelley (Find A Grave)]

 


[a Daguerrotype of Aldrich, a current holding of Harvard University]


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*I just had to mention this, as there is no one link that can be posted for this one newspaper on their site...and I got lost in wonder clicking through what is there, before I knew it...I had been tooling around for a couple of hours...it's a bit addictive.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Born Today November 9: Ivan Turgenev


1818-1883

Russian writer Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was born into a wealthy land owning family in Oryol (then Orel) on this day in 1818.  Turgenev was home educated, along with two of his brothers, by their mother, a strict but highly educated woman. By the time he was a young man, he was fluent in at least 3 western languages. Ivan later studied at the University of Moscow for a year before transferring to the University of Saint Petersburg focusing mostly on Classic and Russian Literature.  He later studied philosophy and history at the University of Berlin and got his masters from the University of Saint Petersburg in the early 1840's.   Tergenev was much enamored of German society and believed that many of the ills of his native Russian social structure could be improved by following certain German social norms and the philosophies of the enlightenment in general--this as a conflict in narrative would show up in his fiction.  Tergenev as a writer started early.  His earliest writing as an adult showed that he was a natural talent.  He wrote across styles, eventually publishing short stories, plays and novels (with many of his plays produced during his lifetime). Turgenev's works were popular despite that his subject matter was frequently controversial from the point of view of the Russian Empire; though his style was always gentle and did not ever so much as slightly inspire, never mind, stir feelings of revolution, despite his themes of humanism. His descriptions of nature and natural settings also lent itself to music and at least one Russian opera.  He was also a well respected translator of western fiction, with his translation of Cerventes still seen as an important work, Tergenev's work was used early in narrative film, but was confined to the continent of Europe.  The first film produced from his work came out of France in 1910; a production of Pathè Fréres: Le Lieutenant Yergounoff sported an all Russian cast from that country and was based on the short story "The Story of Lieutenant Ergunov"--though the film contained intertitles in French. Three years laster, Italy produced it's first film based on one of his stories: Petroff, the Vassal (A Russian Romance) driected by Ubaldo Maria Del Colle.  According to IMDb, only three more films of his work were made in 1910's, all of them in 1915, and all of them from Russia. The first of these, Dvoryanskoe gnezdo (Dionysus' Anger) was directed by Vladimir Gardin, a director known for his stage work in acting.  The other two films--Pesn torzhestvuyushchey  lyubvi (Song of Triumphant Love) and Posle smerti (After Death)--were directed (and adapted) by the now legendary early Russian filmmaker Yevgeny (Evgeni) Bauer (After Death has been restored and released on disc).  But Russian sources cite an additional four films in the 1910s, one each from 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919--all of them Russian in origin. The film from 1918, Inn, directed by Cheslav Sabinsky (and listed sans writer as Postoyaly dvor on the IMDb), survives in part in archives in Russia. In 1920, Italian actor/director Vasco Salvini directed himself in Fumo; and in 1921 prolific German actor/director Rudolf Biebrach made Die Schuld des Grafen Weronski.   Just four more films were made from his work during the silent era from France, Italy, Germany and Japan of all places. The last of these, the entry from Japan, was directed by the important Nihonjin writer/filmmaker Daisuke ItôKemuri. The film was released in 1925.  It took twelve years for another film to be made from his work--the first in the sound era--it came out of the Soviet Union and was directed by none other than Sergei Eisenstein! Bezhin lug was 1937 a short and is basically lost (a very incomplete recreation has been attempted--with mixed results), it ran a little over 30 minutes and was considered a masterpiece, despite that it remade Turgenev over into Soviet propaganda. It would not be until the 1940's that a feature-length full sound film was produced from his work; Primer amor, made from his semi-autobiographical novel First Love, was out of Spain and released on the 23rd of January in 1942. While the first made for television film of his work came pretty early in television history out of the UK; A Month in the Country was made for the BBC in 1947 and aired on 8 June. Adaptations for theatrical release have never been a "big thing" in the United States, but adaptations for the small screen have been quite popular, and it was in the U.S. that his work was used for a television photo play. In fact the series Studio One in Hollywood aired two episodes featuring adaptations of his work, the first coming in 1949 with Smoke (airing on the 15th of June).  These were the first in a long list of television adaptations--both in stand alone films/mini-series and episodes of dramatic shows. The most recent film produced from his work (as of this writing) is Two Women, based on a play, directed by the late Russian filmmaker Vera Glagoleva, starring Sylvie Testud, Aleksandr Baluev and Ralph Fiennes. It's premiere date was in August of 2014 in Russia.  Turgenev endured several years of bad health from various ailments that left in him pain (some type of arthritic condition possibly). In 1883 he had a cancerous tumor removed and it was hoped that his condition would not further decline, but the cancer had reached his spinal column and proved both excruciatingly painful and fatal. He suffered a spinal abscess on the 3rd of September 1883 claiming his life at the age of 64. He died in France in the countryside outside of Paris, but he was later buried in his native Russia at Saint Petersburg's famed very large non-Orthodox cemetery Volkovo (Volkovskoe). 
 
 
[Source: Wikimedia Commons]