Friday, November 20, 2015

Born Today November 20: Reginald Denny


1891-1967

Born Reginald Leigh Dugmore in Richmond, Surrey UK, he started his acting career as a child on the stage at the age of 7.  At one point in his young adult life he joined an opera company as a baritone.  He came by his stage name (actually he had two, briefly going by Leigh Denny), from his actor father W. H. Denny, who was a baritone in Savoy operas, most notably working with Gilbert & Sullivan; hence Reginald's young start on the the stage and his honing of his singing talent.  At some point before his first film appearance in 1915, he came to the United States to further his stage career, which he did even after entering the motion picture industry.  Denny well remembered for his appearance on Broadway of John Barrymore's production of Shakespeare's Richard III.  He entered the film industry with an appearance in Niobe in a 1915, a film, that unfortunately is probably lost, was partially directed by Edwin S. Porter--one of Edison's men, and one of the very first directors of film.  He had a very prolific film career during the silent era, but like all actors of the time that trained and starred on the stage, he had the skills to seamlessly make the transition into talkies and became a recognizable character actor.  He was also a pilot--as seen above, he served his country in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War and in the 1920's was a stunt pilot, the photo of him in his uniform dates from 1917.  He passed away where he was born, when he was just visiting from Hollywood of a stroke on 16 June 1967.  His body was shipped back to California where he is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

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