Monday, May 22, 2017

Born Today May 22: Romaine Fielding


1867-1927

American silent actor and director Romaine Fielding was born William Grant Blandon on this date in Riceville, Iowa. His first profession was in the medical industry; he ran a medical clinic, despite having no medical training, for a time in Kansas City, Missouri.  He then went to Alaska to prospect for gold.  While there, he met writers Rex Beach and Jack London; both of them would later have influence in his later film directing.  He then found work in the theater and would later graduate to live stage performances.  This was most likely the time when he decided that he needed a stage name.  The first studio that he worked for was the hugely influential Solax; he then went to work for Lubin, and it was at this studio that acted in his first film.  The Senorita's Conquest came out in 1911, it was a two person short drama, in which he played the male part opposite Frances Gibson.  He made his directorial debut the same year in the very next film he acted for Lubin.  Love's Victory, the short romance also starred Gibson (who was at the time, under contract with Lubin) and added Jack Standing to the cast.  By 1912, he had added writer to his list of credits, he penned his first film scenario for The Cringer, which also acted in and directed, though the film is lost, stills are still in existence.  Siegmund Lubin, in an act of pure faith, put Fielding in charge of the Lubin Southwest Company, so this resulted in many on location shoots in the region and in northern Mexico--quite rare for the day. While working in this capacity, he got into the hotel business--renting a hotel and renaming it the Hotel Romaine.  He turned the area into a kind of personal outdoor studio.  All of Fielding's career would be in the silent era; and it is so unfortunate that very little of his work survives today.  By 1922 he had quit directing, but he kept acting in films, albeit in a more limited way, right up until his death.  He died unexpectedly from a blood clot on the 15th of December 1927 at the age of 60 in Hollywood.  The last film that he acted in,  was released posthumously, The Noose (which was nominated for an Oscar) was released in 1928.  Fielding is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.  




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