Eldest Ince brother John Edward Ince was born on this day in New York City to immigrant vaudevillian parents from England. Though John in remembered mostly as an actor, he was also a prolific director--with over 50 titles to his name; and, after the sudden (and some say mysterious) death of his brother Thomas, a producer. He, along with all of his siblings, were started on the stage at a young age and he remained a stage actor of merit throughout his life; he did not make his film acting debut, however, until the age of 35 in 1913. He appeared as "Big Bill" in the Lubin Manufacturing short The Girl of the Sunset Pass, along with Edgar Jones and Clara Williams. After he started acting in films, he instantly became a prolific presence in Lubin shorts, appearing in nearly two dozen shorts in 1913 alone. He directed for them as well; in fact, his debut in the film industry actually came as a director the year before when he directed Arthur V. Johnson and Lottie Briscoe in the dramatic short The Spoiled Child (1912) [he first directed himself in The Hills of Strife in 1913]. He was a frequent film actor up through 1915, after which, he decided to concentrate exclusively on his directing [the last film that he appeared in--which he also directed--was In Love's Own Way (1915) with Mary Charelson]. Interestingly, for all of his creative input in the films under his direction, he has only one screenwriting credit for the feature length family feud film Her Man, made for Advanced Motion Picture Corp and distributed by Pathé Exchange in 1918 (the screenplay was an adaptation of a Charles Neville Buck novel); the film starred Elaine Hammerstein. He didn't appear again in a film until 1921, when he made up one-half of cast of John Gorman's crime drama Fate. Throughout the decade, he appeared sparsely in films, with the bulk of his time spent on his new found passion of production. After his brother Ralph's death in 1924, he started his own company, John Ince Productions, that produced 5 films in the 1920's--the first of which, The Great Jewel Robbery, (self directed) in 1925. Of those five titles, one of them--That Old Gang of Mine--was written and directed by that rarest of filmmakers in the silent era: a female director. The film, a comedy, was the work of playwright and stage director May Tully--it represented her final work in life, as she died in 1924 and the film was released by Ince's company the following year. The last silent film in which John Ince acted came out in 1927; Wages of Conscience was also directed by Ince, but was made for Superlative Pictures. The last film that he personally produced was the 1928 western short The Rustler's End, which was directed by Robert J. Horner--a curiosity in the lower end Hollywood world of B-pictures (he has been called the "Ed Wood of the 1920's"). After this, he was absent from films for a few years, returning as an actor in the George Archainbaud talkie Alias French Gertie in 1930. This was the first film Ince had any association with that incorporated sound of any sort. He would continue in films, but only as an actor (many of his roles uncredited), for almost 20 years. His last film came in 1949 in the Jack Irwin b-crime feature Gun Cargo, which was released close to two years after his death. Ince passed away after a bout of pneumonia on the 10th of April, 1947 at the age of 68, having outlived both of much more famous younger brothers by many years. Nothing is noted as to his burial or interment, but his much more famous brother Thomas had been cremated after a lavish open casket funeral, so it is at least as likely that his older brother was cremated as well.
|Main poster for his adapted film Her Man from 1918.|