Sunday, October 11, 2015

Born Today October 11: Lowell Sherman

1885 or 1888-1934

Born Lowell J. Sherman in San Francisco to theater parents, most probably in the year 1885 (but many sources list 1888 as the year of his birth); his father was a theatrical agent, while his mother acted on the stage.  Like so many children born into theatrical families, he began his stage career young on touring companies.  As an adult, around 1904, he starting acting on Broadway in several productions; one of which, A Girl of the Golden West, was a huge hit in 1905.  His first appearance in film came in 1914 in the full feature length Behind The Scenes.  In the 1910's he was frequently cast as light cads and playboys; this all changed when, in 1920, D. W. Griffith cast him as an out and out bad guy, a predatory (possible statutory rapist) in Way Down East.  He went on to have a very prolific acting career throughout the 1920's, both on and off screen. Though he was a very good actor and much sought out, was always very reliable, he found acting not so fulfilling.  He is quoted as saying later on in his life: "Nothing becomes so monotonous as acting on the stage, especially if you are successful...working in the movies seemed even duller."  He then went on to become one of the very first silent era actors to make a very successful transition into directing films.  His directorial debut came in a very early talky in 1928 entitled Phipps.  He did continue to act in films until 1932, but from 1928 until 1935 he had 15 directorial credits, some of which he directed himself in.  If his last credit seems odd, a full year after his death, that is because he was in the early stages of directing Becky Sharp, when he unexpectedly died of double pneumonia in 1934 and the project was taken over by Rouben Mamoulian.  He was either 49 or 46 (probably 49) when he passed.  He is interred, like so many others Forest Lawn Memorial Park, including Mamoulian himself.  Sherman in entombed the memorial mausoleum section of the cemetery, like Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, but not near them.  He is, however, very near American film music composer Ralph Rainger.  IMDb.

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