Saturday, January 16, 2016

Born Today January 16: Harry Carey


Born Harry DeWitt Carey II was born on this date in the New York borough of The Bronx.  He was the son of prominent judge who served on the New York Supreme Court.  He grew up in one of the only high-scale areas of The Bronx:  City Island.  In higher education, he first attended Hamilton Military Academy; then he studied law at NYU.  By the time he made it into his first movie, he had been a real cowboy, railway superintendent, a playwright & author, and had practiced law.  He first got into acting after writing he first play while recuperating from pneumonia; he then spent the next three years touring the country performing it.  The play was quite the success.  However, he next play flopped.  After being introduced to Fort Lee director D. W. Griffith, his film career started.  Griffith knowing his background as a cowboy, immediately began to give him rolee in the earliest of westerns.  Carey made his film debut in 1909 in Griffith's western short Bill Sharkey's Last Game.  The vast majority of the films that he made were in the silent era; even the last film he made in the 1920's was fully silent:  The Border Patrol (1928).  In fact, the only film he made in the 1920's that had sound, was a partial sound film:  The Trail of '98 (1928), with soundtrack and sound effects provided by both Movietone and Western Electric Sound System.  Having taught himself how to act live on a stage, he made a very successful transition to talking films, and did so in 1931 in Trader Horn, his first full sound film, ironically in English and Swahili.  He was nominated for one Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for his role as President of the Senate in the famous 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes To Washington starring James Stewart.  Carey passed away on the 21st. of September 1947 at the age of 69 from coronary thrombosis as a complication from emphysema and lung cancer in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.  Some list the cause of his deadly coronary thrombosis as coming from a bee sting.  He worked right up until the time of his death, with two films he worked on being released in 1948.  He is entombed in a above ground mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, NYC.  

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