Saturday, June 10, 2017

Born Today June 10: George Loane Tucker


All round early silent "do it all" George Loane Tucker was born on this day in Chicago; his mother was a well known stage actress there, so the "business" was pretty much in his blood.  Despite this, he attended and graduated from the University of Chicago and went to work for the railroad, working as a clerk.  He was eventually promoted to Contracting Freight Agent--he was in his early 20's at the time, making him the youngest person to be promoted to that position.  He quit the job though after his first wife died in childbirth.  Due to the influence of his mother's career and the fact that motion pictures were beginning to be viewed as a form of mass entertainment, he decided to try his hand at acting.  The first film he acted in was The Awakening Of Bess in 1909.  He then got into scenario writing, his first script was produced in Their First Misunderstandings (1911), a film that he also shadow directed, and starred Mary Pickford.  The film became a hit--one the first so-called "blockbusters."  The first film that he directed on his own also came in 1911 with Dangerous Lines.  By far and away his most important film was Traffic In Souls (1913), a film dealing with the subject of white slavery (sex slavery); which was also his first feature length film.  The film became a runaway hit, earning well over a million dollars in profit.  This firmly established his prowess as a film maker and crafter.  He was hired by the London Film Company to be their director general, so he relocated to England.  While there, he met his second wife, British actress Elisabeth Risdon.  For that house, he directed the very first film adaptation of the novel The Manxman (1916), filmed on location on the Isle Of Man (the film would later be remade in 1929 by Alfred Hitchcock--one his last silent films).  It was one of the first British film to have distribution in the United States, and once again, Tucker found himself with another hit on his hands.  He returned to the U.S. in 1916 and became the director general for Goldwyn Pictures.  His 1917 The Cinderella Man, which became that studios most profitable film of that year.  Continuing on with success after success, his most well remembered film (and his most profitable) was made in 1919; The Miracle Man starred Lon Chaney Sr. He had by this time relocated to Hollywood. The last film that he made was Ladies Must Live (1921) (Tucker also had a credit each as editor and producer to his name from the late 1910's).  Tucker died at the very young age of 41 on June, 20 1921, after some sort of long undisclosed illness.  He is buried at the Hollywood Forever cemetery.  In all, he had directed nearly 70 films.  

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