Friday, July 14, 2017

Born Today July 14: Robert Brower


Giant of the stage and very early silent narrative film star Robert Brower was born on this date in Point Pleasant, New York. Brower was a veteran of the 19th century stage; he was persuaded to join the Edison Company after they started making narrative films, as opposed to actualities and newsreels.  He made his first film in 1909 with the J. Searle Dawley directed A Rose Of The Tenderloin.  He signed a contract with the company in 1911.  Probably the first film that he made under contract was Silver Threads Among The Gold (1911), directed by Edwin S. Porter--and one of the first films ever to require a live band to place set pieces.  The first full length film that he is thought to have made an appearance in, albeit in an uncredited role, was the 50 minute long The Quest Of Life (1916) made for the Famous Players company (which, incidentally, featured a small appearance by a very young Rudolph Valentino).  He had a credited role in the more than 5 hour long action adventure serial The Mystery Of The Double Cross (1917) made for Astra Film.  His next feature length non-Edison credited role came in 1918 in the comedy A Burglar For A Night.  In the 1910's he worked steadily, with the vast majority of his film appearances coming during this time--most of these were in Edison shorts.  He film work slowed in the 1920's, but he was still quite the actors actor during the time.  He even managed to work into the era of early talkies!  He had a supporting roles in Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 Adam's Rib and in Ernst Lubitsch's The Student Prince In Old Heidelberg (1927); and the first film that he worked on that had sound was a William A. Wellman film from 1928: Beggars Of Life, a partial silent.  The first fill sound film that he acted in was D. W. Griffith's Abraham Lincoln in 1930--his role was uncredited.  In fact, all the rest of his film appearances would be in uncredited roles, including a bit part in James Whale's The Invisible Man in 1933.  The last film in which he appeared was released after his death; The Silver Bullet premiered on 11 May 1935.  Brower had passed away in West Hollywood on the 8th of December 1934 from a heart attack, he was 84!  There is not information as to his burial or cremation.  

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