American character actor Frank Campeau was the perfect skulking villain, whether dressed as a millionaire or a Bowery henchman. Short, wiry, and with a face like a dyspeptic weasel, Campeau was "Runyonesque" before there was a Damon Runyon. Actor/producer Douglas Fairbanks capitalized on Campeau's untrustworthy demeanor by casting the actor in several bad-guy roles. In Fairbanks' first United Artists release, 1919's His Majesty the American, Campeau is on hand as an outwardly respectable but shifty-eyed diplomat, while in Fairbank's second UA picture Til the Clouds Roll By (1919) he is identified only as "The Jilted Villain". Two decades later, a seedier-looking Campeau was sneaking through alleys in such talkies as A Soldier's Plaything (1930) and Everything's Rosie (1931). Frank Campeau retired from films at age 74, after completing a starving-peasant bit in the lavish MGM costumer Marie Antoinette.
by Hal Erickson biography