Bob Burns

Active - 1925 - 1951  |   Born - Nov 21, 1884   |   Died - Mar 14, 1957   |   Genres - Western, Action

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

Together with his older brother Fred Burns, Robert Burns (aka Bob Burns and Robert E. Burns) became one of the busiest bit players/stunt performers in B-Western history, easily recognizable by his trademark mustache and straightforward demeanor. Burns entered films in the 1910s, when he starred in a series of two-reelers from Vitagraph. He was still starring in two-reelers by 1920 but now for small-scale independent producers, and sometimes in the early 1920s, a low-budget concern attempted to turn him into a feature Western star as well. With character actor Horace B. Carpenter handling the directional chores and brunette Dorothy Donald playing the leading ladies, the Burns Westerns never sold as a series but were distributed by various minor organizations throughout the decade. Just Traveling (released 1927) has survived and proves Burns to be a very acceptable Western hero who may even have made the bigtime had he been given half the chance. But the Burns series was too low-budget and disappeared in the glut of low-budget Westerns released in the mid-1920s. Even busier in sound films and often cast along with brother Fred and son Forrest, Burns continued to appear in B-Westerns and serials -- literally hundreds of them -- often cast as stage drivers, townsmen, deputies, members of the posse, or non-speaking henchmen. He should of course not be confused with silent-screen comic Bobby Burns (1878-1966) or Paramount rustic Bob "Bazooka" Burns (1890-1956).

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