Edward Peil Sr.

Active - 1915 - 1951  |   Born - Jan 18, 1882   |   Died - Dec 29, 1958   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Action, Comedy, Romance

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

Enjoying a screen career that began in 1908 and lasted until the early '50s, Edward Peil Sr. remains one of those faces every lover of classic Hollywood movies knows so well but just cannot quite place. A barnstormer of the old school, Peil supported legendary stage diva Helena Modjeska in road companies of such theatrical classics as The Witching Hour and Brewster's Millions. Although he had dabbled in motion picture acting as early as 1908 (probably with the Philadelphia-based Lubin company), Peil came into his own with D.W. Griffith, who cast him as Evil Eye in Broken Blossoms (1919) and Swan Way in Dream Street (1921), not exactly characterizations that will endear him to modern, more politically correct moviegoers. Peil, whose last name was often misspelled "Piel," performed more evil-doing later in the decade, although age had a mellowing effect and he increasingly began playing gentleman ranchers, the heroine's father/uncle, decent lawmen, and the like, carving out a whole new career for himself in the field of B-Westerns. According to genre expert Les Adams, Peil made a total of 104 sound Westerns and 11 serials, adding the "Sr." to his name when his namesake son dropped his previous moniker of Johnny Jones. Father and son made one film together: the 1941 aviation drama I Wanted Wings. Edward Peil Sr. died in 1958 at the age of 76.

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