William Fairbanks

Active - 1921 - 1928  |   Born - May 24, 1889   |   Died - Apr 1, 1945   |   Genres - Western, Action, Drama, Crime, Romance

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Strapping American silent-screen hero William Fairbanks, a former cowpuncher, stole his last name outright from Douglas Fairbanks. William was born Carl Ullman, close enough to Doug's real name (Ulman) to keep up the charade. Beginning his career as a stunt double, William Fairbanks was elevated to stardom by independent producers Phil Goldstone and Ben Wilson, neither of whom discouraged the mistaken belief that their star was related to a Hollywood icon. Although not too convincing as a cowboy (despite his former profession), Fairbanks did his fair share of westerns and his second -- 1924 -- series for Goldstone actually yielded several good efforts. By the mid 1920s, Fairbanks had become second only to Jack Holt at Columbia, but his career was derailed by the coming of sound. Retiring in 1928, William Fairbanks was quickly forgotten, so forgotten, in fact, that Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in more recent interviews, professed never to have heard of him.