A college athlete and the Pacific Fleet's heavyweight boxing champion during World War One, in 1922 he began working as an assistant cameraman and soon became a stuntman and bit player. Director John Ford made him an overnight star by casting him in the lead of The Iron Horse (1924), and he remained a popular leading man during the rest of the silent era; he was nicknamed (by studio publicists) "the Chest" because of his athletic physique. In the '30s he starred in B-westerns, and was consistently among the Top Ten Money-Making Western Stars. During World War Two he re-enlisted in the Navy and fought in the Pacific, receiving many decorations. After the War he appeared in a handful of films, all but one before 1951. During the Korean and Vietnam Wars he participated in filmmaking assignments. From 1933-48 he was married to actress Marguerite Churchill.