Hobart Bosworth

Active - 1907 - 1942  |   Born - Aug 11, 1867   |   Died - Dec 30, 1943   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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A major influence on the establishment of Southern California as the film capital of the world, veteran stage actor Hobart Bosworth was often called the "Dean of Hollywood." A star on Broadway in the late 19th century (Hedda Gabler, opposite Mrs. Fiske, Martha of the Lowlands, with Emily Wakeman), Bosworth entered the silent drama with the Selig Polyscope Company after losing his voice in 1908. He led the Selig company to Los Angeles the following years and was credited with starring in the first film to be shot on the West Coast, the 1,000-feet-long In the Sultan's Power (1909). With the goal of filming a series of Jack London melodramas, Hobart Bosworth founded his own company, Bosworth, Inc., in 1913. He both directed and starred in the company's initial production, a seven-reel version of The Sea Wolf (1913) filmed at Truckee, CA, and went on to produce and star in John Barleycorn (1913), The Valley of the Moon (1914), and Martin Eden (1914). By then actress/screenwriter/director Lois Weber and her husband Phillips Smalley had joined the company roster, which also included leading ladies Myrtle Stedman, Fritzi Scheff, and Elsie Janis. Distributing through newcomer Paramount, Bosworth became associated with the Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company, whose facility on 201 North Occidental Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles became his headquarters. Morosco and Bosworth both became part of Paramount in 1916 and Hobart Bosworth drifted into supporting roles.

Making his sound film debut in the Vitaphone short subject A Man of Peace in 1928, Hobart Bosworth went on to enjoy a long career as a character actor in B-Westerns and serials, usually playing the kind, fatherly type but once in a while cast against type as a dyed-in-the-wool Boss Villain. He could still demand prominent billing but the films themselves were usually Poverty Row quickies and few moviegoers were aware of his erstwhile fame. Almost indefatigable, the veteran actor remained in films until shortly before his death from pneumonia in December of 1943.

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