Lambert Hillyer

Active - 1917 - 1949  |   Born - Jul 8, 1889   |   Genres - Western, Action, Crime, Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Before giving the "flickers" a try in 1917, writer/director Lambert Hillyer had been everything from a vaudeville performer to a journalist. Hillyer was trained for a directorial career at Inceville, the eminent domain of silent-movie mogul Thomas Ince. With such western films as The Narrow Trail (1917) and Square Deal Sanderson (1919), to his credit, Hillyer was largely responsible for the success of cowboy star William S. Hart, for which Hart would remain grateful until the day he died, never passing up an opportunity to praise Hillyer's skills. Though most closely associated with westerns, Hillyer tackled virtually every movie genre during his four decades in Hollywood: Horror (Dracula's Daughter, The Invisible Ray), historical pageant (Barbara Frietchie), soap opera (The Greatest Thing in Life), murder mystery (Girls Can Play), serial (Batman)-about the only thing Hillyer ever passed up was drawing-room comedy. Lambert Hillyer spent his last active years in the early 1950s as principal director of the pioneering TV western series The Cisco Kid.

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