Monty Banks

Active - 1921 - 1945  |   Born - Jan 1, 1897   |   Died - Jan 7, 1950   |   Genres - Comedy, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Comedian/dancer Monte Banks emigrated from his native Italy to America in 1914. He appeared in stage musicals, then embarked upon a film career, starring in several lively comedy shorts and features of the 1920s. The most famous of these was Play Safe (1926), which was capped by a breathtaking runaway-train sequence that has since been excerpted in several comedy-film compilations. He moved to England in 1928, where he married popular musical comedy star Gracie Fields, whom he directed in several films. As part of Ms. Fields' deal with Hollywood's 20th Century-Fox studios, Banks was handed a feature film to direct; the result was Great Guns (1941), one of Laurel and Hardy' weakest films. Before leaving Hollywood for good, Monte Banks played a supporting role in the Tyrone Power vehicle Blood and Sand (1940) (in which he was billed as William Montague) and the 1945 Fox feature A Bell for Adano.

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