Harry Benham

Active - 1912 - 1933  |   Born - Feb 26, 1884 in Valparaiso, IN  |   Died - Jul 17, 1969 in Sarasota, FL  |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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Having made his stage debut in the chorus of a 1904 Chicago production of Peggy From Paris, handsome, debonair Harry Benham went on to appear in such popular musical comedy staples as The Sultan of Sulu, HMS Pinafore, and Floradora. Along with wife Ethyle Cooke and children Leland Benham and Dorothy Benham, Benham entered films with the pioneering Thanhouser company as early as 1910, the family basically constituting the New Rochelle, NY, concern's initial stock company. Nicknamed "Handsome Harry," Benham was the only featured player in many of Thanhouser's earliest productions, playing everything from Mr. Hyde to Sherlock Holmes. The stint in New Rochelle (with detours to Florida and Los Angeles) lasted until 1915, when he and the children signed with first Famous Players then Universal. But although he would later appear as leading man for Marion Davies (Cecilia of the Pink Roses, 1918) and continue his screen career until at least 1922, Benham is remembered solely for his pioneering work with the Thanhouser company. After his retirement from show business in the early '30s, he went into the clothing retail business.