Steadfast leading man Warner Baxter was born in Ohio and raised in San Francisco by his widowed mother. He worked as a farm implement salesmen in his late teens before turning his hobby of amateur theatricals into a lifelong profession. Alternating between stock-company assignments and "civilian" jobs during the World War I years, Baxter reportedly made his first film in 1914, though he'd later list 1922's Her Own Money as his official screen debut. After one last stage stint in A Tailor Made Man, Baxter became a full-time movie leading man, though full stardom would not be his until his first talkie, In Old Arizona (1929). Armed with a thick Mexican accent and a surfeit of roguish charm, Baxter won an Academy Award for his portrayal of O. Henry's Cisco Kid in this film. His roles became more sophisticated in nature during the 1930s; sporting a rakish mustache and decked out in evening clothes, Baxter cut quite a suave figure in such films as To Mary--With Love (1936) and Wife, Doctor and Nurse (1938). In the '40s he starred in the popular Crime Doctor "B"-picture series at Columbia. One year after completing his final film, 1950's State Penitentiary, Warner Baxter died as a result of cranial surgery, which was intended to relieve his long struggle with arthritis.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Moved to San Francisco with his mother in 1898 and after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck, they lived for eight days in Golden Gate Park.Famously played the role of The Cisco Kid from the 1928 film In Old Arizona, a role he reprised several times.The second person ever to be awarded the Best Actor Oscar, doing so at the 2nd Academy Awards in 1929.Was an inventor and developed a radio device to enable emergency crews to change traffic signals from two blocks away, allowing them safe passage through intersections; and this was installed at an intersection in Beverly Hills in 1940.Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, 9 years after his death, at 6284 Hollywood Boulevard.