Veteran American stage actor Ralph Lewis made his film debut at the Majestic studios in 1912. Lewis spent many fruitful years in the stock company of pantheon director D.W. Griffith. The actor's portrayal of abolitionist Austin Stoneman in Griffith's Birth of a Nation (1915) elicited the following critique from Reel Life magazine: "No more remarkable creation has vindicated the artistic value of motion pictures." Lewis remained in films well into the sound era, playing small character parts in such major productions as San Francisco (1936). Ralph Lewis was 64 years old when he was struck and killed by a car reportedly driven by producer Jack Warner's chauffeur.