Robert Anderson

Born - Jul 22, 1890   |   Died - Jun 25, 1963   |   Genres - Drama, Crime

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

A major character star of the silent era, brawny Robert Anderson (born Andersen) hailed from Delaware and not Odense, Denmark, as his official bios claimed. Discovered by D.W. Griffith, Anderson made quite an impact as the comical M'Sieur Cuckoo in the World War I melodrama Hearts of the World (1918), which some critics felt he stole outright from nominal leads Lillian Gish and Robert Harron. Contracted by Universal, Anderson went on to portray a series of equally memorable character parts in mostly undeserving potboilers, and later supported such major stars as Mary Miles Minter, Laura La Plante, Renée Adorée, and Greta Garbo in more popular fare that ranged from the North Country melodrama The Eternal Struggle (1923) to the romantic comedy Love Me and the World Is Mine (1928). Anderson's final memorable performance came in W. S. Van Dyke's offbeat mixture of melodrama and travelogue, White Shadows in the South Seas (1928), in which he played the sadistic trader. Despite the fact that Anderson was as American as apple pie, sound derailed his screen career, a fact later mistakenly blamed on a heavy accent. A different, younger Robert Anderson appeared in RKO films of the 1940s.