Douglas Fairbanks

Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman
05/23/1883 - 12/12/1939

Douglas Fairbanks was born to H. Charles Ullman and Ella Adelaide (née Marsh) on May 23, 1883 in Denver, Colorado. After Ullman abandoned his family when Fairbanks was five years old, his mother had his name changed to her first husband's surname, Fairbanks. He got his start in acting by joining the Frederick Warde Company, a popular traveling company that appeared annually in Seattle. In 1900, Fairbanks appeared with Warde on two occasions. In 1907, Fairbanks married Anna Beth Sully, and they had a son, the actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. In 1915, he joined Triangle Pictures and began working with D.W. Griffith. In 1919, Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Griffith formed their own studio to give them creative control over their work, the United Artist Corporation. In 1919, Fairbanks and Sully divorced, and he married Pickford in 1920. In 1927, Fairbanks hosted the first Academy Awards. Despite being the most popular actor of the silent era (known for his swashbuckling roles and wide smile), Fairbanks never managed to transition to sound. In 1934, he retired from acting, and in 1936, he divorced Pickford and married Sylvia Ashley. On December 12, 1939, Fairbanks died of a heart attack.

Cultural Identity: 
Notable Roles: 
Simon in "The Lion's Mouth"
Balthazar in "Romeo and Juliet"
Count Savielli in "The Duke's Jester"
Francois in "Richelieu"
Florio in "The Duke's Jester"
Lodorico in "Othello"
Flom, Eric L. Silent Film on the Stages of Seattle: A History of Performances by Hollywood Notables. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. FAIRBANKS A STAR OF SILENT MOVIES. (1939, Dec 13). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from