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Claude Gillingwater

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Claude Gillingwater
Film actor Claude Gillingwater (SAYRE 2784).jpg
Gillingwater in 1924
Born
Claude Benton Gillingwater

(1870-08-02)August 2, 1870
DiedNovember 1, 1939(1939-11-01) (aged 69)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
OccupationActor
Years active1918–1939
Spouse(s)
Carlyn Kaeferle Strelitz
(m. 1905; died 1937)
Children1

Claude Benton Gillingwater (August 2, 1870 – November 1, 1939) was an American stage and screen actor.[1] He first appeared on the stage then in more than 90 films between 1918 and 1939, including the Academy Award-nominated A Tale of Two Cities (1935) and Conquest (1937). He appeared in several films starring Shirley Temple, beginning with Poor Little Rich Girl (1936).

Early life

Gillingwater was born in Louisiana, Missouri. Though he studied law, he preferred not to follow in his father's footsteps and become a lawyer. He became a travelling salesman for a wholesale firm, selling vinegar. While thus engaged, he joined a small theatrical company managed by David Belasco. Eight years later, Mary Pickford saw him act and secured him for her picture, Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921), which launched his film career.

Hollywood career

In later years, Gillingwater generally played curmudgeonly character roles. His best-known role is probably Jarvis Lorry in David O'Selznick's production of A Tale of Two Cities (1935). He also appeared in Mississippi (1935), The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936) and A Yank at Oxford (1938). He proved to be an excellent crabapple foil for 20th Century-Fox moppet star Shirley Temple in Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) and subsequently appeared in Just Around the Corner (1938) and Little Miss Broadway (1938).

Claude Gillingwater (The Actor's Birthday Book, 1906)
Claude Gillingwater (The Actor's Birthday Book, 1906)

Later years and death

In February, 1936, while filming Florida Special (1936) at Paramount studios, he fell from a platform, resulting in a severe back injury from which he never fully recovered. His general health began to decline and his career was threatened. This, along with the death of his wife Carlyn in April, 1937, left him extremely depressed.[1]

On November 1, 1939, a housekeeper found Gillingwater dead, sitting in a chair inside a closet of his Beverly Hills, California home from a self-inflicted bullet wound to the chest. A suicide note stated he was worried about his failing health and the possibility of becoming an invalid. He did not want to become a burden to anyone, so he chose to take his own life. The death of the 69-year-old actor was officially ruled a suicide.[1] His cremated remains were interred at the Columbarium of Prayer, Niche 10628, in The Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.[citation needed]

His son, Claude Gillingwater, Jr., was also an actor.[1]

Partial filmography

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Gillingwater's Death Shocks Film Community". Spokane Daily Chronicle. AP. November 2, 1939. p. 17. Retrieved September 11, 2011.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 October 2021, at 18:35
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