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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ford Sterling
Sterling in 1926
Born
George Stitch

(1883-11-03)November 3, 1883
DiedOctober 13, 1939(1939-10-13) (aged 55)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Occupations
  • Actor
  • Comedian
Years active1904–1935
Spouse
(m. 1914)

Ford Sterling (born George Stitch; November 3, 1883 – October 13, 1939) was an American comedian and actor best known for his work with Keystone Studios. One of the 'Big 4', he was the original chief of the Keystone Cops.

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Transcription

Early years

Sterling was born George Stitch in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on November 3, 1883, He left home at age 12 to join a repertory company.[1]

Career

Sterling joined a circus, working with an aerial act, after which he performed as an acrobatic clown with another circus for five years. He then went to New York City, where he became featured in a musical show. Director Mack Sennett saw him there and offered him a job.[1]

Sterling began his career in silent films in 1911 with Biograph Studios. When Sennett left to set up Keystone Studios in 1912, Sterling followed him. There, he performed various roles, such as 'Chief Teeheezel' in the Keystone Cops series of slapstick comedies in a successful career that spanned twenty-five years.

From 1913 and throughout the 1910s, Sterling was among the most popular screen comedians in the world. Charlie Chaplin recalled that, when joining Keystone in early 1914, he was at first dismayed to discover that he was expected to imitate Sterling.[2] Chaplin and Sterling played together at least twice on film, in the one-reelers A Thief Catcher and Between Showers (both 1914).

In the 1920s, Sterling abandoned the short comedy format, instead playing supporting roles in both comedic and dramatic feature-length films, such as He Who Gets Slapped (1924) opposite Lon Chaney. After talking pictures came along, Sterling returned to appearing in short comedies.

Making a smooth transition to talking films, Ford Sterling made the last of his more than two hundred and seventy film appearances in 1936.

Sterling was also a renowned amateur photographer, who won many prizes and at one point (in 1924) even had some of his work exhibited at the Louvre.[3]

Personal life and death

Sterling was married to actress Teddy Sampson. He was in a hospital for 18 months prior to his death, and his left leg was amputated above his knee a week before his death. He died on October 13, 1939, of thrombosis[1] (following long-standing diabetes) in Los Angeles, California, and is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[4]

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Sterling has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6612 Hollywood Blvd.

Selected filmography

With Marvel Rea and Alice Maison
"Barney Oldfield's A Race for a Life" [1913] with left to right:Hank Mann; Ford Sterling; Al St John and in foreground Mabel Normand
Left:Ford Sterling as Keystone Cops Police chief [seated}; 4th from right: Al St John in "In the Clutches of the Gang (1914)
Showing Charlie Chaplin and Ford Sterling with the umbrella and Chester Conklin and Emma Clifton in the background left in "Between Showers" (1914)
Chester Conklin (left), Mary Thurman (center) and Ford Sterling (right) in the 1918 Mack Sennett comedy Beware of Boarders
Sterling and Esther Ralston (1927)
Sterling and Patsy Ruth Miller in The Fall of Eve (1929)

References

Notes
  1. ^ a b c "Ford Sterling, 55, Movie Comic, Dies". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 14, 1939. p. 19. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  2. ^ Chaplin, Charles: My Autobiography (Bodley Head, 1964), p. 143.
  3. ^ White, Wendy Warwick: Ford Sterling - The Life and Films (McFarland & Company, 2007), p. 87.
  4. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (May 1, 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-7864-0983-9. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
Bibliography

External links

This page was last edited on 28 March 2024, at 04:18
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