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Warren William

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Warren William
Warren William in Goodbye Again trailer.jpg
Born
Warren William Krech

(1894-12-02)December 2, 1894
DiedSeptember 24, 1948(1948-09-24) (aged 53)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupationactor
Years active1920–1947
Spouse(s)Helen Barbara Nelson (1923–1948; his death)

Warren William (born Warren William Krech; December 2, 1894 – September 24, 1948) was a Broadway and Hollywood actor, immensely popular during the early 1930s; he was later nicknamed the "King of Pre-Code". He was the first actor to play Perry Mason.

Early life

Warren William Krech's family originated in Bad Tennstedt, Thuringia, Germany. His grandfather, Ernst Wilhelm Krech (born 1819), fled Germany in 1848 during the Revolution, going first to France and later emigrating to the United States. He wed Mathilde Grow in 1851, and had six children. Freeman E. Krech, Warren's father, was born in 1856. Around the age of 25, Freeman moved to Aitkin, a small town in Minnesota, where he bought a newspaper, The Aitkin Age, in 1885. He married Frances Potter, daughter of a merchant, September 18, 1890. Their son Warren was born December 2, 1894.[1]

Warren William's interest in acting began in 1903, when an opera house was built in Aitkin. He was also an avid and lifelong amateur inventor, a pursuit that may have contributed to his death.[2] After high school, William auditioned for, and was enrolled in, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in New York City in October 1915.[1]

As his senior year at AADA was coming to an end, the United States had entered the First World War, and William enlisted in the United States Army. He was assigned from base to base, in charge of training new men at various locations, and in 1918 was assigned to Fort Dix near New York City, in New Jersey. While in New York, he met his future wife, Helen Barbara Nelson, who was 17 years older than he was.[citation needed] In October 1918 he left for France, to enter the war. William left the army in early 1919, after which he began working on his acting career. In 1923, he and Helen were married.[1]

Career

Dave the Dude (William) and Apple Annie (May Robson) in Lady for a Day (1933)
Dave the Dude (William) and Apple Annie (May Robson) in Lady for a Day (1933)

William, who appeared in his first Broadway play in 1920, soon made a name for himself in New York, and appeared in more than 20 plays on Broadway between 1920 and 1931. During this period he also appeared in two silent films, The Town That Forgot God (1922)[3] and Plunder (1923).[4]

He moved from New York City to Hollywood in 1931. The Village Voice called him "The King of Pre-Code".[5] He began as a contract player at Warner Bros. and quickly became a star during what is now known as the 'Pre-Code' period. He developed a reputation for portraying ruthless, amoral businessmen (Under 18, Skyscraper Souls, The Match King, Employees' Entrance), crafty lawyers (The Mouthpiece, Perry Mason), and outright charlatans (The Mind Reader).[6] These roles were considered controversial, yet they were highly satisfying. This was the harshest period of the Great Depression, characterized by massive business failures and oppressive unemployment. Movie audiences jeered at the businessmen, who were often portrayed as predators.

William did play some sympathetic roles, including Dave the Dude in Frank Capra's Lady for a Day, and a loving father and husband cuckolded by Ann Dvorak's character in Three on a Match (1932). He was a young songwriter's comically pompous older brother in Golddiggers of 1933. William was Julius Caesar in Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (1934; starring Claudette Colbert in the title role), and with Colbert again the same year as her character's love interest in Imitation of Life (1934). He played the swashbuckling musketeer d'Artagnan in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939), directed by James Whale.[7]

The studios capitalized on William's popularity by placing him in multiple "series" films, particularly as detectives and crime-solvers. William was the first to portray Erle Stanley Gardner's fictional defense attorney Perry Mason on the big screen and starred in four Perry Mason mysteries.[8] He played Raffles-like reformed jewel thief The Lone Wolf in nine films, beginning with The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939), and appeared as Detective Philo Vance in two of the series films,The Dragon Murder Case (1934) and the comedic The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939). He also starred as Sam Spade (renamed Ted Shane) in Satan Met a Lady (1936), the second screen version of The Maltese Falcon.[9]

Other roles included Mae West's manager in Go West, Young Man (1936), a jealous district attorney in another James Whale film, Wives Under Suspicion (1938), copper-magnate Jesse Lewisohn in 1940's Lillian Russell, the evil Jefferson Carteret in Arizona (also 1940), and sympathetic Dr. Lloyd in The Wolf Man (1941). In 1945, he played Brett Curtis in cult director Edgar G. Ulmer's 1945 modern-day version of Hamlet, called Strange Illusion.[10] In what would be his last film, he played Laroche-Mathieu in The Private Affairs of Bel Ami in 1947.

On radio, William starred in the transcribed series Strange Wills, which featured "stories behind strange wills that run the gamut of human emotion."[11]

Private life and death

Although on-screen William was an actor audiences loved to hate, off-screen William was a private man, and he and his wife, Helen, kept out of the limelight. Warren and Helen remained a couple throughout his entire adult life. He was often described as having been shy in real life. Co-star Joan Blondell once said, "[He] ... was an old man – even when he was a young man."[8]

Warren William died on September 24, 1948, from multiple myeloma, at age 53. His wife died a few months later.[2] He was recognized for his contribution to motion pictures with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February 1960.[1]

Filmography

Warren William filmography
Title Year Role Notes
Studio/Distributor
Ref(s)
The Town That Forgot God 1923 Eben, the carpenter as Warren Krech (silent film)
Fox Film
[3]
Plunder 1923 Mr. Jones as Warren Krech
(15-episode Pearl White silent serial)
George B. Seitz Productions
[4]
Honor of the Family 1931 Captain Boris Barony First National Pictures [12]
Expensive Women 1931 Neil Hartley Warner Bros. Pictures [13]
Three on a Match 1932 Robert Kirkwood First National Pictures [14]
The Dark Horse 1932 Hal Samson Blake First National Pictures [15]
Skyscraper Souls 1932 David Dwight Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [16]
The Mouthpiece 1932 Vincent Day Warner Bros. Pictures [17]
The Match King 1932 Paul Kroll First National Pictures [18]
Beauty and the Boss 1932 Baron Josef von Ullrich Warner Bros. Pictures [19]
The Woman from Monte Carlo 1932 Lieutenant d'Ortelles First National Pictures [20]
Under Eighteen 1932 Raymond Harding Warner Bros. Pictures [21]
Goodbye Again 1933 Kenneth Bixby First National Pictures [22]
Lady for a Day 1933 Dave the Dude Columbia Pictures [23]
The Mind Reader 1933 Chandra Chandler First National Pictures [24]
Gold Diggers of 1933 1933 J. Lawrence Bradford Warner Bros. Pictures [25]
Employees' Entrance 1933 Kurt Anderson First National Pictures [26]
Just Around the Corner 1933 Mr. Sears General Electric promotional short [27]
The Secret Bride 1934 Robert Sheldon Warner Bros. Pictures [28]
Cleopatra 1934 Julius Caesar Paramount Pictures [29]
Dr. Monica 1934 John Braden Warner Bros. Pictures [30]
Smarty 1934 Tony Wallace Warner Bros. Pictures [31]
Imitation of Life 1934 Stephen Archer Universal Pictures [32]
The Case of the Howling Dog 1934 Perry Mason First film depiction of Perry Mason
Warner Bros. Pictures
[33]
The Dragon Murder Case 1934 Philo Vance First National Pictures [34]
Bedside 1934 Bob Brown First National Pictures [35]
Upper World 1934 Alex Stream Warner Bros. Pictures [36]
Living on Velvet 1935 Walter "Gibraltar" Pritcham First National Pictures [37]
Don't Bet on Blondes 1935 Odds Owen Warner Bros. Pictures [38]
The Case of the Curious Bride 1935 Perry Mason First National Pictures [39]
The Case of the Lucky Legs 1935 Perry Mason Warner Bros. Pictures [40]
Satan Met a Lady 1936 Ted Shane Warner Bros. Pictures [41]
Go West, Young Man 1936 Morgan Major Pictures Corp. [42]
The Widow from Monte Carlo 1936 Major Allan Chepstow Warner Bros. Pictures [43]
The Case of the Velvet Claws 1936 Perry Mason First National Pictures [44]
Times Square Playboy 1936 Vic Arnold Warner Bros. Pictures [45]
Stage Struck 1936 Fred Harris First National Pictures [46]
Outcast 1937 Dr. Wendell Phillips Jones Major Pictures Corp. [47]
Midnight Madonna 1937 Blackie Denbo Major Pictures Corp. [48]
Madame X 1937 Bernard Fleuriot Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [49]
The Firefly 1937 Major de Rouchemont Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [50]
Wives Under Suspicion 1938 District Attorney Jim Stowell Universal Pictures [51]
The First Hundred Years 1938 Harry Borden Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [52]
Arsène Lupin Returns 1938 Steve Emerson Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [53]
The Gracie Allen Murder Case 1939 Philo Vance Paramount Pictures [54]
The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt 1939 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [55]
Day-Time Wife 1939 Bernard Dexter 20th Century Fox [56]
The Man in the Iron Mask 1939 d'Artagnan Edward Small Productions [57]
Lillian Russell 1940 Jesse Lewisohn 20th Century Fox [58]
Trail of the Vigilantes 1940 Mark Dawson Universal Pictures [59]
The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady 1940 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [60]
The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date 1940 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [61]
The Lone Wolf Strikes 1940 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [62]
Arizona 1940 Jefferson Carteret Columbia Pictures [63]
The Wolf Man 1941 Dr. Lloyd Universal Pictures [64]
The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance 1941 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [65]
Secrets of the Lone Wolf 1941 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [66]
Wild Geese Calling 1941 Blackie Bedford 20th Century Fox [67]
Counter-Espionage 1942 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [68]
Wild Bill Hickok Rides 1942 Harry Farrel Warner Bros. Pictures [69]
One Dangerous Night 1943 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [70]
Passport to Suez 1943 Michael Lanyard / "The Lone Wolf" Columbia Pictures [71]
Strange Illusion 1945 Brett Curtis Producers Releasing Corporation [72]
Fear 1946 Police Capt. Burke Monogram Pictures [73]
The Private Affairs of Bel Ami 1947 Laroche-Mathieu Loew-Lewin, Inc./United Artists [74]

Stage

Note: The list below is limited to New York/Broadway theatrical productions; listed as Warren William, except where noted

Broadway credits of Warren William
Title Production run Role Notes Ref(s)
Mrs. Jimmie Thompson Mar 29, 1920 - May 1920 Edgar Blodgett as Warren W. Krech [75]
John Hawthorne Jan 24, 1921 - Jan 1921 John Hawthorne as Warren W. Krech [76]
We Girls Nov 09, 1921 - Nov 1921 Doctor Tom Brown as Warren W. Krech [77]
The Wonderful Visit Feb 12, 1924 - Apr 1924 Sir John Gotch, K.B.E. [78]
Expressing Willie Apr 16, 1924 - Jun 1924 George Cadwalader [79]
Nocturne Feb 16, 1925 - Feb 1925 Keith Reddington [80]
The Blue Peter Mar 24, 1925 - Apr 1925 David Hunter [81]
Rosmersholm May 05, 1925 - May 1925 Johannes Rosmer [82]
Twelve Miles Out Nov 16, 1925 - Apr 1926 Gerald Fey [83]
Easter One More Day Mar 18, 1926 - Apr 1926 Elis [84]
Fanny Sep 21, 1926 - Nov 1926 Joe White Starring Fanny Brice [85]
Paradise Dec 26, 1927 - Jan 1928 Dr. Achilles Swain [86]
Veils Mar 13, 1928 - Mar 1928 Mr. Robert Sloan [87]
The Golden Age Apr 24, 1928 - Apr 1928 The Stranger [88]
Sign of the Leopard Dec 11, 1928 - Jan 1929 Captain Leslie [89]
Let Us Be Gay Feb 19, 1929 - Dec 1929 Bob Brown Replaced by Barry O'Neill for unknown number of performances [90]
Week-End Oct 22, 1929 - Oct 1929 Brett Laney [91]
Out of a Blue Sky Feb 08, 1930 - Feb 1930 Paul Rana [92]
The Vikings May 12, 1930 - May 1930 Sigurd [93]
Stepdaughters of War Oct 06, 1930 - Oct 1930 Geoffrey Hilder [94]
The Vinegar Tree Nov 19, 1930 - Jun 1931 Max Lawrence [95]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Warren William". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
  2. ^ a b Stangeland, John (2010). Warren William: Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6182-0.
  3. ^ a b "The Town That Forgot God". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Plunder". www.silentera.com. Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  5. ^ Hoberman, J. (July 20, 2011). "Warren William: As Titan of Industry, King of Pre-Code | The Village Voice". www.villagevoice.com. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  6. ^ "Mind reader". UCLA Film Library. UCLA. 1933. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Man in the Iron Mask". UCLA Film Library. UCLA. 1939. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Fristoe, Roger. "William Warren Profile". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
  9. ^ Dieterle, William; Hammett, Dashiell (1936). "Satan Met a Lady". UCLA Film and Television Arvhive. UCLA.
  10. ^ "Strange Illusion (1945) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  11. ^ "(Teleways ad)" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 21, 1946. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Honor of the Family". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Expensive Women". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "Three on a Match". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "The Dark Horse". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Skyscraper Souls". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Mouthpiece". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Match King". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Beauty and the Boss". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "The Woman from Monte Carlo". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Under Eighteen". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "Goodbye Again". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "Lady for a Day". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "The Mind Reader". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "Gold Diggers of 1933". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  26. ^ "Employees' Entrance". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  27. ^ "Just Around the Corner (1933)". Letterboxd Limited. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  28. ^ "The Secret Bride". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  29. ^ "Cleopatra". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  30. ^ "Dr. Monica". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  31. ^ "Smarty". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  32. ^ "Imitation of Life". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  33. ^ "The Case of the Howling Dog". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  34. ^ "The Dragon Murder Case". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  35. ^ "Bedside". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  36. ^ "Upper World". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  37. ^ "Living on Velvet". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  38. ^ "Don't Bet on Blondes". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  39. ^ "The Case of the Curious Bride". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  40. ^ "The Case of the Lucky Legs". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  41. ^ "Satan Met a Lady". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  42. ^ "Go West, Young Man". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  43. ^ "The Widow from Monte Carlo". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  44. ^ "The Case of the Velvet Claws". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  45. ^ "Times Square Playboy". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  46. ^ "Stage Struck". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  47. ^ "Outcast". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  48. ^ "Midnight Madonna". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  49. ^ "Madame X". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  50. ^ "The Firefly". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  51. ^ "Wives Under Suspicion". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  52. ^ "The First Hundred Years". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  53. ^ "Arsène Lupin Returns". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  54. ^ "The Gracie Allen Murder Case". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  55. ^ "The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  56. ^ "Day-Time Wife". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  57. ^ "Day-Time Wife". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  58. ^ "Lillian Russell". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  59. ^ "Trail of the Vigilantes". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  60. ^ "The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  61. ^ "The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  62. ^ "The Lone Wolf Strikes". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  63. ^ "Arizona". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  64. ^ "The Wolf Man". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  65. ^ "The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  66. ^ "Secrets of the Lone Wolf". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  67. ^ "Wild Geese Calling". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  68. ^ "Counter-Espionage". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  69. ^ "Wild Bill Hickok Rides". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  70. ^ "One Dangerous Night". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  71. ^ "Passport to Suez". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  72. ^ "Strange Illusion". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  73. ^ "Fear". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  74. ^ "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami". catalog.afi.com. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  75. ^ "Mrs. Jimmie Thompson". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  76. ^ "John Hawthorne". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  77. ^ "We Girls". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  78. ^ "The Wonderful Visit". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  79. ^ "Expressing Willie". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  80. ^ "Nocturne". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  81. ^ "The Blue Peter". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  82. ^ "Rosmersholm". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  83. ^ "Twelve Miles Out". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  84. ^ "Easter One More Day". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  85. ^ "Fanny". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  86. ^ "Paradise". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  87. ^ "Veils". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  88. ^ "The Golden Age". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  89. ^ "Sign of the Leopard". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  90. ^ "Let Us Be Gay". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.; "Let Us Be Gay". AFI|Catalog. AFI. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  91. ^ "Week-End". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  92. ^ "Out of a Blue Sky". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  93. ^ "The Vikings". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  94. ^ "Stepdaughters of War". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  95. ^ "The Vinegar Tree". IBDB. Retrieved June 8, 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 April 2021, at 19:11
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