Born: August 23, 1894 in Llanelli, Wales, UK
Died: October 1, 1965 in Woodland Hills, California, USA
|~Hoover Portrait of Gareth Hughes~
Gareth Hughes Wales’ first Hollywood silent film star(The star in the desert)
Gareth Hughes was born into a working class family on the 23rd of August 1894; he was actually
named William John by his parents!
He was very good friends with Hedda Hopper! Who wrote about her dear friend back in December
1963, in one of her very last columns! They had known each other for years, and had met when they
were both young actors during the silent movie era while filming “The Isle of Conquest” in 1919!
He began acting at a very young age, firstly here in Wales, then later at 17 years of age he was allowed
to go to London to pursue his passion for acting.
After a time, he joined the Welsh Players and travelled on tour with them to America. When they
returned to the UK (the tour was a flop) he decided to stay on in America and became very successful
He appeared in many productions such as Little Miss Llewellyn, Change and a play by J.M.Barrie
called The New Word .Later he went onto star in a film based on another book written by Barrie
entitled Sentimental Tommy in which he played one of the lead roles of Tommy Sands, which was
made in 1921. Even though he had already appeared in many films before, he always regarded
Sentimental Tommy as his favourite and most successful. In total he made forty five films spanning
1918 to 1931, and was also the Welsh dialect coach, on The Corn Is Green made in 1945 starring Bette
Davis (another welsh connection).
"Sheer genius and poetry," Wilder wrote to describe Gareth Hughes. "And when his glasses are off,
he is the divinest thing to look upon that I have ever seen."
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975)
Ceil.B.DeMille called him “a young idealist”.
Fulton Ousler describes him as” the charm boy to end all charm boys”
I’ve called him “A Forgotten Welsh Hero”
At the height of his popularity he was earning as much as $2000 a week.
He was under contract to the big film studios of the time including Fox and MGM, who are still big
players in the film world today.
In 1929 like many others he lost his fortune in the Wall Street crash and was left penny less, but he
carried on making films until 1931 when he appeared in Scarce Heads.
He then decided to leave the world of film and return to theatre, which he had always been his first
love. His last performance ran for 18 weeks in 1938 at the Hollywood Playhouse and University of
Michigan where he starred as Shylock in the Merchant of Venice.
In the early 1940’s he decided it was time to leave this life style behind, having led a full and exciting
but also lavish and selfish life he now wanted to change and instead give something back to others.
Adopting the name of Brother David (after Saint David) he became a missionary to the Paiute Indians
on the Pyramid Lake Reservation in Nevada. He spent almost 14 years (1944 to 1958) with his
“children”, as he liked to call them and is still loved and remembered as Bro to this day.
In 1958 he decided to return to Llanelli to spend his last years here. But he longed for the sunshine of
California and after 5 months he returned to the states. He decided to return to the states and Reno,
to be close to his beloved Paiutes! Eventually he was persuaded by his friends in L.A to take up
residence at the actor’s retirement home in Woodlands hills California. This was to be his last move
and he finally he succumbed to a long term illness and died there in October 1965.
Biography written by Gareth's cousin & documentary film-maker Kelvin Guy.
Silent Sentinel (1929) .... Bob Benton
Broken Hearted (1929)
The Sky Rider (1928) .... Dick
Old Age Handicap (1928)
Comrades (1928) .... Bob Dixon
Top Sergeant Mulligan (1928) .... Lt. Fritz von Lang
Heroes in Blue (1927) .... Tom Dugan
Broadway After Midnight (1927) .... Billy Morgan
Better Days (1927)
The Eyes of the Totem (1927) .... Bruce huston
The Whirlwind of Youth (1927) .... Curley
In the First Degree (1927) .... Jerry Pendleton
The Auctioneer (1927) .... Richard Eagan
Men of the Night (1926) .... Dick Foster
The Midnight Girl (1925) .... Don Harmon
The Sunset Trail (1924) .... Collie King
Shadows of Paris (1924) .... Emile Boule
The Spanish Dancer (1923) .... Lazarillo
Penrod and Sam (1923) .... Robert Williams
Enemies of Women (1923) .... Spadoni
The Christian (1923) .... Brother Paul
Kick In (1922) .... Benny
Forget Me Not (1922) .... Jimmy, The Boy
Don't Write Letters (1922) .... Robert W. Jenks
I Can Explain (1922) .... Jimmy Berry
Little Eva Ascends (1922) .... Roy St. George
The Hunch (1921) .... J. Preston Humphrey
Garments of Truth (1921) .... Lester Crope
Life's Darn Funny (1921) .... Clay Warwick
Sentimental Tommy (1921) .... Tommy Sandys
The Lure of Youth (1921) .... Roger Dent
The Woman in His House (1920) .... Sigurd
The Chorus Girl's Romance (1920) .... Horace Tarbox
The Eternal Mother (1920) .... Stephen Rhodes
... aka "Indiscretion" - USA (reissue title)
Eyes of Youth (1919) .... Kenneth Ashling
The Isle of Conquest (1919) .... Jack Frazier
The Red Viper (1919) .... David Belkov
The Woman Under Oath (1919) .... Jim O'Neil
Ginger (1919) (as Garreth Hughes) .... Bobby Trowbridge
... aka "Ginger, the Bride of Chateau Thierry" - USA (copyright title)
Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919) .... Billy Wiggs
Woman, Woman! (1919) .... Gwenne Stevens
Every Mother's Son (1918) .... Third Son
And the Children Pay (1918) .... Billy Clark
... aka "The Eleventh Hour" - USA (copyright title)