Born: April 19, 1899 in San Francisco, CA, USA
Died: September 4, 1985 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
|Masked Emotions (1929) .... Bramdlet Dickery
True Heaven (1929) .... Lieutenant Philip Gresson
Blindfold (1928) .... Robert Kelly
Noah's Ark (1928/I) .... Travis / Japheth
Honor Bound (1928) .... John Oglegree
Sharp Shooters (1928) .... George
... aka Three Naval Rascals (UK)
East Side, West Side (1927) .... John Breen
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) .... The Man
... aka Sunrise (USA: short title)
Paid to Love (1927) .... Crown Prince Michael
The Romantic Age (1927)
Is Zat So? (1927) .... Ed Chick Cowan
The Blue Eagle (1926) .... George Darcy
Fig Leaves (1926) .... Adam Smith
3 Bad Men (1926) .... Dan O'Malley
The Silver Treasure (1926) .... Nostromo
Rustling for Cupid (1926) .... Bradley Blatchford
The Johnstown Flood (1926) .... Tom O'Day
The Fighting Heart (1925) .... Denny Bolton
... aka Once to Every Man (UK)
Thank You (1925) .... Kenneth Jamieson
Havoc (1925) .... Dick Chappel
The Dancers (1925) .... Tony
The Roughneck (1924) .... Jerry Delaney
... aka Thorns of Passion (UK)
The Painted Lady (1924) .... Luther Smith
The Iron Horse (1924) .... Davy Brandon
The Man Who Came Back (1924) .... Henry Potter
The Sea Hawk (1924) (uncredited) .... Galley slave
Shadows of Paris (1924) .... Louis
Woman-Proof (1923) .... Bill Burleigh
The Ne'er-Do-Well (1923) .... Clifford
Ebb Tide (1922) (uncredited) .... Islander
The Ghost Breaker (1922) (uncredited) .... One of the 'Ghosts'
Moran of the Lady Letty (1922) (uncredited) .... Deck Hand
White Hands (1922) .... Sailor
|~It was William Fox who discovered George O'Brien. George was carrying a
camera on the Fox lot during one summer vacation when Mr. Fox saw him and
was attracted by his smile. The next thing George knew he was given a leading
role in "The Iron Horse." He was born in San Francisco, in 1900, has brown hair
and eyes, weighs 176 and is 5 feet, 11 inches tall. During the World War he enlisted
in the Navy and became light heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet. His
hobby is athletics.~
|~Stars of the Photoplay, 1930~
SilentHollywood.com Discussion Group on Facebook
Internet Movie Database
Turner Classic Movies
American Film Institute
|~Los Angeles Times, 1985~
|George O'Brien, an athlete turned actor, appeared in about 75 films over 40 years.
Born in San Francisco, where his father was chief of police, O'Brien became the Navy's
Pacific Fleet light-heavyweight boxing champion during World War I. After his discharge
he was introduced to cowboy star Tom Mix who helped him find work as an assistant
cameraman, extra and stuntman.
One of his early film tricks involved Rudolph Valentino knocking O'Brien from the rigging
of a ship into the sea.
O'Brien's first featured screen appearance was in "White Hands" in 1922, and although he
quickly appeared in four other films he remained a relative unknown until John Ford
selected him to star in "The Iron Horse" in 1924.
That two-hour early epic about a son helping to build the first transcontinental railroad
while seeking to avenge his father's death featured a then-rare cast of thousands and
established Ford as a serious director and O'Brien as a star.
It also marked the beginning of O'Brien's long-running personal and professional
relationship with Ford, which extended to 1964.
In 1927 he appeared opposite Janet Gaynor in "Sunrise." That tale of a villager in love
with a city woman is considered among Hollywood's finest silent productions.
By now publicists had dubbed O'Brien "The Torso" because of his physique, and he began
working with some of the biggest names in films — Mary Astor, Wallace Beery, Douglas
Fairbanks Jr., William Powell and Myrna Loy.
After 1930 O'Brien became one of Hollywood's essential western stars in "Riders of the
Purple Sage," "Frontier Marshal," "The Cowboy Millionaire," "Daniel Boone," "The
Fighting Gringo" and dozens more.
He reenlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor in 1941 and was at Attu when American
forces captured that Aleutian island from the Japanese.
After the war he returned to his horse and a featured role in "Fort Apache," another John
Ford spectacular with a cast that included John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Shirley Temple.
In 1949 he made "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" also with Wayne. His last film was Ford's
1964 "Cheyenne Autumn."
After his retirement from films O'Brien directed and produced stage plays in the United
States and Europe, and produced and wrote scripts for movies and TV.
He had married actress Marguerite Churchill, who appeared with him in "Riders of the
Purple Sage" in 1933, but they divorced in 1948.
— Burt A. Folkart in the Los Angeles Times Sept. 8, 1985