~Ronald Colman~

Born: February 9, 1891 in Richmond, Surrey, England, UK
Died: May 19, 1958 in Santa Barbara, California, USA
Born to middle-class British parents (his father was an import merchant), actor Ronald Colman was
raised to be as much a gentleman as any "high born" Englishman, and strove to maintain that
standard both on and off screen all his life. Acting was merely a hobby to Colman while he attended
the Hadley School at Littlehampton, Sussex, but after a few years' drudgery as a bookkeeper with
the British Steamship Company, the theatre seemed a more alluring (if not more lucrative) life's
goal. After a brief service in WWI (during which he was wounded and then discharged), Colman
eventually went into acting full-time, making his debut in a tiny role in the play The Maharanee of
Arakan (1916). A subsequent better role in a production of Damaged Goods led to Colman's being
hired to star in a two-reel film drama, The Live Wire. The film was never released, which is why
Colman's "official" debut is often listed as his first feature film The Toilers (1919). The money wasn't
good in the British film industry of the period--in fact it was a step away from starvation wages - so
Colman arrived in New York City with about $37 to his name, making his American movie debut in
Handcuffs or Kisses? (1920). His next film was also his Big Break: The White Sister (1923), directed
in Italy by Henry King, in which Colman was co-starred opposite prestigious actress Lillian Gish.
The association with King and Gish was Colman's entry into Hollywood, and by 1925 he'd begun his
nine-year association with producer Sam Goldwyn. Most of Colman's silent films were lush romantic
costume dramas, in which he usually co-starred with the lovely Vilma Banky. This sort of glorious
nonsense was rendered anachronistic by the advent of talking pictures, but Goldwyn wisely cast
Colman in a sophisticated up-to-date adventure, Bulldog Drummond (1929), for the actor's talkie
debut. Colman scored an instant hit with his beautifully modulated voice and his roguishly elegant
manner, and was one of the biggest and most popular screen personalities of the 1930s. A falling out
with Goldwyn in 1934 prompted Colman to avoid long-term contracts for the rest of his career. As
good as his pre-1935 films were, Colman was even more effective as a free-lancer in such films as
Tale of Two Cities (1935), Lost Horizon (1937), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), The Light That Failed
(1939) and Talk of the Town (1942). The actor also began a fruitful radio career during this period,
first as host of an intellectual celebrity round-robin discussion weekly The Circle in 1939; ten years
later, he and his actress wife Benita Hume starred in a witty and well-written sitcom about a college
professor and his spouse, The Halls of Ivy, which became a TV series in 1954. Perhaps the most
famous of Colman's radio appearance were those he made on The Jack Benny Program as Jack's
long-suffering next door neighbor. Colman won an Academy Award for his atypical performance in
A Double Life (1947) as an emotionally disturbed actor who becomes so wrapped up in his roles that
he commits murder. Curtailing his film activities in the 1950s, Colman planned to write his
autobiography, but was prevented from doing so by ill health -- and in part by his reluctance to
speak badly of anyone. Colman died shortly after completing his final film role as the Spirit of Man
in The Story of Mankind (1957), a laughably wretched extravaganza from which Colman managed to
emerge with his dignity and reputation intact.

Biography by Hal Erickson, AllMovie.com
~Silent Filmography~
The Magic Flame (1927) .... Tito the Clown/The Count
The Night of Love (1927) .... Montero
The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) .... Willard Holmes
Beau Geste (1926) .... Michael 'Beau' Geste ... Movie Still Code: 925-X
Kiki (1926) .... Victor Renal
Lady Windermere's Fan (1925) .... Lord Darlington
Stella Dallas (1925) .... Stephen Dallas
The Dark Angel (1925) .... Captain Alan Trent
Her Sister from Paris (1925) .... Joseph Weyringer
His Supreme Moment (1925) .... John Douglas
The Sporting Venus (1925) .... Donald MacAllan
A Thief in Paradise (1925) .... Maurice Blake
Romola (1925) .... Carlo Bucellini
Her Night of Romance (1924) .... Paul Menford
Tarnish (1924) .... Emmet Carr
Twenty Dollars a Week (1924) .... Chester Reeves
... aka $20 a Week
... aka 20 Dollars a Week
The Eternal City (1923) (uncredited) .... Extra
The White Sister (1923) .... Capt. Giovanni Severini
Handcuffs or Kisses (1921) .... Lodyard
The Black Spider (1920) .... Vicomte de Beaurais
... aka Foolish Monte Carlo (USA)
A Son of David (1920) .... Maurice Phillips
Anna the Adventuress (1920) .... Brendan

Sheba (1919) (uncredited) .... Bit part
The Toilers (1919) .... Bob
A Daughter of Eve (1919) (uncredited) .... Bit Part
Snow in the Desert (1919) .... Rupert Sylvester
The Live Wire (1917)