Fritz Leiber, Sr.

Fritz Leiber, Sr.

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Fritz Leiber, Sr.

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This article refers to the actor. For his son, the science fiction writer, see Fritz Leiber.




Fritz Reuter Leiber Sr. (January 31, 1882 – October 14, 1949), was an American actor and father of the author Fritz Leiber, Jr. The two Leibers appear together, along with Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor, in the wedding-feast scene of Garbo's film Camille.

Born in Chicago, he was a noted Shakespearean actor on stage and also in Hollywood from 1916 to his death from a heart attack at the age of 67.

For most or all of his long acting career, Leiber (Sr.) had an interesting hobby: each time he performed a new role, he had his likeness or portrait made in costume and make-up for that role. Since Leiber was not an especially protean actor, he tended to look the same in every part: therefore, to bring some variety to his portrait collection, he varied the format and media of each likeness: one was a full-length oil painting, another a charcoal sketch of his upper body; one a sculpted bust, one a clay bas-relief, and so forth. After the actor's death, all of his surviving portraits passed to his son Fritz Jr., who found himself in the awkward situation of sharing a cramped residence with more than two hundred copies of his father's face; Fritz Leiber Jr. later used this experience as the basis of his 1963 story "237 Talking Statues, Etc."

In the film Champagne Waltz, Leiber portrayed an orchestra maestro; the role required him to play classical music on a violin and jazz on a...
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