(January 23, 1895 – November 25, 1957) was one of the great silent movie
Griffith was born in Boston, Massachusetts
. He lost his voice at an early age, causing him to speak for the rest of his life in a hoarse whisper. Griffith claimed that it was the result of his having to scream at the top of his lungs every night in a stage melodrama as a child actor—others have stated that a childhood disease was more likely the cause.
Although a few comedy films of his are considered classics he is almost totally forgotten today. His film debut was for the L-KO Kompany
. Many of his starring feature films have long since been lost, but probably the best known of his films today is Hands Up!
, a 1926 Civil War comedy feature directed by Clarence G. Badger
, and co-starring Mack Swain
, which was entered into the National Film Registry in 2005. Also considered a classic is Badger's Paths to Paradise,
a caper film
that is in all circulating prints missing its final reel. Like many silent comedians, he had a traditional costume; his was a top hat, white tie and tails, often augmented by a cape and/or walking stick.
The coming of sound ended Griffith's acting career, but he did have one memorable role in a motion picture before retiring from the screen, playing a French soldier killed by Lew Ayres
in the 1930 Lewis Milestone
film All Quiet on the Western Front.
He then segued into a writing/producing career at Twentieth Century Fox
Griffith choked to death at The......