Arthur Edmund Carewe

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Arthur Edmund Carewe
Carewe publicity photo in Stars of the Photoplay (1922)
Born Hovsep Hovsepian
(1884-12-30)December 30, 1884
Trabzon, Ottoman Empire
Died April 22, 1937(1937-04-22) (aged 52)

Arthur Edmund Carewe (December 30, 1884[1] – April 22, 1937) was an Armenian-American actor in the silent and early sound film era.

Early life[edit]

Born Hovsep Hovsepian in Trabzon (Trebizond), Ottoman Empire, Carewe was from a prosperous family in his native country. His father, Garo, was engaged in the banking business and carried some influence from his positions in the national legislature and board of education.[2]

Garo Hovsepian died in 1892, and the Hamidian massacres eventually forced the Hovsepian family to emigrate. Carewe came to the United States on August 7, 1896, arriving in New York Harbor on the Augusta Victoria, having departed from Cherbourg.[3] He was accompanied by his elder brother, Ardasches. Another elder brother, Garo Armen, had preceded them, and their mother arrived the following year.

He went to High School at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, after which he studied painting and sculpture. At the turn of the century, he and Garo ran a rug and furnishings business in New York City. He decided upon a stage career and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, graduating in March 1904 with the David Belasco Gold Medal for Dramatic Ability. Another member of the graduating class that year was future slapstick comedian Ford Sterling.

By 1910, he had assumed the stage name of Arthur Carew and earned attention in national newspapers for a suspected fake suicide attempt over the actress/dancer Nance Gwynne.[4] He relocated to Chicago sometime before 1915 and operated another furnishing goods business until he moved to Hollywood in 1919. His debut role was in the Constance Talmadge comedy Romance and Arabella. He became a naturalized citizen June 28, 1918.


During his time in the motion picture industry, Carewe became a well-respected character actor and would perform in several classic literary screen adaptations, specializing as shady, neurotic, wild-eyed characters, which he seemed to revel in playing.

He also continued to perform sporadically in regional theaters, essaying in 1921 the role of Prinzivalle in "Monna Vanna" by Maurice Maeterlinck.[5] In 1926, he wrote two screenplays for First National that were never produced. In 1928, he traveled to Europe, but a proposal to perform a self-penned screenplay for Universum Film AG was never realized.[6]

He was for a time considered for, and later turned down, the role of Count Dracula in 1931, which would eventually go to Bela Lugosi. Seen in many classic offerings such as The Ghost Breaker (1922), Trilby (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927), The Cat and the Canary (1927), Doctor X (1932), and Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), Carewe completed nearly 50 films, mostly during the silent film era.

Personal life[edit]

Carewe married the soprano Irene Pavlowska (née Irene Levi) on February 17, 1915 in Chicago.[7] They divorced in 1921.[8]

Shortly after completing Charlie Chan's Secret (1936), he suffered a stroke, which ended his acting career. He was found dead in his car in the parking lot of a Santa Monica beach motel, an apparent suicide by a gunshot to the head.[9]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Although this is the commonly accepted year, and some references cite 1894, his 1917 draft registration card and his 1915 marriage license give his birth year as 1881.
  2. ^ Stone, Wilbur Fisk. History of Colorado: Volume II. Chicago: S.J. Clark, 1918.
  3. ^ Avakian, Linda L. Armenian Immigrants: Boston 1891-1901, New York 1880-1897. Picton Press, 1996. (ISBN 0897252756)
  4. ^ "Actress' Bid For Publicity Lands Actor In Jail", New York Times, February 7, 1910.; "Tries Again To See Miss Gwyn", Boston Daily Globe, February 7, 1910. pg. 7.
  5. ^ "Both Busy On Stage," Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1921. p. III4; "'Monna Vanna' To Be Given For Mary Garden Today," Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1921. p. III4.
  6. ^ "Arthur Carew With UFA", Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1928. p. A8
  7. ^ Marriage License
  8. ^ "Irene Pavloska, Bride, Guarantees Alimony," Washington Post, December 30, 1928, p. M1, 10.
  9. ^ "Suicide Victim Former Actor," Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1937. p. A2

External links[edit]