Landis with Clara Horton in It's a Great Life (1920)
July 9, 1896|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||August 26, 1975
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, U.S.
Cullen Landis (July 9, 1896 – August 26, 1975) was an American motion picture actor and director whose career began in the early years of the silent film era.
James Cullen Landis was the middle of three siblings (two sons and a daughter) raised by Lulan and Margaret (née Cullen) Landis in Nashville, Tennessee, where his father supported his family as a stock broker. As a boy, James was a train enthusiast and dreamed to be an railroad engineer. Though the ambition eventually faded, his interest in railroads did not, and some years later he helped design for himself a model train set powered by steam (left). He began working in the fledgling film industry at age 18 around the time his older sister, Margaret Landis, appeared in her first film.
In 1928 Cullen Landis starred in the first ‘all talking’ motion picture, Lights of New York. He once confided in a friend that talkies were perfect for musicals and that he was no "song and dance man". He left Hollywood for Detroit in 1930 to produce and direct industrial films for automobile companies. Landis began as a movie director, only turning to acting after his lead player broke a leg and it was discovered that the actor’s costumes fit him.
He went on to become one of the more popular lead actors of the silent era, appearing in some one hundred films over 14 years.
During World War II, he served as a captain with US Army Signal Corps producing training films in the South Pacific. By war’s end he was twice decorated and promoted to major. In the post war years he made documentaries for the US State Department that took him to the far corners of the world.
- The Little Wild Girl (1928)
- Lights of New York (1928)
- The Crimson Flash (1927)
- On Guard (1927)
- Christine of the Big Tops (1926)
- With Buffalo Bill on the U. P. Trail (1926)
- A Broadway Butterfly (1925)
- Easy Money (1925)
- The Fighting Coward (1924)
- Crashin' Thru (1923)
- The Famous Mrs. Fair (1923)
- Jinx (1919)
- The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1919)
- Joy and the Dragon (1916) (*as J. Cullen Landis)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cullen Landis.|
- Cullen Landis at the Internet Movie Database
- Cullen Landis at Find a Grave
- Cullen Landis at AllMovie
- Cullen Landis at Virtual History