J. Warren Kerrigan

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J. Warren Kerrigan
Jack-Kerrigan.jpg
Born George Jack Warren Kerrigan
(1879-07-28)July 28, 1879
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Died June 9, 1947(1947-06-09) (aged 67)
Balboa Beach, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Gunshot Since Party
Other names Jack Kerrigan
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 1910–1924
Partner(s) James Vincent (c.1914-1947; his death)

George Jack Warren Kerrigan (July 25, 1879 – June 9, 1947) was an American silent film actor and film director.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in New Albany, Indiana,[2] Kerrigan worked as a warehouse clerk in his teens until a chance arrived to appear in a vaudeville production. He continued to act in traveling stock productions, though he took a brief time away from the stage to attend the University of Illinois.

By the time he was 30 years old, he had begun to make appearances in films for Essanay Studios. A contract with the American Film Corporation opened the door to leading roles, often as a modern man of the age. He starred in over 300 films up to 1924.[3]

Controversy[edit]

In May 1917, Kerrigan was nearing the end of a four-month-long personal appearance publicity tour that had taken him across the United States and into Canada. At one of the final stops, a reporter for The Denver Times asked Kerrigan if he would be joining the war. Kerrigan replied:

"I am not going to war. I will go, of course, if my country needs me, but I think that first they should take the great mass of men who aren't good for anything else, or are only good for the lower grades of work. Actors, musicians, great writers, artists of every kind--isn't it a pity when people are sacrificed who are capable of such things--of adding to the beauty of the world."

Picked up and reprinted in newspapers across the country, this statement stunned his fans and his popularity plummeted, never to fully recover. Family members later reported in Behind the Screen (2001) by William J. Mann that his slump in popularity was more due to his living with his mother and partner James Vincent in the same house, and not having a business manager to overcome the negative publicity.[4]

Revival[edit]

However, when director James Cruze cast him as the rugged lead in The Covered Wagon (1923), Kerrigan found himself back on top, although fleetingly. In the spring of 1924, after John Barrymore bowed out, Kerrigan was assigned the starring role in Captain Blood. While the film was a moderate success, critics were unmoved and Kerrigan found himself working less and less and in smaller roles.

Personal life and death[edit]

Kerrigan was homosexual. He never married, and lived with his lover James Vincent from about 1914 to Kerrigan's death in 1947.[5]

On June 9, 1947, Kerrigan died from pneumonia at the age of 67. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Selected filmography[edit]

A Man's Man (1917)
J. Warren Kerrigan in The Drifters, 1919 lobby card.
Year Film Role
1913 Calamity Anne's Inheritance The Agent
Calamity Anne's Vanity
Calamity Anne's Beauty
Woman's Honor
Her Big Story
Quicksands
Truth in the Wilderness
For the Flag
For the Crown
Calamity Anne, Heroine
The Restless Spirit
The Girl and the Greaser
The Tale of the Ticker
Back to Life Destiny's Victim
Rory o' the Bogs Rory o' the Bogs
1914 Samson
1915 The Stool Pigeon Walter Jason
For Cash Arthen Owen
The Oyster Dredger Jack - the Oyster Dredger
1923 The Covered Wagon Will Banion
Hollywood Himself (cameo)
1924 Captain Blood Captain Peter Blood

References[edit]

  1. ^ IMDB entry
  2. ^ 1880 Census, Floyd County, Indiana
  3. ^ IMDB entry
  4. ^ IMDB entry
  5. ^ IMDB entry

External links[edit]