Jack Hoxie

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Jack Hoxie
Jack Hoxie.jpg
Born John Hartford Hoxie
(1885-01-11)January 11, 1885
Kingfisher Creek, Indian Territory, (Oklahoma), U.S.
Died March 28, 1965(1965-03-28) (aged 80)
Elkhart, Kansas, U.S.
Other names John F. Stone
Hart Hoxie
Hartford Hoxie
John Hart Hoxie
Jack Hart Hoxie
Art Hoxie
Occupation Actor
Years active 1913–1933
Spouse(s) Hazel Louise Panting
Marin Sais
Dianne Juanita Hodges (Dixie Starr)
Bonnie Avis Showalter

Jack Hoxie (January 11, 1885 – March 28, 1965) was an American rodeo performer and motion picture actor whose career was most prominent in the silent film era of the 1910s through the 1930s. Hoxie is best recalled for his roles in Westerns and never strayed from the genre.

Early life[edit]

Born John Hartford Hoxie in Kingfisher Creek in Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma), he was the son of a veterinarian father named Bart 'Doc' Hoxie, who was killed in a horse accident just weeks before Jack's birth, and a half–Nez Perce mother[1][2] (some reports list her as Cherokee[3]) named Matilda E. Quick Hoxie. After his father's death he and his mother moved to Northern Idaho where, at an early age, Jack became a working cowboy and ranch hand. Matilda married a rancher and horse trader named Calvin Scott Stone. The family then relocated to Boise, where Jack worked as a packer for a US Army fort in the area, continuing to hone his skill as a horseback rider while competing in rodeos. In 1909 he met performer Dick Stanley and joined his Wild West show. It was during this period that Jack met and married his first wife, Hazel Panting, who was a Western trick rider with the outfit.

Film career[edit]

Hoxie continued to tour with circuit rodeos until 1913, when he was approached to perform in the Western drama film short The Tragedy of Big Eagle Mine. Now billing himself as Hart Hoxie (a moniker he would use until 1919), he would continue working through the 1910s in popular Western shorts, often in small but well-received roles. In 1919, after appearing in approximately 35 films, he was cast in the starring role in the Paul Hurst-directed Lightning Bryce serials as main character Sky Bryce. Hoxie began billing himself as Jack Hoxie and would use this name permanently. It was during this time that he met and married his second wife, actress and frequent co-star Marin Sais, after his divorce from Hazel Panting.

Jack Hoxie in his first starring role in 1919's Lightning Bryce with Ann Little.

Through the early 1920s Hoxie became an extremely popular western film star and worked for such film companies as Pathé Exchange, Arrow, National Film Corp. and Sunset Pictures. In 1923 Universal Pictures head Carl Laemmle put Hoxie under contract and soon his career was on par with that of other Western stars of the era: Art Acord, Harry Carey and Hoot Gibson. Hoxie appeared in such high-profile films as 1923's Where Is This West? with newcomer Mary Philbin and 1924's Universal promotional film Hello, 'Frisco, alongside such popular actors of the era as Jackie Coogan, Norman Kerry, Barbara La Marr, Antonio Moreno, Anna Q. Nilsson, Bebe Daniels and Rin Tin Tin. The film was designed to showcase Universal's roster of its most popular actors. Hoxie, often atop his horses Fender and Dynamite, would star alongside such actresses as Marceline Day, Alice Day, Helen Holmes, Lottie Pickford and Fay Wray in westerns throughout the silent era.

Also, during this period, Jack's younger half-brother Al Stone began to appear with him in films. Al would eventually become a successful actor in the western genre after changing his name to Al Hoxie and appearing in a series of films by actor/director J.P. McGowan. In 1925 Jack's stepfather Scott Stone was convicted of the kidnap-murder of Los Angeles sisters May and Nina Martin and sentenced to death, a sentence that was commuted to life without parole after District Attorney Keyes told the governor his office had made mistakes in the case; both Hoxie and Stone's son Al refused to assist in his defense.

In 1926 Laemmle and Universal chose Jack to star as Buffalo Bill Cody in Metropolitan Pictures' The Last Frontier, co-starring William Boyd. The film would prove enormously successful and Hoxie is often best recalled for his performance in the film. In 1927, however, Hoxie became dissatisfied with his contract at Universal and refused to renegotiate for another stint at the studio. He would continue throughout the late '20s making films of lesser quality with lower-rank film studios. He made his last silent film, Forbidden Trail, in 1929 before pursuing further work in circuit rodeos, carnivals and the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show.

Later life[edit]

During the 1930s Jack made a brief comeback in films after signing a contract with low-budget studio Majestic Pictures. The films, however, did little to revive his acting career and he once again hit the rodeo circuit. His last film appearance would be in 1933's Trouble Busters with Lane Chandler, who had appeared alongside Hoxie in a number of earlier films.

Hoxie eventually divorced and married his third wife, Dixie Starr. The couple briefly operated a dude ranch in Hereford, Arizona, called the Broken Arrow Ranch. After a fire consumed the ranch, Jack once again began appearing in Wild West shows, often billed as the "Famous Western Screen Star". Hoxie would make appearances throughout the 1940s and well into the 1950s before finally making his last public appearance as a performer in 1959 for the Bill Tatum Circus.

Jack divorced Dixie Starr and married his fourth wife, Bonnie Avis Showalter, and the couple retired to a small ranch in Arkansas, then later moved to his mother Matilda's old homestead in Oklahoma. In his later years Jack developed leukemia, and he died in 1965 at the age of 80. He was interred at the Willowbar Cemetery in Keyes, Oklahoma [4] with the epitaph inscription "A Star in Life - A Star in Heaven".

References[edit]

Hoxie Boys: The Lives and Films of Jack and Al Hoxie. by Edgar M. Wyatt, Wyatt Classics, Raleigh, NC. 1992.

External links[edit]