Maurice Costello

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Maurice Costello
Harvard Theatre Collection - Maurice Costello TCS 1.6015 - cropped.jpg
Born Maurice George Costello
(1877-02-22)February 22, 1877
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died October 29, 1950(1950-10-29) (aged 73)
Hollywood, California
Occupation actor, director, screenwriter
Years active 1905 - 1945
Spouse(s) Mae Costello (1902-1927)
Ruth Reeves (1939-1941)

Maurice George Costello (February 22, 1877 – October 29, 1950)[1] was an American prominent vaudeville actor of the late 1890s and early 1900s, who later played a principal role in early American films, as both a leading man, supporting player and a director.

Biography[edit]

Costello was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Irish immigrants Ellen (née Fitzgerald; born 1853) and Thomas Costello (born 1852). He appeared in his first motion picture in 1905, in which he had the honour of appearing in the first serious film to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes in the movie Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in which Costello played the title role. He continued to work for Vitagraph, being a member of the first motion picture stock company ever formed, playing opposite Florence Turner. Among some of his best known pictures are A Tale of Two Cities, The Man Who Couldn't Beat God and For the Honor of the Family. After an absence of some years he returned to the screen. He was married to actress Mae Costello (née Altschuk). His descendants include two daughters, actresses Dolores Costello and Helene Costello, a grandson John Drew Barrymore, and a great granddaughter Drew Barrymore. He was one of the world's first leading men in early American cinema, but like a lot of other silent screen stars, he found the transition to "talkies" extremely difficult, and his leading man status was over. However, Costello was a trouper, and continued to appear in movies, often in small roles and bit parts, right up until his death in 1950.

On November 23, 1913, Costello was arrested for beating his wife Mae. On November 25, 1913, Costello admitted that he had beat his wife while intoxicated. Mae Costello requested that the charges be dropped to disorderly conduct, and Costello was given six months probation by Magistrate Geisner of the Coney Island Police Court.[2]

Maurice Costello also discovered Moe, of the Three Stooges (Moses Harry Horwitz), who, as a teenager, ran errands and got lunches for the actors at the Vitagraph Studios at no charge. This impressed Costello who brought him in and introduced him to other leading actors of the day. Moe then gained small parts in many of the Vitagraph movies but most of these were destroyed by fire that swept the studios in 1910.

Costello died at the age 73 in 1950 in Los Angeles, California and was interred at Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles, a Catholic cemetery.[3]

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]