Monte Blue

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Monte Blue
Monte Blue 1.jpg
Born Gerard Montgomery Bluefeather
(1887-01-11)January 11, 1887
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Died February 18, 1963(1963-02-18) (aged 76)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack; influenza
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California
Alma mater Purdue University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1915–1960
Spouse(s) Erma Gladys (?-1923, divorced)
Tova Jansen (1924-1956, her death)
Betty Jean Munson Mess (1959-1963, his death)

Monte Blue (born Gerard Montgomery Bluefeather, January 11, 1887 – February 18, 1963) was a movie actor who began his career as a romantic leading man in the silent film era, and later progressed to character roles.[1]

Early life[edit]

Blue was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was half French and half Cherokee or Osage Indian. One of five children, his father died. and his mother could not rear five children alone. Along with another brother, Blue was admitted to the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home. This did not stop him from working his way through Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

When growing up, Blue built up his physique to become a football player (he grew to six feet three inches tall). He not only played football but was also a fireman, railroad worker, coal miner, cowpuncher, ranch hand, circus rider, lumberjack, and a day laborer at the studios of D. W. Griffith.

Career[edit]

Blue had no theatrical experience when he came to the screen. In his first movie, The Birth of a Nation (1915), he was a stuntman and an extra in the movie. In his next movie, he starred in another small part in the movie, Intolerance (1916). He also was a stuntman or stand-in for Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree during the making of Macbeth (1916). Gradually moving to supporting roles for both D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, Blue earned his breakthrough role as Danton in Orphans of the Storm, starring sisters, Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish. Then he rose to stardom as a rugged romantic lead along with top leading actresses such as Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, and Norma Shearer. His most prolific female screen partner was Marie Prevost with whom he made several films in the mid 20s at Warner Brothers. Blue's finest silent screen performance was as the alcoholic doctor who finds paradise in MGM's White Shadows in the South Seas (1928). Blue became one of the few silent stars to survive the talkie revolution. However, he lost his investments in the stock market crash of 1929.

He rebuilt his career as a character actor, working until his retirement from films in 1954, though he continued playing character roles in various television series until 1960, mostly westerns, such as Annie Oakley, starring Gail Davis and Brad Johnson.

One of his more memorable roles was the sheriff in Key Largo opposite Lionel Barrymore.

Monte Blue has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6286 Hollywood Blvd.

Personal life[edit]

Blue divorced his first wife in 1923 and married Tova Jansen in 1924. He had two children, Barbara Ann and Richard Monte. During the later part of his life, Blue was an active Mason and the advance man for the Hamid-Morton Shrine Circus; while on business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he had a heart attack because of complications from influenza and died at the age of seventy-six.

Partial filmography[edit]

Mae Murray and Monte Blue in Broadway Rose (1922)
From left to right, Monte Blue, Miriam Cooper, and Hobart Bosworth pose in costume for a publicity still for the silent drama Betrayed (1917)

References[edit]

External links[edit]