Ray Griffith (sitting) in How Stars Are Made (1916)
January 23, 1895|
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
|Died||November 25, 1957
(aged 62) (Asphyxia due to partially masticated food)|
Los Angeles, California, USA
|Spouse(s)||Bertha Mann (1928-1957) (his death) 2 Children|
Raymond Griffith (January 23, 1895 – November 25, 1957) was one of the great silent movie comedians. Later in his career, he worked behind the camera as writer and producer.
Griffith was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He lost his voice at an early age, causing him to speak for the rest of his life in a hoarse whisper. Griffith claimed that it was the result of his having to scream at the top of his lungs every night in a stage melodrama as a child actor—others have stated that a childhood disease was more likely the cause.
Although a few comedy films of his are considered classics he is almost totally forgotten today. His film debut was for the L-KO Kompany. Many of his starring feature films have long since been lost, but probably the best known of his films today is Hands Up! (1926), a Civil War comedy feature directed by Clarence G. Badger, and co-starring Mack Swain, which was entered into the National Film Registry in 2005. Also considered a classic is Badger's Paths to Paradise, a caper film that is in all circulating prints missing its final reel. Like many silent comedians, he had a traditional costume; his was a top hat, white tie and tails, often augmented by a cape and/or walking stick.
The coming of sound ended Griffith's acting career, but he did have one memorable role in a motion picture before retiring from the screen, playing a French soldier killed by Lew Ayres in the 1930 Lewis Milestone film All Quiet on the Western Front. He then segued into a writing/producing career at Twentieth Century Fox.
- Down on the Farm (1920) (*writer)
- Minnie (1922)
- White Tiger (1923)
- The Yankee Consul (1924)
- Lily of the Dust (1924)
- Open All Night (1924)
- Miss Bluebeard (1925)
- Paths to Paradise (1925)
- Hands Up! (1926)
- You'd Be Surprised (1926)
- Trent's Last Case (1929)
- All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
- Ladies They Talk About (1933)
- Broadway Through a Keyhole (1933) co-producer
- Private Number (1936)
- Raymond Griffith at the Internet Movie Database
- Hands Up! at the Internet Movie Database
- Classic Images article on Raymond Griffith
- Raymond Griffith at Find a Grave