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 and became one of the co-founders of what became known today as 20th Century-Fox.
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