in A Modern Hero (1934)
May 9, 1895|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||August 17, 1963
Southampton, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Mary Hay (1920–1927) 1 daughter
Jessica Stewart Sargent (1928–1963)
Richard Semler "Dick" Barthelmess (May 9, 1895 – August 17, 1963) was an American film actor. He was nominated for the first Academy Award in the Best Actor category in 1928.
Barthelmess was educated at Hudson River Military Academy at Nyack and Trinity College at Hartford, Connecticut. His father, Alfred W Barthelmess died when he was one year old and his mother, Caroline Harris, was a stage actress, so he worked in theatres in his early days, between schooling, doing "walk-ons". This led to acting in college and doing amateur productions. By 1919 he had five years in stock company experience.
Russian actress Alla Nazimova, a friend of the family, had been taught English by Barthelmess's mother. Nazimova convinced Barthelmess to try acting professionally and he made his debut screen appearance in 1916 in the serial Gloria's Romance as an uncredited extra. At this time he also appeared as a supporting player in several films starring Marguerite Clark. His next role, in War Brides opposite Nazimova, attracted the attention of legendary director D.W. Griffith, who offered him several important roles, finally casting him opposite Lillian Gish in Broken Blossoms (1919) and Way Down East (1920).
He soon became one of Hollywood's highest paid performers, starring in such classics as The Patent Leather Kid (1927) and The Noose (1928); he was nominated for Best Actor at the first Academy Awards for his performance in both these films, and he won a Special Citation for producing The Patent Leather Kid. He founded his own production company, Inspiration Film Company, together with Charles Duell and Henry King. One of their films, Tol'able David (1921), in which Barthelmess starred as a teenage mailman who finds courage, was a major success.
With the advent of the sound era, Barthelmess' fortunes changed. He made several films in the new medium, most notably Son of the Gods (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), The Last Flight (1931), and The Cabin in the Cotton (1932), Central Airport (1933), then received facial plastic surgery the following year to offset his fading popularity at the box office, with an infection during the healing process leaving him permanently disfigured. He didn't work for three years until Howard Hawks persuaded him to accept a supporting role as Rita Hayworth's character's scarred husband, with his actual scars in full view, in Only Angels Have Wings (1939) starring Cary Grant. He played supporting parts in three more pictures before retiring, The Man Who Talked Too Much (1940), The Spoilers (1942) with Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne, and The Mayor of 44th Street (1942).
Barthelmess failed to maintain the stardom of his silent film days and gradually left entertainment. He enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve during World War II, served as a lieutenant commander, and never returned to film, preferring instead to live off his investments.
He and first wife, stage and screen star Mary Hay, had one daughter Mary Barthelmess. In 1927, Barthelmess became engaged to Katherine Young Wilson, a Broadway actress. However, the engagement was called off, possibly due to his affair about this time with the journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns, and in 1928 he married Jessica Stewart Sargent (1900-1965). He would later adopt her son from a previous marriage, Stewart.
- For his contribution as an actor, Richard Barthelmess was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Barthelmess is among the second group (1957) recipients of the George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film (1957).
- Composer Katherine Allan Lively dedicated her piano composition, Within the Walls of China: A Chinese Episode, to Barthelmess in the sheet music published in 1923 by G. Schirmer, Inc. An article in The Music Trades reported that Mrs. Lively was inspired by a viewing of the film, Broken Blossoms, and performed the piece for Mr. Barthelmess and his friends in New York in the summer of 1922 
- Gloria's Romance (1916)
- War Brides (1916)
- Snow White (1916)
- Just a Song at Twilight (1916)
- The Moral Code (1917)
- The Eternal Sin (1917)
- The Valentine Girl (1917)
- The Soul of a Magdalen (1917)
- The Streets of Illusion (1917)
- Camille (1917)
- Bab's Diary (1917)
- Bab's Burglar (1917)
- Nearly Married (1917)
- For Valour (1917)
- The Seven Swans (1917)
- Sunshine Nan (1918)
- Rich Man, Poor Man (1918)
- Hit-The-Trail Holliday (1918)
- Wild Primrose (1918)
- The Hope Chest (1918)
- Boots (1918)
- The Girl Who Stayed at Home (1919)
- Three Men and a Girl (1919)
- Peppy Polly (1919)
- Broken Blossoms (1919)
- I'll Get Him Yet (1919)
- Scarlet Days (1919)
- The Idol Dancer (1920)
- The Love Flower (1920)
- Way Down East (1920)
- Experience (1921)
- Tol'able David (1921)
- The Seventh Day (1922)
- Sonny (1922)
- The Bond Boy (1922)
- Fury (1923)
- The Bright Shawl (1923)
- The Fighting Blade (1923)
- Twenty-One (1923)
- The Enchanted Cottage (1924)
- Classmates (1924)
- New Toys (1925)
- Soul-Fire (1925)
- Shore Leave (1925)
- The Beautiful City (1925)
- Just Suppose (1926)
- Ranson's Folly (1926)
- The Amateur Gentleman (1926)
- The White Black Sheep (1926)
- The Patent Leather Kid (1927)
- The Drop Kick (1927)
- The Noose (1928)
- The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come (1928)
- Wheel of Chance (1928)
- Out of the Ruins (1928)
- Scarlet Seas (1928)
- Weary River (1929)
- Drag (1929)
- Young Nowheres (1929)
- The Show of Shows (1929)
- Son of the Gods (1930)
- The Dawn Patrol (1930)
- The Lash (1930)
- The Finger Points (1931)
- The Last Flight (1931)
- Alias the Doctor (1932)
- The Cabin in the Cotton (1932)
- Central Airport (1933)
- Heroes for Sale (1933)
- Massacre (1934)
- A Modern Hero (1934)
- Midnight Alibi (1934)
- Four Hours to Kill! (1935)
- Spy of Napoleon (1936)
- Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
- The Man Who Talked Too Much (1940)
- The Spoilers (1942)
- The Mayor of 44th Street (1942)
- Short subjects
- Camille (1926) (home movie by cariacaturist Ralph Barton)
- The Stolen Jools (1931)
- How I Play Golf, by Bobby Jones No. 1: The Putter (1931)
- Starlit Days at the Lido (1935)
- Meet the Stars #5: Hollywood Meets the Navy (1941)
- possibly, New York City Deaths, 1892-1902; Deaths Reported in April–May–June, 1896; Certificate #: 15666; Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1103; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0470; FHL microfilm: 1241103; Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007; Original data: Passport Applications, 1795–1905. NARA Microfilm Publication M1372, 694 rolls. General Records Department of State, Record Group 59. National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Passport Applications, January 2, 1906–March 31, 1925. NARA Microfilm Publication M1490, 2740 rolls. General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59. National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Registers and Indexes for Passport Applications, 1810–1906. NARA Microfilm Publication M1371, rolls 1–2. General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
- "Tea With Mrs. Barthelmess – An Intimate Chat With the Mother of Dick" from The Home Movie Journal, June 1926
- IBDb profile of Caroline Harris; Deaths Last Night, Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) April 24, 1937, p. 11, c. 2.
- The Motion Picture Studio Directory, 1919; Page: 48. The 1900 US Census reported she ran a boardinghouse as housekeeper with a maid and butler. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 583830 / MLR Number A1 534; NARA Series: M1490; Roll #: 1009.
- A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen by Daniel Blum, ca. 1953, p. 111.
- Profile at IBDb
- Katherine Wilson's profile at IBDb
- Barthelmess and Wilson's wedding announcement in "The Reading Eagle", August 24, 1927 (accessed 5 December 2011)
- The Speed of Sound by Scott Eyman, 1999, p. 305.
- "History of the Academy: Original 36 founders of the Academy Actors". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website. 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- Published sheet music on-line at Maine Music Box.
- (1922) The Music Trades, 64 (21 October), 40.
- Hammond, Michael. War Relic and Forgotten Man: Richard Barthelmess as Celluloid Veteran in Hollywood 1922–1933, Journal of War & Culture Studies, 6:4, 2013, p. 282-301. http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1752628013Y.0000000005
- Meneffe, David. W. Richard Barthelmess: A Life in Pictures
- Meneffe, David. W. The First Male Stars: Men of the Silent Era by David W. Menefee
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Barthelmess.|
- Richard Barthelmess at the Internet Movie Database
- Richard Barthelmess at AllMovie
- Richard Barthelmess at the Internet Broadway Database
- Photographs of Richard Barthelmess
- Richard Barthelmess at Find a Grave