Rupert Julian

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Rupert Julian (right) and Ruth Clifford in The Fire Flingers (1919)

Rupert Julian (25 January 1879 – 27 December 1943) was the first New Zealand cinema actor, director, writer and producer.

Born Thomas Percival Hayes in Whangaroa, New Zealand, Son of John Daly Hayes (Jr) and Eliza Harriet Hayes, Rupert Julian performed on stage and in film both in his native country and Australia before emigrating to the United States in 1911, where he started his career as an actor at the Daly Theatre in New York and touring with Tyrone Power, Sr., before working in silent movies. He turned to directing in 1915, often directing his wife Elsie Jane Wilson (a director herself), and earned a substantial sum for his film The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin which he wrote, produced, and directed, while also starring in the title role. This made him a star in Hollywood at the time, and opened doors to larger projects with Universal Studios.

He was assigned to complete Merry-Go-Round in 1923 when director Erich von Stroheim was fired from it. In 1924, he directed Lon Chaney in the The Phantom of the Opera, but left the production shortly before it was released. The studio hired another director to complete the filming, and changed the ending in doing so. Julian moved to Cecil B. DeMille's Producers Distributing Corporation for a series of films, but after directing The Cat Creeps and Love Comes Along (both in 1930), his career faded.

Rupert Julian died of a stroke in Hollywood, California, at the age of 64 and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, in 1943. Elsie joined him there in 1965.

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