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Photo of Garwood (ca. 1915)
April 28, 1884|
Springfield, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||December 28, 1950
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Alma mater||Drury College|
Between 1911 and 1913, Garwood starred in a number of early adaptions of popular films, including Jane Eyre and The Vicar of Wakefield (1910), Lorna Doone (1911), The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1911), David Copperfield (1911), The Merchant of Venice (1912), and Little Dorrit (1913), and Robin Hood (1913). In total, he starred in more than 150 short and feature films.
William Davis Garwood, Jr. was born in Springfield, Missouri. He attended public schools in Springfield before moving to New Mexico at the age of 15. He moved back to Springfield to attend Drury College, where he was awarded prizes for his abilities in dramatic reading and literature. While at Drury, Garwood ran the 100-yard (91 m) dash in 10.20 seconds and also played on the football team. His father hoped that he would follow a career in metallurgy and secured a position for his son with a zinc company in Joplin, Missouri but Garwood pursued acting instead.
Garwood began his acting career in 1903 for $3.50 per week with the Lakeside Theatre at Elitch's Gardens in Denver. For two years, he worked odd jobs in addition to taking minor stage roles with the stock company, which at the time included such players as Maude Fealy, Bruce McRae, Douglas Fairbanks and Edward Mackey. After living in Denver for two seasons, he moved to New York City in 1905 where he worked with Virginia Harned, after which he joined the Frohman management in the original production of Mizpah. Later, he was with Kyrle Bellew in Brigadier Girard and with S. Miller Kent in Raffles. Between productions, he worked with a number of stock companies including those at the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco and the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. Among his appearances on stage, Garwood considered his work with Dustin Farnum in the traveling company of Cameo Kirby, to be one of his early career highlights in stage acting. This was his last appearance on stage prior to his debut in films.
Films and directing
In November 1909, Garwood joined Thanhouser Company in New Rochelle, New York and was seen in his first Thanhouser film by 1910. He departed from Thanhouser in the autumn of 1911, by which time he was one of the studio's most popular actors. He returned in June 1912 after a season on the stage with the Stubbs-Mackay stock company playing roles in The Prisoner of Zenda, Mills of the Gods, and other plays at the Southern Theatre in Columbus, Ohio during his hiatus from the screen.
On April 30, 1913, the Thanhouser company relocated from Los Angeles to New York, but Garwood remained behind in the same studio in Los Angeles, which was acquired by Majestic Motion Picture Company, and became, with Francelia Billington and Fred Mace, one of three featured stars in the "New Majestic" films. On March 21, 1914, Garwood moved from Majestic to American Studios, in which he starred with Vivian Rich under the direction of Sidney Ayres, in his first film at the American Studios.
Garwood left American Studios after eight months and signed a two-year contract with Universal Film Manufacturing Company in late May 1914. Garwood's first picture for Universal was On Dangerous Ground, released in 1915. By this time, Garwood's popularity had risen and he became a popular leading man with a sizable female fan base. During this time, he worked exclusively with a popular actress of the time, Violet Mersereau, with whom he starred in a number of short films. They worked together in many one-reel comedy film that year, including You Can't Always Tell, Destiny's Trump Card, Uncle's New Blazer, The Adventure of the Yellow Curl Papers, Wild Blood and The Supreme Impulse. During his time at Universal, Garwood also starred as the title character in Lord John in New York (now considered lost). Based on the short story by A.M. Williamson, the film proved to be popular with audiences and Garwood starred in four more Lord John films over the following months.
Garwood remained with Universal, where by 1916 he had moved in directing and was one of several dozen directors at Universal City, California. In December 1916, he signed with Kay-Bee Pictures (which released through the Triangle Film Corporation). In 1917 Garwood starred in the films A Magdalene of the Hills (Rolfe for Metro Pictures) and The Little Brother (Kay-Bee for Triangle).
For the next two years he was involved in many films both in acting and directing, including acting for Ince and the Authors' Film Company. He appeared in the 1919 film Wives and Other Wives (American for Pathé) and both directed and acted in the 1919 Universal picture, A Proxy Husband, which was to be his last screen appearance.
Garwood was a lifelong bachelor and had no children.
Interests and hobbies
In the early summer of 1913, when he was acting in the Majestic film The Toy, Garwood began a lifelong love of farming and cultivation, particularly of onions, and began cultivating on a commercial basis on an onion patch on the farm of actor Irving Cummings in his spare time from film. He was also a fervent vegetarian.
Garwood owned several properties; he owned a large ranch near Los Angeles along with seaside lots. He also purchased farm land in Santa Barbara. In 1914 he purchased a six-room bungalow in Whittier, California and oversaw 3 acres (12,000 m2) of irrigated crops.
In addition to real estate and gardening, Garwood was interested in geology, an interest which remained through his life created by his father from a young age and he spent many weekends in the pursuit of mineral specimens. He was also an avid motor racer.
Later years and death
By the late 1910s, Garwood's career began to falter because of his chronic alcoholism. He made his final screen appearance in 1919's A Proxy Husband, which he also directed after which he retired. Garwood reportedly lived off of the fortune he made through various investments.
|1909||The Cowboy Millionaire||Alternative titles: Fell Heir to a Million Dollars
The Millionaire Cowboy
|1911||The Pasha's Daughter|
|1911||Baseball and Bloomers|
|1911||For Her Sake||Confederate Soldier, Lover|
|1911||The Railroad Builder|
|1911||The Colonel and the King|
|1911||Flames and Fortune||The Rescuer|
|1911||The Coffin Ship|
|1911||Courting Across the Court||The Lover|
|1911||Won by Wireless||Wireless Operator|
|1911||That's Happiness||The Wealthy Old Woman's Son|
|1911||The Smuggler||The Smuggler|
|1911||The Buddhist Priestess||The Naval Officer|
|1911||The Higher Law||The Minister|
|1912||A New Cure for Divorce||The Groom|
|1912||Conductor 786||The Conductor's Son|
|1912||At the Foot of the Ladder||The Society Leader|
|1912||Please Help the Pore||The Poor Father|
|1912||A Six Cylinder Elopement||John Henderson, Gray's Daughter's Sweetheart|
|1912||Put Yourself in His Place||Henry Little|
|1912||The Little Girl Next Door||The Husband|
|1912||Frankfurters and Quail|
|1912||The Thunderbolt||The Poor Couple's Son, as an Adult|
|1912||Standing Room Only||The Cook's Sweetheart|
|1912||With the Mounted Police||The Mounted Policeman|
|1913||The Heart of a Fool||Sir Roger Motley|
|1913||The Evidence of the Film||The Broker|
|1913||Some Fools There Were||First Unsuspecting Bachelor|
|1913||Her Gallant Knights|
|1913||For Her Boy's Sake||The Son|
|1913||The Caged Bird||The Prince|
|1913||The Oath of Pierre||Pierre Dorchet - a Young Trapper|
|1913||Beautiful Bismark||The Real Estate Agent|
|1913||The Lady Killer|
|1913||The Shoemaker and the Doll||The Shoemaker|
|1913||A Mix-Up in Pedigrees||Bob Brown|
|1913||Through the Sluice Gates||John Browning|
|1913||The Oath of Tsuru San||Ned Winthrop|
|1913||Article 47, L'|
|1913||The House in the Tree||Jack - age 20|
|1914||The Ten of Spades||Ralph West - the Prospector|
|1914||A Ticket to Red Horse Gulch||Jack Oliver|
|1914||A Turn of the Cards||John Richards|
|1914||Fate's Decree||John Graves|
|1914||The Green-Eyed Devil|
|1914||The Hunchback||Tom Carson - a Young Prospector|
|1914||Imar the Servitor||Imar|
|1914||The Body in the Trunk|
|1914||The Lost Sermon||Rev. John Strong|
|1914||The Unmasking||Harold Clark|
|1914||Nature's Touch||Richard Stone|
|1914||The Cameo of the Yellowstone||Cameo - the Cowpuncher|
|1914||Feast and Famine||Jerry Benton - the Son|
|1914||A Man's Way||Henry|
|1914||Does It End Right?|
|1914||Their Worldly Goods||Frank Mason|
|1914||Break, Break, Break||Tom Day, a Son of the People|
|1914||The Cocoon and the Butterfly|
|1914||His Faith in Humanity||Jim Marsh|
|1914||The Taming of Sunnybrook Nell||Steve, a Woodcutter|
|1914||Billy's Rival||Billy Manning|
|1914||Jail Birds||Robert MacFarlane, a young attorney||Alternative title: Jailbirds|
|1914||In the Open||Ben Carroll, a Young Ranchman|
|1914||Sweet and Low|
|1914||Sir Galahad of Twilight||Bryan Kyam|
|1914||Redbird Wins||Philip Pierpont|
|1914||Old Enough to Be Her Grandpa||Rollie - Stephen's Grandson|
|1914||In the Candlelight||Ralph, a Young Art Student|
|1914||The Strength o' Ten||Jep|
|1914||The Sower Reaps||Ben Rolfe|
|1915||The Legend Beautiful||Jose Cordero|
|1915||On Dangerous Ground||Williams - the Bank Cashier|
|1915||She Never Knew|
|1915||The Supreme Impulse||Earl Graham|
|1915||Wild Blood||Walt Hiller||Director|
|1915||The Adventure of the Yellow Curl Papers||Ted||Alternative title: The Mystery of the Yellow Curl Papers|
|1915||Uncle's New Blazer||Billy||Director|
|1915||Destiny's Trump Card||Bill Avery||Director|
|1915||You Can't Always Tell||Harrington Spencer - Reporter||Director|
|1915||Larry O'Neill||Larry O'Neill|
|1915||Thou Shalt Not Lie||Fred Harnett aka Harrington|
|1915||Driven by Fate|
|1915||Billy's Love Making||Billy Burnitt||Director|
|1915||The Wolf of Debt||Bruce Marsden|
|1915||The Unnecessary Sex||John|
|1915||Getting His Goat||Bill|
|1916||The Grey Sisterhood||Lord John Haselmore|
|1916||Three Fingered Jenny||Lord John Haselmore|
|1916||The League of the Future||Lord John Haselmore|
|1916||Billy's War Brides||Director|
|1916||Two Seats at the Opera||Michael Claney||Director|
|1916||The Gentle Art of Burglary|
|1916||A Society Sherlock||Director|
|1916||He Wrote a Book||Director|
|1916||Arthur's Desperate Resolve||Director|
|1916||A Soul at Stake||Director|
|1917||A Magdalene of the Hills||Eric Southward||Alternative title: A Magdalen of the Hills|
|1917||The Little Brother||Franak Girard|
|1915||Lord John's Journal||Lord John Haselmore|
|1915||Lord John in New York||Lord John Haselmore||Lost film|
|1916||Broken Fetters||Lawrence Demarest|
|1918||The Guilty Man||Claude Lescuyer|
|1918||Her Moment||Jan Drakachu|
|1918||Wives and Other Wives||Norman Craig|
- Doyle, Billy H.; Slide, Anthony (1995). The Ultimate Directory Of the Silent Screen Performers: A Necrology Of Births and Deaths and Essays On 50 Lost Players. Scarecrow Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-810-82958-4.
- Grau, Robert (1914). The Theatre of Science: A Volume of Progress and Achievement in the Motion Picture Industry. Broadway Publishing Company. p. 375.
- Grau 1914 p.376
- "William Garwood Plays Various Roles". Motion Picture (Macfadden-Bartell) 41: 78. 1917.
- Soister, John T. (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929. McFarland. p. 726. ISBN 0-786-48790-9.
- Klepper, Robert K. (1999). Silent Films, 1877-1996: A Critical Guide to 646 Movies. McFarland. p. 37. ISBN 0-786-40595-3.
- Boyle 1995 p.28
- Vazzana, Eugene Michael (2001). Silent Film Necrology. McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub. p. 190. ISBN 0-786-41059-0.