He was born in Berlin, Wisconsin.
He began his film career as an actor, appearing in 17 films in 1913 and 1914; he also directed one of these, Salomy Jane. He acted in eight more films in the 1910s and two more in the 1920s, but he is known mainly as a director, and an extremely prolific one at that, with a total output of 119 films, the last in 1948. Most of his directorial output was in the "B"-movie category, and he worked mainly for lower-rung studios such as Monogram Pictures (where he directed several "Charlie Chan" and "East Side Kids" films) and Producers Releasing Corporation, although he did occasionally work for such "majors" as RKO Pictures and such "mini-majors" and "minors" as Universal and Republic Pictures. His film-writing credits numbered 18, mostly concentrated early in his career.
His films included Mr. Wise Guy, Thunder, Black Dragons, Corregidor, Mr. Wong, Detective, The Mystery of Mr. Wong, Mr. Wong in Chinatown, Lady from Chungking, The Fatal Hour, The Ape, Doomed to Die, Lord Byron of Broadway, and Casey of the Coast Guard.
He died in Burbank, California at the age of 74.
- Mary Magdalene (1914)
- Wife Number Two (1917)
- The Fire Brigade (1927)
- Desert Nights (1929)
- City Limits (1934)
- The Headline Woman (1935)
- The 13th Man (1937)
- The Gay Cavalier (1946)
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