August 9, 1900
Walpole, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||May 6, 1990
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||heart failure|
|Resting place||Welwood Murray Cemetery, Palm Springs, California
Section 10-3, Lot F
|Spouse(s)||Virginia Valli (1931-1968) (her death)|
Charles Farrell (August 9, 1900 – May 6, 1990) was an American film actor of the 1920s silent era and into the 1930s, and later a television actor. Farrell is probably best recalled for his onscreen romances with actress Janet Gaynor in more than a dozen films, including 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Lucky Star.
Born in Walpole, Massachusetts, he began his career in Hollywood as a bit player for Paramount Pictures. Farrell did extra work for films ranging from The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Lon Chaney, Sr., Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, and The Cheat with Pola Negri.
Farrell continued to work throughout the next few years in relatively minor roles without much success until he was signed by Fox Studios and was paired with fellow newcomer Janet Gaynor in the romantic drama 7th Heaven. The film was a public and critical success and Farrell and Gaynor would go on to star opposite one another in more than a dozen films throughout the late 1920s and into the talkie era of the early 1930s. Unlike many of his silent screen peers, Farrell had little difficulty with "voice troubles" and remained a publicly popular actor throughout the sound era.
During the early 1950s, a decade after his career in motion pictures had ended, Farrell began appearing on the television series My Little Margie, which aired on CBS and NBC between 1952 and 1955. He played the role of the widower Vern Albright, the father of a young woman, Margie Albright, with a knack for getting into trouble, portrayed by Gale Storm. In 1956, Farrell starred in his own television program, The Charles Farrell Show.
Personal life, public service and retirement
Farrell was romantically involved with Janet Gaynor, with whom he starred in twelve films, from about 1926 until her first marriage in 1929. Shaken by the death of his close friend, actor Fred Thomson, Farrell proposed marriage to Gaynor around 1928, but the couple was never married. Years later, Gaynor explained her breakup with Farrell: "I think we loved each other more than we were 'in love.' He played polo, he went to the Hearst Ranch for wild weekends with Marion Davies, he got around to the parties - he was a big, brawny, outdoors type... I was not a party girl... Charlie pressed me to marry him, but we had too many differences. In my era, you didn't live together. It just wasn't done. So I married a San Francisco businessman, Lydell Peck, just to get away from Charlie."
In the 1930s, Farrell became a resident of the desert city of Palm Springs, California. In 1934, he opened the popular Palm Springs Racquet Club in the city with his business partner, fellow actor Ralph Bellamy.
A major player in the developing prosperity of Palm Springs in the 1930s through the 1960s, Farrell was elected to the city council in 1946 and elected mayor of the community in 1948, a position that he held until he submitted his resignation in 1953 to devote himself to his television series, My Little Margie.
For his contributions to both motion pictures and television, Charles Farrell was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard for motion pictures and 1617 Vine Street for television.
- The Cheat (1923)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
- Rosita (1923)
- A Woman of Paris (1923)
- The Ten Commandments (1923)
- Three Women (1924)
- The Golden Bed (1925)
- Wings of Youth (1925)
- The Love Hour (1925)
- The Freshman (1925)
- The Clash of the Wolves (1925)
- Sandy (1926)
- A Trip to Chinatown (1926)
- Old Ironsides (1926)
- 7th Heaven (1927)
- The Rough Riders (1927)
- Street Angel (1928)
- Fazil (1928)
- The Red Dance (1928)
- Lucky Star (1929)
- Happy Days (1929)
- The River (1929)
- Sunny Side Up (1929)
- City Girl (1930)
- High Society Blues (1930)
- Song of Soho (1930)
- Liliom (1930)
- The Princess and the Plumber (1930)
- The Man Who Came Back (1931)
- Body and Soul (1931)
- Merely Mary Ann (1931)
- Heartbreak (1931)
- Delicious (1931)
- The Spare Room (1932)
- After Tomorrow (1932)
- The First Year (1932)
- Wild Girl (1932)
- Tess of the Storm Country (1932)
- Tonight's the Night (1932)
- The Stolen Necklace (1933)
- Aggie Appleby, Maker of Men (1933)
- Girl Without a Room (1933)
- The Big Shakedown (1934)
- Change of Heart (1934)
- Falling in Love (1935: aka Trouble Ahead)
- Forbidden Heaven (1935)
- Fighting Youth (1935)
- The Flying Doctor (1936)
- Moonlight Sonata (1937)
- Midnight Menace (1937)
- Flight to Fame (1938)
- Just Around the Corner (1938)
- Tail Spin (1939)
- The Deadly Game (1941)
- LA Times Star Walk
- Walpole Times Archived February 10, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- Folkart, Burt A. (May 11, 1990). "Charles Farrell, 89; Film and TV Actor, Developer, Former Palm Springs Mayor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Baker, Sarah (2009). Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. Albany, GA: BearManor Media. p. 111.
- Niemann, Greg (2006). "Ch. 25: Racquet Club Becomes a Hollywood Haven". Palm Springs Legends: creation of a desert oasis. San Diego, CA: Sunbelt Publications. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-932653-74-1. OCLC 61211290. (here for Table of Contents Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.)
- Palm Springs Cemetery District "Interments of Interest" Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- "Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-11-10. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
- Baker, Sarah J.; Anders, Allison (2009). Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. Albany, GA: Bean Manor Media. p. 299. ISBN 978-1593934682. OCLC 503442323.
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