Cullen Landis, 1924
James Cullen Landis
July 9, 1896
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||August 26, 1975 (aged 79)|
Cullen Landis (July 9, 1896 – August 26, 1975) was an American motion picture actor and director whose career began in the early years of the silent film era.
James Cullen Landis was the middle of three siblings (two sons and a daughter) raised by Lulan and Margaret (née Cullen) Landis in Nashville, Tennessee, where his father supported his family as a stock broker. As a boy, James was a train enthusiast and dreamed to be a railroad engineer. Though the ambition eventually faded, his interest in railroads did not, and some years later he helped design for himself a model train set powered by steam (left).
Landis began as a movie director, only turning to acting after his lead player broke a leg and it was discovered that the actor’s costumes fit him.
He went on to become one of the more popular lead actors of the silent era, appearing in some one hundred films over 14 years.
In 1928 Cullen Landis starred in the first ‘all talking’ motion picture, Lights of New York. He confided in a friend that talkies were perfect for musicals and that he was no "song and dance man". He left Hollywood for Detroit in 1930 to produce and direct industrial films for automobile companies; joining the directorial staff of the Jam Handy Picture Service in 1937, where he would finish his professional career.
World War II
During World War II, he served as a captain with US Army Signal Corps producing training films in the South Pacific. By war’s end he was twice decorated and promoted to major. In the post war years he made documentaries for the US State Department that took him to the far corners of the world.
- Joy and the Dragon (1916) (as J. Cullen Landis)
- The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1919)
- Almost a Husband (1919)
- Jinx (1919)
- Bunty Pulls the Strings (1921)
- The Infamous Miss Revell (1921)
- The Ace of Hearts (1921)
- Voices of the City (1921)
- Remembrance (1922)
- Youth to Youth (1922)
- The Famous Mrs. Fair (1923)
- Crashin' Thru (1923)
- The Fighting Coward (1924)
- A Broadway Butterfly (1925)
- Easy Money (1925)
- An Enemy Of Men (1925)
- Frenzied Flames (1926)
- The Smoke Eaters (1926)
- Then Came the Woman (1926)
- Winning the Futurity (1926)
- With Davy Crockett at the Fall of the Alamo (1926)
- With Buffalo Bill on the U. P. Trail (1926)
- My Old Dutch (1926)
- Christine of the Big Tops (1926)
- Sweet Rosie O'Grady (1926)
- On Guard (1927)
- The Crimson Flash (1927)
- Broadway After Midnight (1927)
- The Devil's Skipper (1928)
- On to Reno (1928)
- Lights of New York (1928)
- The Little Wild Girl (1928)
- US World War One Draft Registration
- 1900-1910 US Census Records
- The Santa Fe Magazine, Volume 15 (1920), p. 48
- Margaret Landis profile at IMDb.com
- "Silent Screen Star Dies", Ironwood Daily Globe, August 28, 1975, p. 6
- Cullen Landis profile at IMDb.com
- "Director Appointed", Detroit Free Press, February 14, 1937, p. 6
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