Fritz Leiber (actor)
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Fritz Leiber in 1930, photo by Ethel Standiford
Fritz Reuter Leiber
31 January 1882
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||14 October 1949 (aged 67)|
|Spouse(s)||Virginia Bronson (1910–1949) (his death)|
Fritz Reuter Leiber Sr. (January 31, 1882 – October 14, 1949), was an American actor. A Shakespearean actor on stage, he also had a successful career in film. He was the father of science fiction and fantasy writer Fritz Leiber, Jr., who was also an actor for a time.
Born in Chicago, Leiber was based there for most of his pre-Hollywood career. He married Virginia Bronson, who like him was a Shakespearean performer. Leiber died from a heart attack at the age of 67.
Leiber and his wife spent much of their time touring in a Shakespearian acting company, known by the 1930s as Fritz Leiber & Co. Leiber made his film bow in 1916, playing Mercutio in the Francis X. Bushman version of Romeo and Juliet. With his piercing eyes and shock of white hair, Leiber seemed every inch the priests, professors, musical professors, and religious fanatics that he was frequently called upon to play in films. His many silent-era portrayals included Caesar in Theda Bara's 1917 Cleopatra and Solomon in the mammoth 1921 Betty Blythe vehicle The Queen of Sheba.
He thrived as a character actor in sound films, usually in historical roles. In the film Champagne Waltz, he portrayed an orchestra maestro; the role required him to play classical music on a violin and jazz on a clarinet. One of Leiber's larger assignments of the 1940s, and his most notable musical role, was as Franz Liszt in the Claude Rains remake of Phantom of the Opera (1943).
Leiber appears together with his son Fritz Leiber, Jr. in the wedding-feast scene of Greta Garbo's film Camille (1936) and in Warner Bros.' The Great Garrick (1937). Leiber also appeared with his son Fritz Leiber, Jr. in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) but Fritz Leiber, Jr. was not credited for his small speaking part.
For most or all of his long acting career, Leiber had a hobby: each time he performed a new role, he had his likeness or portrait made in costume and make-up for that role. Since Leiber was not an especially protean actor, he tended to look the same in every part: therefore, to bring some variety to his portrait collection, he varied the format and media of each likeness: one was a full-length oil painting, another a charcoal sketch of his upper body; one a sculpted bust, one a clay bas-relief, and so forth. After the actor's death, all of his surviving portraits passed to his son, Fritz Leiber Jr., who found himself in the awkward situation of sharing a cramped residence with more than two hundred copies of his father's face; Leiber Jr. later used this experience as the basis of his 1963 story "237 Talking Statues, Etc." The two Fritz Leibers also physically resembled each other enough to give casual visitors the impression that the portraits were of Leiber, Jr. himself.
- Romeo and Juliet (1916) .... Mercutio
- The Primitive Call (1917) .... Brain Elkhorn
- Cleopatra (1917) .... Caesar
- If I Were King (1920) .... Louis XI
- The Song of the Soul (1920) .... Jerry Wendover
- The Queen of Sheba (1921) .... King Solomon
- A Tale of Two Cities (1935) .... Gaspard
- The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) .... Dr. Charbonnet
- Under Two Flags (1936) .... French Governor
- Hearts in Bondage (1936) .... Capt. John Ericsson
- Down to the Sea (1936) .... Gregory Pappas
- Sins of Man (1936) .... Father Prior
- Anthony Adverse (1936) .... Ouvrard
- Champagne Waltz (1937) .... Franz Strauss
- Under Southern Stars (1937, Short) .... Stonewall Jackson
- The Prince and the Pauper (1937) .... Father Andrew
- The Great Garrick (1937) .... Horatio
- The Jury's Secret (1938) .... John Morrow
- Flight into Nowhere (1938) .... Ti-Ana
- Gateway (1938) .... Dr. Weilander
- They Made Her a Spy (1939) .... Dr. Krull
- Nurse Edith Cavell (1939) .... Sadi Kirschen
- Pack Up Your Troubles (1939) .... Pierre Ferrand
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) .... Old Nobleman
- The Way of All Flesh (1940) .... Max
- The Sea Hawk (1940) .... Inquisitor
- All This, and Heaven Too (1940) .... Abbe Gallard
- Lady with Red Hair (1940) .... Mr. Foster
- Aloma of the South Seas (1941) .... High Priest
- Crossroads (1942) .... Foreign Minister Deval (uncredited)
- First Comes Courage (1943) .... Dr. Aanrud
- Salute to the Marines (1943) .... Mr. Agno (uncredited)
- Phantom of the Opera (1943) .... Franz Liszt
- The Desert Song (1943) .... Ben Sidi (uncredited)
- The Impostor (1944) .... Priest
- Cobra Woman (1944) .... Venreau (uncredited)
- Cry of the Werewolf (1944) .... Dr. Charles Morris
- Youth Runs Wild (1944) .... Judge (uncredited)
- The Cisco Kid Returns (The Daring Adventurer) (1945) .... The Padre
- Son of Lassie (1945) .... Village Padre (uncredited)
- The Spanish Main (1945) .... Bishop
- This Love of Ours (1945) .... Dr. Bailey
- Scarlet Street (1945) .... Evangelist (uncredited)
- A Scandal in Paris (1946) .... Painter
- Angel on My Shoulder (1946) .... Chemist Who Poisoned Wife (uncredited)
- Strange Journey (1946) .... Prof. Jenner
- Humoresque (1946) .... Hagerstrom
- Monsieur Verdoux (1947) .... Father Fareaux
- Bells of San Angelo (1947) .... Padre
- Dangerous Venture (1947) .... Xeoli
- The Web (1947) .... Leopold Kroner
- High Conquest (1947) .... Priest
- Adventures of Casanova (1948) .... D'Anneci
- To the Ends of the Earth (1948) .... Binda Sha
- Another Part of the Forest (1948) .... Colonel Isham
- Inner Sanctum (1948) .... Dr. Valonius
- Song of India (1949) .... Nanaram
- Bride of Vengeance (1949) .... Filippo
- Bagdad (1949) .... Emir
- Samson and Delilah (1949) .... Lord Sharif
- Devil's Doorway (1950) .... Mr. Poole (final film role)
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- "Fritz Leiber - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
- "Obituary: Fritz Leiber". 14 September 1992.
- League, The Broadway. "Virginia Bronson – Broadway Cast & Staff - IBDB". www.ibdb.com.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (1 May 2001). "Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory". McFarland – via Google Books.
- League, The Broadway. "Twelfth Night – Broadway Play – 1930 Revival - IBDB". www.ibdb.com.
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- "Monsieur Verdoux (1947) - Charles Chaplin - Cast and Crew - AllMovie". AllMovie.
- Jordison, Sam (7 April 2008). "Fritz Leiber, master of Shakespearean sci-fi" – via www.theguardian.com.
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