Gibson Gowland

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Gibson Gowland
Gowland in 1928
Born(1877-01-04)4 January 1877
Died9 September 1951(1951-09-09) (aged 74)
London, England
Years active1925-1945
Beatrice Bird
(m. 1913; div. 1918)
Sylvia Andrew
Children2, including Peter Gowland

Gibson Gowland (4 January 1872 or 1877 – 9 September 1951) was an English film actor.


Gowland was born 4 January in either 1872 or 1877[1][a] in Spennymoor, County Durham. He started work as a sailor and later became the mate on a ship. For several years from the age of 25 he went to South Africa, where he hunted for big game, prospected for diamonds and also organised a theatrical company in Johannesburg, and acted in it. He prospected in Canada, where he made his debut on the legitimate stage.[citation needed]

Gowland went to the United States from Britain by way of Canada in 1913 where he met Beatrice Bird, also from Great Britain, whom he married. They moved to Hollywood, working as bit players. In 1914 he acted in D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, followed by Intolerance. In 1916, his son, actor and photographer Peter Gowland, was born.[citation needed]

Often cast as a villain, his only starring role (out of 63 films) was in Greed (1924), directed by Erich von Stroheim, based on the Frank Norris novel McTeague, and costarring ZaSu Pitts. The film has become a classic despite its having been cut to one-fifth its original length for commercial release by MGM. Gowland portrayed the protagonist, dentist John McTeague. Von Stroheim also directed Gowland in his 1919 film Blind Husbands.

Gowland was cast as Simon Buquet in the 1925 film version of The Phantom of the Opera. He had bit parts in dozens of films from 1938 to 1945, but was rarely credited on-screen. After two divorces, Gowland returned to England in 1944. He died in London on 9 September 1951[2] at the age of 74. He was buried in Golders Green Crematorium.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Media reports at the time of his death claim Gowland was 74 years old, so this article lists the year of his birth as 1877.
  1. ^ Katchmer, George A. (2009). Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 139. ISBN 9780786446933.
  2. ^ "Obituary: Gibson Gowland". The Los Angeles Times. 14 September 1951. p. 12.

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