MGM Studio publicity photograph, 1927
May 23, 1875|
|Died||September 4, 1950
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
|Spouse(s)||Alice Marti (1927 - ?)|
Max Davidson (May 23, 1875 – September 4, 1950) was a German film actor known for his comedic Jewish persona during the silent film era. With a career spanning over thirty years, Davidson appeared in over 180 films.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Davidson emigrated to the United States in the 1890s where he began working in stock theater and vaudeville. He entered silent movies in 1912. By the mid-teens, Davidson had appeared in his first feature film, Edward Dillon's Don Quixote (1915), followed by D.W. Griffith's Intolerance, and Tod Browning's Puppets (both 1916). In the 1920s, he began working for Hal Roach, appearing in numerous two-reeler comedies including Call of the Cuckoo with Charley Chase, Get 'Em Young with Stan Laurel, and Why Girls Say No and Love 'Em and Feed 'Em with Oliver Hardy, as well as the early talkie Our Gang short Moan and Groan, Inc. (1929), as the crazy old man who haunts a house.
In 1927, he was given his own series of starring two-reelers, among them Jewish Prudence, Don't Tell Everything, Should Second Husbands Come First?, Flaming Fathers and Pass the Gravy. The series ended with the coming of sound in 1929.
He starred alongside a young Jackie Coogan in a pair of silent features, The Rag Man (1923) and Old Clothes (1925). In 1923 he appeared in the Mack Sennett feature The Extra Girl with Mabel Normand, and in 1927 made a rare starring feature at Columbia, Pleasure Before Business, as well as playing a somewhat more serious role as a servant in the Pola Negri WW1 vehicle Hotel Imperial. He also received the colorization treatment as an irate shopkeeper in the Three Stooges film No Census, No Feeling (1940).
Later career and death
Davidson made the transition to sound film, but ended his career by playing mostly uncredited roles. He made his final screen appearance in the 1945 Clark Gable film Adventure. Davidson died on September 4, 1950 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.
Historian Richard W. Bann, in an article on laurel-and-hardy.com, asserts that Davidson's career was scuttled by MGM chiefs Louis B. Mayer and Nicholas Schenck, who objected to his portrayal of a stereotypical (and more importantly, unassimilated) Jew and forced Roach to terminate him shortly after sound arrived.
|1913||Scenting a Terrible Crime||The Superintendent|
|1914||An Interrupted Séance||Landlord|
|1915||Caught by the Handle||Mr. Riche|
|1916||Sunshine Dad||Mystic Seer|
|1916||The Heiress at Coffee Dan's||Shorty Olson|
|1917||A Daughter of the Poor||Joe Eastman||Alternative titles: The Heart of the Poor
|1917||The Scrub Lady||?||Max and Marie Dressler in the film|
|1918||The Hun Within||Max|
|1919||The Hoodlum||Abram Isaacs|
|1919||The Mother and the Law||The Kindly Neighbor|
|1921||No Woman Knows||Ferdinand Brandeis|
|1922||Second Hand Rose||Abe Rosenstein|
|1922||Turn to the Right||Pawnbroker|
|1923||The Ghost Patrol||Rapushkin|
|1923||The Darling of New York||Solomon Levinsky|
|1924||Hold Your Breath||Street Merchant|
|1925||The Rag Man||Max Ginsburg|
|1925||Old Clothes||Max Ginsburg|
|1925||Justice of the Far North||Izzy Hawkins|
|1926||Raggedy Rose||Moe Ginsberg|
|1927||Hotel Imperial||Elias Butterman|
|1927||Why Girls Say No||Papa Whisselberg|
|1927||Pleasure Before Business||Sam Weinberg|
|1927||Jewish Prudence||Papa Gimplewart|
|1927||Don't Tell Everything|
|1927||Should Second Husbands Come First?|
|1927||Call of the Cuckoo|
|1927||Love 'Em and Feed 'Em|
|1928||The Boy Friend"||Papa Davidson|
|1928||Feed 'em and Weep||Max, restaurant manager|
|1928||Pass the Gravy|
|1928||Came the Dawn|
|1929||So This Is College||Moe Levine, the tailor|
|1929||Moan and Groan, Inc.||The lunatic|
|1930||The Shrimp||Professor Schoenheimer|
|1931||The Itching Hour|
|1931||Oh! Oh! Cleopatra||Royal musician|
|1932||Docks of San Francisco||Max, Detective|
|1933||The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble||Larsen||Uncredited|
|1934||Straight Is the Way||Old clothes man||Uncredited|
|1936||Roamin' Wild||Abe Wineman|
|1937||The Girl Said No||Max||Alternative title: With Words and Music|
|1939||The Great Commandment||Old man|
|1940||The Great Dictator||Jewish man||Uncredited|
|1940||Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman||Flower man||Uncredited|
|1940||No Census, No Feeling||Storekeeper||Uncredited|
|1942||Reap the Wild Wind||Juror||Uncredited|
|1945||Adventure||Man in library||Uncredited|
- Erens, Patricia (1988). The Jew in American Cinema. Indiana University Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN 0-253-20493-3.
- McCaffrey, Donald W.; Jacobs, Christopher P. (1999). Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 102. ISBN 0-313-30345-2.
- "The Heiress at Coffee Dan's". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved November 29, 2014.