Warner Baxter

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Warner Baxter
Warner Baxter promo.jpg
Warner Baxter publicity photo
Born (1889-03-29)March 29, 1889
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Died May 7, 1951(1951-05-07) (aged 62)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death pneumonia
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Occupation Actor
Years active 1914–1950
Spouse(s) Viola Caldwell (1911-1913)
Winifried Bryson (1918–1951) (his death)

Warner Leroy Baxter (March 29, 1889 – May 7, 1951) (The book Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory gives his date of birth as March 29, 1891:[1] American Classic Screen Profiles gives the date as March 29, 1892.)[2] was an American actor, known for his role as The Cisco Kid in In Old Arizona (1929), for which he won the second Academy Award for Best Actor in the 1928–1929 Academy Awards.[3] He frequently played womanizing, charismatic Latin bandit types in westerns, and played The Cisco Kid or a similar character throughout the 1930s, but had a range of other roles throughout his career. Warner Baxter started his movie career in silent film. Baxter's most notable silent films are The Great Gatsby (1926) and The Awful Truth (1925). When talkies came out, Baxter became even more famous. Baxter's most notable talkies are In Old Arizona (1929), 42nd Street (1932), Slave Ship (1937), Kidnapped (1938), and the 1931 20 minute all-star ensemble short film, The Stolen Jools. In the 1940s he was well known for his recurring role as Dr. Robert Ordway in the Crime Doctor series of 10 films.

Baxter also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame making him one of fewer than a hundred male actors in Hollywood history to receive both an Academy Award and a Walk of Fame star.


Baxter was born in Columbus, Ohio[1] to Edwin F. Baxter (October 1, 1867 – September 16, 1889) and Jane Barrett (December 29, 1869 Columbus, Ohio – March 29, 1962 Beverly Hills, California), and moved to San Francisco, California with his widowed mother in 1898, when he was nine. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, he and his family lived in a tent for two weeks. By 1910 Baxter was in vaudeville, and from there began acting on the stage.[citation needed]

The book American Classic Screen Profiles relates that Baxter was 5 months old when his father died. Jane Baxter and Warner went to live with her brother in Columbus, Ohio. Mother and son moved to New York City when he was 10 years old, and there he became active with dramatics — both participating in school productions and attending plays. The two later moved to San Francisco, where he graduated from Polytechnic High School. When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck, Baxter and his mother lived in Golden Gate Park for eight days and then went to live with friends in Alameda for three months. In 1908, they returned to Columbus. After selling farm implements for a living, worked for four months as the partner of Dorothy Shoemaker in an act on the Keith Vaudeville Circuit.[2]


With June Lang and Fredric March

Baxter originally worked as an insurance agent, sales manager and commercial traveller. Baxter began his movie career as an extra in 1914 in a stock company and quickly rose to become a star. He had his first starring role in 1921, in a film called Sheltered Daughters, before starring in 48 features during the 1920s. His most notable silent roles were in The Great Gatsby (1926), Aloma of the South Seas (1926) as an island love interest opposite the famous dancer Gilda Gray, and a handsome but alcoholic doctor in West of Zanzibar with Lon Chaney.

Baxter's most famous starring role was as the Cisco Kid in In Old Arizona (1929), the first all-talking western, for which he won the second Academy Award for Best Actor. He also starred in 42nd Street (1933), Grand Canary (1934), Broadway Bill (1934) and Kidnapped (1938).

By 1936, Baxter was the highest paid actor in Hollywood, but by 1943 he had slipped to B movie roles, and he starred in a series of "Crime Doctor" films for Columbia Pictures. Baxter made over 100 films between 1914 and 1950.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Baxter married Viola Caldwell in 1911, but they were soon divorced. He married actress Winifred Bryson in January 1918, remaining married until his death in 1951. [5]

He was a close friend of William Powell, with whom he starred in three films, and was at Powell's side when Jean Harlow died in 1937.[4]

When not acting, Baxter was an inventor and, in 1935, he co-created a revolver searchlight which would illuminate a target and allow a gunman to shoot at it in the dark. He later developed a radio device that would allow emergency crews to change traffic signals from two blocks away and allow them to safely pass through intersections. He financed its installation at an intersection in Beverly Hills in 1940.[4]


Baxter suffered for several years from arthritis, and in 1951 he underwent a lobotomy to ease the pain.[6] On May 7, 1951, he died of pneumonia at age 59[1] and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. He was survived by his second wife and his mother.


Baxter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6284 Hollywood Boulevard for his contributions to the motion picture industry. The induction ceremony occurred on February 8, 1960.[7]


Year Film Role Notes
1914 Her Own Money Lew Alden uncredited
1918 All Woman uncredited
1919 Lombardi, Ltd. uncredited
1921 First Love Donald Halliday Incomplete; Museum of Modern Art (New York)
Cheated Hearts Tom Gordon
The Love Charm Thomas Morgan
Sheltered Daughters Pep Mullins
1922 If I Were Queen Vladimir
A Girl's Desire Jones/Lord Dysart
The Ninety and Nine Tom Silverton/Phil Bradbury
The Girl in His Room Kirk Waring
Her Own Money Lew Alden
1923 St. Elmo Murray Hammond Lost
Blow Your Own Horn Jack Dunbar
In Search of a Thrill Adrian Torrens
Those Who Dance Bob Kane Extant; Library of Congress (per Tave/IMDb review)
1924 Christine of the Hungry Heart Stuart Knight Extant; Library of Congress (per Tave/IMDb review)
The Female Col. Valentia
His Forgotten Wife Donald Allen/John Rolfe Extant; Library of Congress
Alimony Jimmy Mason
The Garden of Weeds Douglas Crawford
1925 The Best People Henry Morgan Lost
A Son of His Father Big Boy Morgan
Rugged Water Calvin Horner Lost
Welcome Home Fred Prouty Extant
The Awful Truth Norman Satterlee print preserved at UCLA Film and Television (per IMDb)
The Air Mail Russ Kane Incomplete
The Golden Bed Bunny O'Neill Extant
Mismates Ted Carroll Lost
1926 Aloma of the South Seas Nuitane Lost
The Runaway Wade Murrell Lost
Mannequin John Herrick Extant
The Great Gatsby Jay Gatsby now a lost film
Miss Brewster's Millions Thomas B. Hancock Jr Lost
1927 The Coward Clinton Philbrook
Singed Royce Wingate
Drums of the Desert John Curry Lost
The Telephone Girl Matthew Standish
Craig's Wife Walter Craig Lost
1928 Danger Street Rolly Sigsby
Ramona Alessandro Extant
Three Sinners James Harris Lost
The Tragedy of Youth Frank Gordon Lost
West of Zanzibar Doc directed by Tod Browning; Extant
A Woman's Way Tony Lost
In Old Arizona The Cisco Kid Academy Award for Best Actor - Extant
1929 Romance of the Rio Grande Pablo Wharton Cameron
Behind That Curtain Col. John Beetham Extant
The Far Call  ? Lost
Thru Different Eyes Jack Winfield Extant (special silent version only, incomplete)
Linda Dr. Paul Randall Extant
1930 Renegades Deucalion Extant
Such Men Are Dangerous Ludwig Kranz Extant; Library of Congress
The Arizona Kid The Cisco Kid Extant; Library of Congress
The Squaw Man James 'Jim' Wingate, aka Jim Carston Extant
1931 Their Mad Moment Esteban Cristera
Doctors' Wives Dr. Judson Penning
The Stolen Jools The Cisco Kid
Daddy Long Legs Jervis Pendleton
The Cisco Kid The Cisco Kid
Surrender Sgt. Dumaine
1932 Six Hours to Live Capt. Paul Onslow
Man About Town Stephen Morrow
Amateur Daddy Jim Gladden
1933 Dangerously Yours Andrew Burke
42nd Street Julian Marsh
I Loved You Wednesday Philip Fletcher
Paddy the Next Best Thing Lawrence Blake
Penthouse Jackson 'Jack' Durant
1934 Hell in the Heavens Lt. Steve Warner
As Husbands Go Charles Lingard
Grand Canary Dr. Harvey Leith
Stand Up and Cheer! Lawrence Cromwell
Such Women Are Dangerous Michael Shawn
Broadway Bill Dan Brooks
1935 Under the Pampas Moon Cesar Campo
One More Spring Jaret Otkar
La Fiesta de Santa Barbara Himself Short film
1936 White Hunter Capt. Clark Rutledge
To Mary - with Love Jack Wallace
The Road to Glory Captain Paul La Roche
The Prisoner of Shark Island Dr. Samuel Mudd
King of Burlesque Kerry Bolton
The Robin Hood of El Dorado Joaquin Murrieta
1937 Wife, Doctor and Nurse Dr. Judd Lewis
Vogues of 1938 George Curson
Slave Ship Jim Lovett
1938 I'll Give a Million Tony Newlander
Kidnapped Alan Breck
1939 Barricade Hank Topping
Wife, Husband and Friend Leonard Borland aka Logan Bennett
The Return of the Cisco Kid The Cisco Kid
1940 Earthbound Nick Desborough
1941 Adam Had Four Sons Adam Stoddard
1943 Crime Doctor Dr. Robert Ordway/Phil Morgan first of 10 films in the Crime Doctor B-film series
Crime Doctor's Strangest Case Dr. Robert Ordway
1944 Shadows in the Night Dr. Robert Ordway
Lady in the Dark Kendall Nesbitt
1945 Crime Doctor's Warning Dr. Robert Ordway
The Crime Doctor's Courage Dr. Robert Ordway
1946 Crime Doctor's Man Hunt Dr. Robert Ordway
Just Before Dawn Dr. Robert Ordway
1947 Crime Doctor's Gamble Dr. Robert Ordway
The Millerson Case Dr. Robert Ordway
1948 The Gentleman from Nowhere Earl Donovan/Robert Ashton
1949 The Crime Doctor's Diary Dr. Robert Ordway last of the Crime Doctor series
The Devil's Henchman Jess Arno
Prison Warden Warden Victor Burnell
1950 State Penitentiary Roger Manners
1952 O. Henry's Full House clip of Baxter from The Cisco Kid


  1. ^ a b c Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 35. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Tibbetts, John C.; Welsh, James M. (2010). American Classic Screen Profiles. Scarecrow Press. pp. 26–29. ISBN 9780810876774. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "("Warner Baxter" search results)". Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Cliff Aliperti (29 March 2010). "Warner Baxter-A Brief Biography". Things and Other Stuff. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  5. ^ "Warner Baxter, 62, Star Of Motion Pictures, Dies". The Morning Herald. Maryland, Hagerstown. Associated Press. May 8, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved February 11, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "Warner Baxter, 59, Film Star, Is Dead: Winner of 'Oscar' in 1929– Best Known for Cisco Kid and 'Crime Doctor' Portrayals". The New York Times. psychosurgery.org. 8 May 1951. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  7. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame, Walk of Fame Stars > Warner Baxter". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. 8 February 1960. Archived from the original on 2016-04-03. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 

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