Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman, Sr. (1883 - 1939) MP

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Birthplace: Denver, Denver County, Colorado, United States
Death: Died in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Cause of death: Heart attack
Occupation: Actor, Screenwriter, Director, Producer
Managed by: Tina
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman, Sr.

American motion picture actor and producer Douglas Fairbanks was one of the first and greatest of the swashbuckling screen heroes. His athletic prowess, gallant romanticism, and natural sincerity made him “King of Hollywood” during the 1920s.

Fairbanks was born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman in Denver, Colorado, the son of Hezekiah Charles Ullman and Ella Adelaide Marsh. He had a half-brother, John Fairbanks, Jr. , and a full brother, Robert Payne Ullman. His father abandoned the family when Douglas was five years old, and he and Robert were brought up by their mother, who gave them the family name Fairbanks, after her first husband.

After college Fairbanks began playing stage bit parts and by 1914 had become a popular Broadway actor. He made his first film, The Lamb (1915), under the direction of D.W. Griffith and in 1917 became head of his own producing company. Among his many popular pictures were The Mark of Zorro (1920), The Three Musketeers (1921), Robin Hood (1922), The Thief of Bagdad (1924), The Black Pirate (1926), The Iron Mask (1929), and The Taming of the Shrew (1929), in which he costarred with Mary Pickford, the popular leading lady to whom he was married from 1920 to 1935. The couple became Hollywood royalty with Fairbanks constantly referred to as "The King of Hollywood".

With Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Griffith, Fairbanks founded the United Artists Corporation in 1919 as a distribution outlet for independently produced films. In 1936 he publicly announced his retirement from acting but continued as a producer until his death three years later.

Fairbanks was also a founding member of The Motion Picture Academy and hosted the first Oscars Ceremony in 1929.

On January 24, 2009, AMPAS opened an exhibition at their Fourth Floor Gallery dedicated to Fairbanks titled, "Douglas Fairbanks: The First King of Hollywood". The exhibit featured costumes, props, pictures, and documents from his career and personal life. The exhibit ran till April 2009. In addition to the exhibit AMPAS will screened Thief of Bagdad and The Iron Mask in March 2009.

Recently, a bronze statue of Fairbanks was erected in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Courtyard of the new School of Cinematic Arts building on the University of Southern California campus. Fairbanks was a key figure in the film school's founding in 1929, and in its curriculum development.

Fairbanks had one son by his first wife, Anna Beth Sully, named Douglas Elton Fairbanks, who later became known as actor "Douglas Fairbanks Jr." Sully was the daughter of wealthy industrialist, Daniel J. Sully. They were married on July 11, 1907 in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The family moved to Hollywood, California in 1915.

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Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.'s Timeline

May 23, 1883
Denver, Denver County, Colorado, United States
December 9, 1909
Age 26
New York, New York County, New York, United States
Age 36
Age 52
December 12, 1939
Age 56
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, United States