Earnest Carlton Brimmer (1893 - 1949)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Saint Paul, MN, USA
Death: Died in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Cause of death: Heart attack
Occupation: Actor
Managed by: Richard Ruswick
Last Updated:
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About Earnest Carlton Brimmer

American motion picture actor Richard Dix achieved popularity in both silent and sound films portraying rugged and stalwart heroes. For his achievement in the motion picture industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1610 Vine Street.

He was born Ernst Carlton Brimmer on July 18, 1893, in St. Paul, Minnesota. There he was educated, and at the desires of his father, studied to be a surgeon. His obvious acting talent in his school dramatic club led him to leading roles in most of the school plays. At 6' 0" and 180 pounds, Dix excelled in sports, especially football and baseball. These skills would serve him well in the vigorous film roles he would go on to play. After a year at the University of Minnesota he took a position at a bank, spending his evenings training for the stage. His professional start was with a local stock company, and this led to similar work in New York City. The death of his father left him with a mother and sister to support. He went to Los Angeles, became leading man for the Morosco Stock Company and his success there got him a contract with Paramount Pictures.

After his move to Hollywood, where he began a career in Western movies. One of the few actors to successfully bridge the transition from silent films to talkies, Dix's best-remembered early role was in Cecil B. Demille's silent version of The Ten Commandments (1923). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1931 for his performance as Yancey Cravat in Cimarron, in which he shared top-billing with Irene Dunne. Cimarron, based on the popular novel by Edna Ferber, took the Best Picture award. Dix starred in another RKO adventure, The Lost Squadron.

A memorable role for Dix was in the 1935 British futuristic film The Tunnel. An original poster for this film was catalogued with an estimated value of between $2000 – $3000 by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas in the Summer of 2006. Dix starred in The Great Jasper and Blind Alibi in the late 1930s. His popular RKO Radio Pictures co-star in Blind Alibi was Ace the Wonder Dog. Dix's human co-stars were Whitney Bourne, Eduardo Ciannelli; the film was directed by Lew Landers.

In the 1940s he starred in The Whistler, the first of a series of eight "Whistler" films for Columbia Pictures. Dix retired from acting after making the seventh in the series, The Thirteenth Hour.

According to the July 1934 Movies magazine, on his ranch near Hollywood whose location he kept a close secret, Dix raised thousands of chickens and turkeys each year. He also had a collection of thousands of pipes, and a "collection" of 36 dogs, "Scotties and English setters". He also read at least five books a week.

Richard Dix retired from films in 1947. He first married Winifred Coe on October 20, 1931, had a daughter, Martha Mary Ellen, then divorced in 1933. He then married Virginia Webster on June 29, 1934. They had twin boys, Richard Jr. and Robert Dix and an adopted daughter, Sara Sue.

After suffering a serious heart attack on 12 September 1949 while on a train from New York to Los Angeles, Dix died of at age 56, on September 20, 1949. He was survived by four children from his two marriages, but sadly in 1953 his son, Richard Dix Jr., was killed in an accident at a logging camp near Ponderosa, California. Richard Dix Sr. was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

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Richard Dix's Timeline

1893
July 18, 1893
Saint Paul, MN, USA
1935
May 8, 1935
Age 41
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1949
September 20, 1949
Age 56
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Glendale, California, USA