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Gilbert John; facsimile autographed key book black and white photo. Circa 1920s.

SKU: Gilbert John; photo $8.95
John Gilbert (July 10 1897 January 9 1936) was an American actor and a major star of the silent film era. Known as ''the great lover'' he rivaled even Rudolph Valentino as a box office draw. Though he was often cited as one of the high profile examples of an actor who was unsuccessful in making the transition to talkies there was speculation that his decline as a star had to do with studio politics and money and not the sound of his screen voice. Life and career: Born John Cecil Pringle in Logan Utah to stock company actor parents he struggled through a childhood of abuse and neglect before moving to Hollywood as a teenager. He first found work as an extra with the Thomas Ince Studios and soon became a favorite of Maurice Tourneur who also hired him to write and direct several pictures. He quickly rose through the ranks building his reputation as an actor in such films as Heart o' the Hills with Mary Pickford. In 1921 Gilbert signed a three year contract with Fox Film Corporation where he was cast as a romantic leading man. Some of his films for Fox include Monte Cristo an adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo: St. Elmo an adaptation of a popular book of the period: The Wolf Man not a horror film the story of a man who believes he murdered his fiancee's brother while drunk and many others. At the time Gilbert did not sport his famous mustache and this made his features more uneven and a little less handsome and Fox plainly did not realize what huge potential he had. In 1924 he moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer where he became a full-fledged star with such high-profile films as His Hour directed by King Vidor and written by Elinor Glyn: He Who Gets Slapped (both 1924) co-starring Lon Chaney Sr. and Norma Shearer and directed by Victor SjAstrAm: and The Merry Widow (1925) directed by Erich von Stroheim and co-starring Mae Murray. In 1925 Gilbert was once again directed by Vidor in the war epic The Big Parade which became the second highest grossing silent film. His performance in this film made him a major star. The following year Vidor reunited Gilbert with two of his co-stars from that picture Ren Ador and Karl Dane for the film La BohAme which also starred Lillian Gish. Gilbert married the successful film actress Leatrice Joy in 1922. The union produced a daughter Leatrice Gilbert Fountain but the tempestuous marriage only lasted two years. The couple divorced in 1924 with Joy charging that Gilbert was a compulsive philanderer. In 1926 Gilbert made Flesh and the Devil his first film with Greta Garbo. They soon began a very public relationship much to the delight of their fans. Gilbert wanted to marry her but Garbo continually balked. Legend has it that a wedding was finally planned but Garbo failed to appear at the ceremony. Recent Garbo biographers however have questioned the veracity of this story. Despite their rocky off-screen relationship they continued to generate box-office revenue for the studio and MGM paired them in two more silents Love (1927) a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina and A Woman of Affairs (1928). The former film was slyly advertised by MGM as ''Garbo and Gilbert in Love.'' Career decline: Throughout his time at MGM Gilbert frequently clashed with studio head Louis B. Mayer over creative social and financial matters. It was said that at the apparent double wedding of Garbo and Gilbert and director King Vidor and actress Eleanor Boardman Mayer made a crude remark about Garbo to the distraught Gilbert causing him to physically attack the mogul. This story has been disputed by some historians. Although one eye-witness''the bride Eleanor Boardman''claimed to have seen the assault others deny that it occurred. In any case Mayer apparently detested Gilbert and was disgruntled that the actor had just signed an ironclad contract for six pictures at $250000 each. It was suggested that Mayer deliberately gave Gilbert bad scripts and ineffective directors in an effort to void the contract. With the coming of sound Gilbert's vocal talents made a good first impression in the all-star musical comedy The Hollywood Revue of 1929 appearing in a Technicolor sequence with Norma Shearer. They played the ''balcony scene'' from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet first as written and then repeating the scene in current slang. Reviewers for the film did not note any problems with Gilbert's voice at this time and in fact some praised it. Audiences awaited Gilbert's first romantic role on the talking screen. The vehicle was the Ruritanian romance His Glorious Night (also 1929). According to film reviews of the day audiences laughed nervously at Gilbert's performance. The fault was not Gilbert's voice but the awkwardly scripted overly ardent scenes of lovemaking: in one scene Gilbert keeps kissing his leading lady (Catherine Dale Owen) while saying ''I love you'' over and over again. (This scene was parodied in the MGM musical Singin' in the Rain (1952) where a preview of the fictional The Dueling Cavalier flops disastrously). Director King Vidor stated that Rudolph Valentino Gilbert's main rival in the 1920s for romantic leads probably would have suffered the same fate in the talkie era had he lived. Gilbert became increasingly depressed by progressively inferior films and idle stretches between productions but he resolved to thwart Louis B. Mayer's master plan and see the six-picture contract through. Gilbert's fortunes were temporarily restored by MGM's production chief Irving Thalberg. Thalberg gave Gilbert two projects that were character studies giving Gilbert an excellent showcase for his versatility. The Phantom of Paris (1931) originally intended for Lon Chaney who died from cancer in 1930 cast Gilbert as a debonair magician and showman who is falsely accused of murder and uses his mastery of disguise to unmask the real killer. Downstairs (1932) was based on Gilbert's original story with the actor playing against type as a scheming blackmailing chauffeur. The films were well received by critics and fans but did not return him to the heights of stardom. Shortly after making Downstairs he married co-star Virginia Bruce: the couple divorced in 1934. Gilbert played out the contract with one last unimportant ''B'' picture and left the studio in 1933. Greta Garbo insisted that John Gilbert must return to MGM to play her leading man in Queen Christina (1933) directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Garbo was top-billed with Gilbert's name beneath the title. The picture also failed to revive his career. Columbia Pictures gave him a chance for a comeback: The Captain Hates the Sea (1934) featured a capable performance by Gilbert as a frustrated playwright but offscreen the ensemble cast of heavy drinkers did nothing for Gilbert's discipline and the film turned out to be his last. Personal life: Gilbert was married four times (including once to film and stage actress Ina Claire) and had two daughters. His daughter Leatrice Gilbert Fountain (from his marriage to silent-film actress Leatrice Joy) wrote a biography of her father published in 1985. His granddaughter Lorin Hart is a musician and folk singer in California. Death: By 1934 alcoholism had severely damaged Gilbert's health: he died of a heart attack. Toward the end of his life Gilbert became involved with Marlene Dietrich and at the time of his death he was slated to star opposite her in the film Desire. Gilbert's ashes were interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale California. Gilbert has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1755 Vine Street and in 1994 he was honored with his image on a United States postage stamp designed by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. Filmography: Year Title Role Notes 1915 The Coward Minor role Uncredited 1915 Matrimony Extra Short film Uncredited 1915 Aloha Oe Extra Uncredited 1916 The Corner Extra Uncredited 1916 Bullets and Brown Eyes 1916 The Last Act Extra Uncredited 1916 Hell's Hinges Rowdy townsman' Uncredited 1916 The Aryan Extra Uncredited 1916 Civilization Extra Uncredited 1916 The Apostle of Vengeance Willie Hudson 1916 The Phantom Bertie Bereton 1916 Eye of the Night Uncredited 1916 Shell 43 English Spy 1916 The Sin Ye Do Jimmy 1917 The Weaker Sex 1917 The Bride of Hate Dr. Duprez's Son 1917 Princess of the Dark 'Crip' Halloran 1917 The Dark Road Cedric Constable 1917 Happiness Richard Forrester Credited as Jack Gilbert 1917 The Millionaire Vagrant James Cricket 1917 The Hater of Men Billy Williams 1917 The Mother Instinct Jean Coutierre 1917 Golden Rule Kate The Heller 1917 The Devil Dodger Roger Ingraham 1917 Up or Down? Allan Corey 1918 Nancy Comes Home Phil Ballou Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 Shackled James Ashley Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 More Trouble Harvey Deering Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 One Dollar Bid Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 Wedlock Granger Hollister Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 Doing Their Bit Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 The Mask Billy Taylor Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 Three x Gordon Archie Credited as Jack Gilbert 1918 The Dawn of Understanding Ira Beasly Credited as Jack Gilbert 1919 The White Heat Beach Credited as Jack Gilbert 1919 The Busher Jim Blair Credited as Jack Gilbert 1919 The Man Beneath James Bassett Credited as Jack Gilbert 1919 A Little Brother of the Rich Carl Wilmerding 1919 The Red Viper Dick Grant Credited as Jack Gilbert 1919 For a Woman's Honor Dick Rutherford 1919 Widow by Proxy Jack Pennington Credited as Jack Gilbert 1919 Heart o' the Hills Gray Pendleton Credited as Jack Gilbert 1919 Should a Woman Tell? The Villain Credited as Jack Gilbert 1920 The White Circle Frank Cassilis Credited as Jack Gilbert 1920 The Great Redeemer Undetermined role Uncredited 1920 Deep Waters Bill Lacey Credited as Jack Gilbert 1921 The Servant in the House Percival Credited as Jack Gilbert 1921 Shame William Fielding/David Field 1921 Ladies Must Live The Gardener Credited as Jack Gilbert 1922 Gleam O'Dawn Gleam O'Dawn 1922 Arabian Love Norman Stone 1922 The Yellow Stain Donald Keith 1922 Honor First Jacques Dubois/HonorA©: Duboois 1922 Monte Cristo Edmond Dantes Count of Monte Cristo 1922 Calvert's Valley Page Emlyn Credited as Jack Gilbert 1922 The Love Gambler Dick Manners 1922 A California Romance Don Patricio Fernando 1923 While Paris Sleeps Dennis O'Keefe 1923 Truxton King Truxton King 1923 Madness of Youth Jaca Javalie 1923 St. Elmo St. Elmo Thornton 1923 The Exiles Henry Holcombe 1923 Cameo Kirby Cameo Kirby 1924 Just Off Broadway Stephen Moore 1924 The Wolf Man Gerald Stanley 1924 A Man's Mate Paul 1924 The Lone Chance Jack Saunders 1924 Romance Ranch Carlos Brent 1924 His Hour Gritzko 1924 Married Flirts Guest at party Cameo appearance 1924 He Who Gets Slapped Bezano 1924 The Snob Eugene Curry 1924 The Wife of the Centaur Jeffrey Dwyer 1925 The Merry Widow Prince Danilo Petrovich 1925 The Big Parade James Apperson 1925 Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ Crowd extra in chariot race Cameo appearance Uncredited 1926 La BohAme Rodolphe 1926 Bardelys the Magnificent Bardelys 1926 Flesh and the Devil Leo von Harden 1927 The Show Cock Robin 1927 Twelve Miles Out Jerry Fay 1927 Man Woman and Sin Albert Whitcomb 1927 Love Captain Count Alexei Vronsky 1928 The Cossacks Lukashka 1928 Four Walls Benny Horowitz 1928 Show People Himself Cameo appearance Uncredited 1928 The Masks of the Devil Baron Reiner 1928 A Woman of Affairs Neville 'Nevs' Holderness 1929 Desert Nights Hugh Rand Last silent film 1929 His Glorious Night Captain Kovacs Sound film debut 1930 Redemption Fedya 1930 Way for a Sailor Jack 1931 Gentleman's Fate Giacomo Tomasulo/Jack Thomas 1931 The Phantom of Paris ChA©:ri-Bibi 1931 West of Broadway Jerry Seevers 1932 Downstairs Karl Schneider 1933 Fast Workers Gunner Smith 1933 Queen Christina Antonio 1934 The Captain Hates the Sea Steve Bramley