Monday, December 2, 2013

Warren William, 1884-1948

Warren William, back row center, in Lady For a Day (1933)

Today marks the birth anniversary of 1930s actor Warren William. I'm not certain which of his movies was his biggest: Lady for a Day, pictures above, is really May Robson's movie although William is the male lead. William is the male lead as well in the 1934 version of Imitation of Life, although that's Claudette Colbert's film. Diito Cleopatra, where Cobert plays the title character to William's Julius Caesar. IMDb lists him as being billed second, although I thought the trailer I saw on TCM recently -- Cleopatra is coming up at 10:00 PM Friday -- has him third, behind Colbert and Henry Wilcoxon as Marc Antony.

William was the male lead as well in several precode programmers that I've blogged about before, such as Under 18 and Smarty, an deven played the Sam Spade character renamed in Satan Met a Lady, the 1937 Bette Davis version of The Maltese Falcon.

Last, but not least, Warren played detectives in multiple film series. He played Philo Vance twice, and Perry Mason four times. But it was Michael Lanyard, the Lone Wolf, that he played the most, eight times between 1939 and 1943. TCM has for several years now been running movie series in the Saturday just before noon time slot, and have already gone through the Perry Mason and Lone Wold films. I don't recall whether they've done the Philo Vance movies, although there the main character was played by several actors.

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