William S. Hart (William Surrey Hart)
Photos with William S. Hart
BiographyNewburgh, New York, USA
A storybook hero, the original screen cowboy, ever forthright and honest, even when (as was often the case) he played a villain, William S. Hart lived for a while in the Dakota Territory, then worked as a postal clerk in New York City. In 1888 he began to study acting. In 1899 he created the role of Messala in "Ben-Hur", and received excellent reviews for his lead part in "The Virginian" (1907). His first film was a two-reeler, His Hour of Manhood (1914). In 1915 he signed a contract with Thomas H. Ince and joined Ince's Triangle Film Company. Read more... he followed Ince to Famous Players-Lasky and received a very lucrative contract from Adolph Zukor. His career began to dwindle in the early 1920s due to the publicity surrounding a paternity suit against him, which was eventually dismissed. He made his last film, Tumbleweeds (1925), for United Artists and retired to a ranch in Newhall, CA. By that time audiences were more interested in the antics of a Tom Mix or Hoot Gibson than the Victorian moralizing of Hart. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, NY.