Fred Niblo

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Fred Niblo
Fred Niblo, 1926
Frederick Liedtke

(1874-01-06)January 6, 1874
York, Nebraska, United States
DiedNovember 11, 1948(1948-11-11) (aged 74)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Burial place Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California, United States
OccupationFilm director, actor
Years active1916–1932
Josephine Cohan
(m. 1901;died 1916)

Enid Bennett (m. 1918)

Fred Niblo (born Frederick Liedtke; January 6, 1874 – November 11, 1948) was an American pioneer film actor, director and producer.



He was born Frederick Liedtke (several sources give "Frederico Nobile", apparently erroneously [1] ) in York, Nebraska to a French mother and a father who had served as a captain in the American Civil War and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg. Using the stage name Fred Niblo, Liedtke began his show business career performing in vaudeville and in live theater. After more than 20 years doing live performing as a monologist, during which he traveled extensively around the globe, he worked in Australia from 1912 through 1915, where he turned to the burgeoning motion picture industry and made his first two films.

York, Nebraska City in Nebraska, United States

York is a city in, and the county seat of, York County, Nebraska, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,766. It is the home of York College and the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Battle of Gettysburg most important battle of the American Civil War

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, halting Lee's invasion of the North.

On June 2, 1901, Niblo married Broadway actress Josephine Cohan, the older sister of George M. Cohan. He managed the Four Cohans in their two big successes: The Governor's Son and Running for Office. From 1904 to 1905, Fred resumed his stage career, appearing as Walter Lee Leonard in The Rogers Brothers in Paris and then returned to vaudeville. [2]

George M. Cohan American composer and playwright

George Michael Cohan, known professionally as George M. Cohan, was an American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and theatrical producer.

Four Cohans

The Four Cohans was a late 19th-century vaudeville family act that introduced 20th-century Broadway legend George M. Cohan to show business. It consisted of father Jeremiah "Jere" Cohan (1848–1917), mother Helen "Nellie" Costigan Cohan (1854–1928), daughter Josephine "Josie" Cohan Niblo (1876–1916), and son George M. Cohan (1878-1942).

Josephine died in 1916, the year he began acting and directing motion pictures. While in Australia, he met actress Enid Bennett, whom he later married. As a Hollywood director, he is most remembered for several notable films, beginning with his 1920 work The Mark of Zorro which starred Douglas Fairbanks. The following year he teamed with Fairbanks in The Three Musketeers [3] and then directed Rudolph Valentino in Blood and Sand . [3]

Enid Bennett actress

Enid Eulalie Bennett was an Australian silent film actress, mostly active in American film.

<i>The Mark of Zorro</i> (1920 film) 1920 film by Fred Niblo, Theodore Reed

The Mark of Zorro is a 1920 silent adventure romance film starring Douglas Fairbanks and Noah Beery Sr.. This genre-defining swashbuckler adventure was the first movie version of The Mark of Zorro. Based on the 1919 story The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley, which introduced the masked hero, Zorro, the screenplay was adapted by Fairbanks and Eugene Miller.

Douglas Fairbanks American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer

Douglas Fairbanks was an American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films including The Thief of Bagdad, Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro but spent the early part of his career making comedies.

In 1924, Niblo directed the film Thy Name Is Woman. [3]

<i>Thy Name Is Woman</i> 1924 film by Fred Niblo

Thy Name Is Woman is a 1924 American silent drama film directed by Fred Niblo and starring Ramon Novarro and Barbara La Marr. A copy of the film survives in the Turner Archive.

In 1925, Niblo was the principal director of the epic Ben-Hur , one of the more expensive films of the day but became the third highest-grossing silent film in cinema history. Niblo followed this success with two major 1926 works: The Temptress starring Greta Garbo in her second film in America and Norma Talmadge in Camille . Niblo directed some of the great stars of the era, including Joan Crawford, Lillian Gish, and Ronald Colman. In 1930, he directed his first sound film with two of the bigger names in show business: John Gilbert and Renée Adorée in a film titled Redemption .

Epic film film genre

Epic films are a style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope, and spectacle. The usage of the term has shifted over time, sometimes designating a film genre and at other times simply synonymous with big budget filmmaking. Like epics in the classical literary sense it is often focused on a heroic character. An epic's ambitious nature helps to set it apart from other types of film such as the period piece or adventure film.

<i>The Temptress</i> 1926 film by Mauritz Stiller, Fred Niblo

The Temptress is a 1926 American silent romantic drama film directed by Fred Niblo and starring Greta Garbo, Antonio Moreno, Lionel Barrymore, and Roy D'Arcy. It premiered on October 10, 1926. The film melodrama was based on a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez adapted for the screen by Dorothy Farnum.

Greta Garbo Swedish-American actress

Greta Garbo was a Swedish-American film actress during the 1920s and 1930s. Garbo was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actress and received an Academy Honorary Award in 1954 for her "luminous and unforgettable screen performances." In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on their list of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema.

Actress Marion Shilling, who worked with Niblo on Young Donovan's Kid , said, "One of the reasons for his success as a director, certainly, was that he had been an actor himself. He could empathize, see and feel a scene from an actor's viewpoint. He never talked down to us. He was a lovely human being." [4]

Marion Shilling actress

Marion Shilling was an American film actress of the 1930s.

<i>Young Donovans Kid</i> 1931 film by Fred Niblo

Young Donovan's Kid is a 1931 American Pre-Code melodrama film directed by Fred Niblo, from a screenplay by J. Walter Ruben, based upon the short story, Big Brother, by Rex Beach. It was a remake of a 1923 silent film of the same, produced by Famous Players-Lasky, and directed by Allan Dwan. This version starred Richard Dix, Jackie Cooper, and Marion Shilling. The film also featured Boris Karloff in a supporting role.

Fred Niblo retired in 1933 after more than 40 years in show business. The last 16 years were used to make more than 40 films, most of which were feature length projects. He was an important personality in the early years of Hollywood and was one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In recognition of his role in the development of the film industry, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7014 Hollywood Boulevard on February 8, 1960. [5] [6] His Ben-Hur film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Fred Niblo died in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery near his wife Enid Bennett in Glendale, California. His son with Josephine Cohan, Fred Niblo, Jr. (1903–1973), was a successful Hollywood screenwriter.

Niblo had three children with Enid Bennett. [7]


Film posters
Ben-Hur (1925)
1916 Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford J. Rufus Wallingford
1916 Officer 666 Travers Gladwin
1918 The Marriage Ring
1918 When Do We Eat?
1918 Fuss and Feathers
1919 Happy Though Married
1919 Partners Three
1919 The Law of Men
1919 The Haunted Bedroom
1919 The Virtuous Thief
1919 Stepping Out
1919 What Every Woman Learns
1919 Dangerous Hours
1920 The Woman in the Suitcase
1920 Sex
1920 The False Road
1920 Hairpins
1920 Her Husband's Friend
1920 The Mark of Zorro
1920 Silk Hosiery
1921 Mother o' Mine
1921 Greater Than Love
1921 The Three Musketeers
1922 The Woman He Married
1922 Rose o' the Sea
1922 Blood and Sand
1923 The Famous Mrs. Fair
1923 Strangers of the Night
1924 Thy Name Is Woman
1924 The Red Lily
1925 Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
1926 The Temptress
1926 Camille
1927 The Devil Dancer
1927 The Enemy
1928 Two Lovers
1928 The Mysterious Lady
1928 Dream of Love
1930 Redemption
1930 Way Out West
1931 Young Donovan's Kid
1931 The Big Gamble
1932 Two White Arms
1932 Diamond Cut Diamond

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  1. Adrian Room (1 July 2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (fifth ed.). McFarland. p. 348. ISBN   978-0-7864-5763-2.
  2. Briscoe, Johnson (1908). The actors' birthday book. An authoritative insight into the lives of the men and women of the stage born between January first and December thirty-first. 2ed. New York: Moffat, Yard and Company. p. 17.
  3. 1 2 3 "THE SCREEN; Spanish Fascination". New York Times . March 4, 1924.
  4. Ankerich, Michael G. The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities. McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC: 1998. p. 207.
  5. "Fred Niblo | Hollywood Walk of Fame". Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  6. "Fred Niblo". Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  7. "Fred Niblo". Retrieved 2016-06-28.