George Beranger

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George Beranger
Beranger in D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915)
George Augustus Beringer

(1893-03-27)27 March 1893
Died8 March 1973(1973-03-08) (aged 79)
Laguna Beach, California
OccupationActor, film director
Years active1913–1952

George Beranger (27 March 1893 8 March 1973), also known as André Beranger, was an Australian silent film actor and director in Hollywood. [1] He is also sometimes credited under the pseudonym George André de Beranger. [2]


Early life

Beranger was born George Augustus Beringer [1] in Enmore, New South Wales, Australia, the youngest of five sons of Caroline Mondientz and Adam Beringer, a German engine fitter. His mother committed suicide when he was three years old and he left home at the age of 14. [3] He studied acting at the College of Elocution and Dramatic Art founded by Scottish actor Walter Bentley. [3]


Beranger began playing Shakespearean roles at the age of sixteen with the Walter Bentley Players. He then emigrated from Australia to California, United States in 1912 [1] and worked in the silent film industry in Hollywood. According to a researcher, he "reinvented himself in Hollywood, claiming French parentage, birth on a French ocean liner off the coast of Australia and a Paris education." [3] Beranger worked under the names George Alexandre Beranger and André de Beranger.

By the 1920s, Beranger had become a star, appearing in the movies of Ernst Lubitsch and D. W. Griffith. [3] He also directed ten films between 1914 and 1924. Beranger owned a large Spanish-style home in Laguna Beach, rented a room at the Hollywood Athletic Club and owned an apartment in Paris, France. [3]

Beranger eventually appeared in more than 140 films between 1913 and 1950. Beranger's career declined following the 1930s Great Depression and the advent of sound film, and his roles in later films were small and often uncredited. He supplemented his income as a draftsman for the Los Angeles City Council. He sold his large properties and moved into a modest cottage beside his house in Laguna Beach. [3]

Beranger's silent roles had often been sophisticates or dandy types, and in early sound films he was often relegated to non-speaking walk-ons or bit parts as hairdressers, concierges, florists and the like. However, in the mid and late 1940s, he played interesting speaking bit parts in three 20th Century-Fox (his main studio) film noirs: The Spider (a B noir in which he has several lines as a nosy apartment manager), Nightmare Alley (an all-time classic noir, playing the geek in the first act and singing the Irish drinking song "The Boston Burglar") and Road House (for which he received a rare screen credit, in spite of having only two lines of dialogue as Richard Widmark's bespectacled fishing buddy, "Lefty"). [4]

Beranger entered into a "lavender marriage" with a neighbouring woman who was a widow, but they never shared the same house and he continued to have sexual relationships with men unabated. [5]

Beranger retired in 1952 and lived his later years in seclusion. [6] He was found dead of natural causes in his home on 8 March 1973. [7]

Selected filmography

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  1. 1 2 3 Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Central Division (Los Angeles), 1887–1940; Microfilm Serial: M1524; Microfilm Roll: 2.
  2. "George Beranger". IMDb. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Cosgrove, Bryony (3 March 2012). "The stuff of silent legend". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  4. Calderwood, Brent (December 2021). "Step Right Up: The World of Carnival Noir". Noir City Magazine. 33: 26.
  5. Cosgrove, Bryony (3 March 2012). "The stuff of silent legend". The Saturday Age . p. 18.
  6. Kane, Rich (6 March 2012). "A Laguna Beach Silent Film Star's Story Sounds a Lot Like "The Artist"". Laguna Beach Patch. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  7. "Film Maker G A Beranger Dies in Laguna". Los Angeles Times. Laguna Beach. 9 March 1973. p. Obituary.

Further reading