John Joseph Francis Mulhall
October 7, 1887
|Died||June 1, 1979 91) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Laura Mulhall (divorced; 1 child) |
(m.1924–1979; his death)
John Joseph Francis Mulhall (October 7, 1887 – June 1, 1979) was an American film actor beginning in the silent film era who successfully transitioned to sound films, appearing in over 430 films in a career spanning 50 years.
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound. In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or even, in large cities, a small orchestra—would often play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from sheet music, or improvisation.
A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades passed before sound motion pictures were made commercially practical. Reliable synchronization was difficult to achieve with the early sound-on-disc systems, and amplification and recording quality were also inadequate. Innovations in sound-on-film led to the first commercial screening of short motion pictures using the technology, which took place in 1923.
Mulhall was born in Wappingers Falls, New York.He was one of six children born to an Irish father and a Scottish mother. He began helping with carnival acts when he was 14 years old.
Wappingers Falls is a village in Dutchess County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 5,522. The community was named for the cascade in Wappinger Creek. A portion of the village is in the Town of Wappinger, and the other part is in the Town of Poughkeepsie, with Wappinger Creek forming the dividing line between the towns.
Before acting in films, Mulhall worked in legitimate theater, musical comedy, and vaudeville. He also worked as a model for magazine illustrators. His first film appearance (other than as an extra) was in The Fugitive (1910).
The Fugitive is a 1910 American drama film directed by D. W. Griffith. Prints of the film survive at the film archive of the Library of Congress and at George Eastman House. The script was by John MacDonagh, who would later fight in the Easter Rising under the command of his brother, Thomas MacDonagh, one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, who would be executed by the British along with 15 other leaders after the Rising.
During the silent era, Mulhall was a popular screen player, particularly in the 1920s, and he starred in such films as The Social Buccaneer , The Mad Whirl and We Moderns . Some of his more prominent mid-career roles were in The Three Musketeers (1933), Burn 'Em Up Barnes (1934) and The Clutching Hand (1936). He last appeared in a film in 1959 ( The Atomic Submarine ).
The Social Buccaneer was a 1923 American film serial directed by Robert F. Hill. The serial consisted of ten episodes and was based on the novel of the same name by Frederic S. Isham. The Social Buccaneer is now considered to be a lost film.
The Mad Whirl is a 1925 jazz age black-and-white silent film drama film about the "loosening of youth morals" that took place during the 1920s. Written by Edward T. Lowe Jr. and Lewis Milestone, and directed by William A. Seiter for Universal Pictures, the film stars May McAvoy and Jack Mulhall.
We Moderns (1925) is an American silent comedy film directed by John Francis Dillon and starring Colleen Moore. The film was produced by Moore's husband John McCormick (1893-1961), was released through First National Pictures. It was based on the play and novel by Israel Zangwill. The play ran for 22 performances in 1924 at the Gaiety Theatre, produced and directed by Harrison Grey Fiske and starring Helen Hayes and Isabel Irving.
In the late 1940s, Mulhall joined Blackouts, a stage revue produced by Ken Murray. After that production ended in 1949, he went on to appear on television programs in the 1950s. His last television appearance was on 77 Sunset Strip .
Ken Murray was an American comedian, actor, radio and television personality and author.
77 Sunset Strip is an American television private detective series created by Roy Huggins and starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, Richard Long and Edd Byrnes. Each episode was one hour long including commercials. The show ran from 1958 to 1964.
After he left acting, Mulhall worked for the Screen Actors Guild as a contract negotiator until 1974.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was an American labor union which represented over 100,000 film and television principal and background performers worldwide. On March 30, 2012, the union leadership announced that the SAG membership voted to merge with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to create SAG-AFTRA.
During the peak of his success in films, Mulhall bought "large land holdings in what is now Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley."However, losses in the Great Depression wiped out his fortune.
Mulhall's first wife was Bertha Vuillot, who died soon after they wed. His second wife, Laura Brunton, committed suicide in 1921. Later in 1921, he married Evelyn Winans. They remained married until his death in 1979.
In 1979, Mulhall died from congestive heart failureat the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. He was 91. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Mulhall received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street.It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.
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