Lester Cuneo

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Lester H. Cuneo
Silent film actor Lester Cuneo in "The Masked Avenger" (SAYRE 22098).jpg
Cuneo in The Masked Avenger (1922)
Lester H. Cuneo

(1888-10-25)October 25, 1888
DiedNovember 1, 1925(1925-11-01) (aged 37)
Years active1912–1925
Spouse(s) Francelia Billington (m.1920–div.1925)

Lester H. Cuneo (October 25, 1888 – November 1, 1925) was an American stage and silent film actor. He began acting in live theatre while still in his teens.


Early years

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Cuneo attended Culver Military Academy and was a law student at Northwestern University when he turned to acting. [1]



Cuneo's stage career included work with stock theater companies in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Winnepeg. [1]

Cuneo began a film career in 1912 with the Chicago-based Selig Polyscope Company then joined Essanay Studios in 1914. Working in early Hollywood, his popularity increased after he switched from comedic roles to the increasingly popular western film genre. However, his career was temporarily interrupted when he served with the United States Army during World War I. He served in France in 1917-1919 with the 33rd Division from Illinois. [1]

At war's end, Lester Cuneo returned to film and in the early 1920s set up his own production company making primarily western films.

Personal life

He married actress Francelia Billington in 1920 and had two children.[ citation needed ] The two made fourteen films together before their divorce in October 1925.


Despondent over the breakdown of his marriage and the downhill slide of his film career, Lester Cuneo took his own life with a gunshot to the head in 1925. [2] [3] He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. His year of death is printed on his gravemarker as 1926 which contradicts 1925, the year usually given.[ citation needed ]


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  1. 1 2 3 "Educated in school of hard experience". The Shreveport Journal. Louisiana, Shreveport. March 10, 1923. p. 9. Retrieved June 6, 2021 via Newspapers.com.
  2. Birdwell, Russell J. (November 28, 1925). "Hollywood". The Eugene Guard. Eugene, Oregon. Retrieved September 11, 2001.
  3. Hans J. Wollstein (2012). "Lone Hand Wilson". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times . Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2009.