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Golden Silents' Colorized Portrait of Francis X. Bushman, Silent Film Star

Francis X. Bushman (1883 - 1966)

Silent screen star Francis Xavier Bushman was born in Norfolk, Virginia on January 10th, 1883, and was educated at Ammendale College, Maryland. Early in life he became, in turn, a wrestler, boxer, bicycle racer, artist's model, and a student of sculpture. He played in repertoire and stock companies, but the silent screen beckoned, and he joined the Essanay Company in 1911. In 1915 he became an early Metro star. He also worked for Vitagraph studio and others.

Francis is best remembered today for playing the frightening, stone faced Messala in the original 1925 film version of "Ben-Hur", with Ramon Novarro playing opposite him as Judah Ben-Hur. This version of "Ben-Hur" was the most expensive silent film ever made, at a budget of 3.9 million dollars, a phenomenal sum in those days. Francis's interpretation of the role of Messala was quite different from the later 1959 version, played by actor Stephen Boyd. More daring, Francis's interpretation showed Messala's unflinching anti-Semitism right from the beginning of the story.

Mr. Bushman was six feet tall and muscular; he played romantic leads early in his career, and then switched over to play 'macho' types and villains as he aged. Francis was married four times, once to actress Beverly Bayne, with whom he had a son. He had six children altogether, three boys and three girls.

In later years Francis played small roles in films and on television. Fans of Audrey Hepburn might recognize the older Francis X. Bushman playing Mr. Tyson in Billy Wilder's 1954 romantic comedy "Sabrina". He died of a heart attack, precipitated by a fall, on August 23rd, 1966, in Pacific Palisades, California.

Francis had donated the land to Sid Graumann on which now stands the famous Graumann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, so part of his entertainment legacy still remains with the public, even if most people today don't remember his name. ~ Copyright © 2004 goldensilents.com

Francis X. Bushman's Silent Films

Man Higher Up (1928)
Midnight Life (1928) .... Jim Logan
... aka Midnight Life (1928) (UK)
Say It with Sables (1928) .... John Caswell
... aka Reckoning, The (1928) (UK)
Grip of the Yukon, The (1928) .... Colby MacDonald
Nueva y gloriosa nación, Una (1928) .... Belgrano
... aka Beautiful Spy, The (1928) (UK)
... aka Charge of the Gauchos, The (1928) (USA: cut version)
Thirteenth Juror, The (1927) .... Henry Desmond
Flag: A Story Inspired by the Tradition of Betsy Ross, The (1927) .... George Washington
... aka Flag, The (1927) (USA: short title)

Francis with Corrine Griffith in The Lady In Ermine (1927)

Lady in Ermine, The (1927) .... Gen. Dostal
Marriage Clause, The (1926) .... Barry Townsend
Playing the Swell (1926)

Ramon Novarro and Francis X Bushman - goldensilents.com

Animosity just below the surface: Messala (Francis X. Bushman) toasts past friendship with Judah (Ramon Novarro) in "Ben-Hur" (1925)
Francis was so much taller and brawnier than Ramon that in their scenes together a hole was dug in the ground for Francis,
so that he could stand more equally in height with Ramon.

Ben-Hur (1925) .... Messala
... aka Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
Masked Bride, The (1925) .... Grover
Modern Marriage (1923) .... Hugh Varley
Making the Grade (1922)
According to Hoyle (1922)
Smiling All the Way (1920)

Francis as bodybuilder - goldensilents.com

Body builder and actor Francis X. Bushman
He was called "King of Hollywood" until Clark Gable dethroned him.

Daring Hearts (1919) .... Hugh Brown
God's Outlaw (1919) .... Andrew Craig
Poor Rich Man, The (1918) .... Vantyne Carter
Pair of Cupids, A (1918) .... Peter Warburton
... aka Both Members (1918) (reissue title)
Social Quicksands (1918) .... Warren Dexter
Cyclone Higgins, D.D. (1918) .... Cyrus 'Cyclone' Higgins, D.D.
With Neatness and Dispatch (1918) .... Paul Donaldson
Brass Check, The (1918) .... Richard Trevor
Under Suspicion (1918) .... Gerry Simpson
Red, White and Blue Blood (1917) .... John Spaulding
Voice of Conscience, The (1917) .... William Poatter/James Houston
Adopted Son, The (1917) .... Two Gun Carter
Their Compact (1917) .... James Van Dyke Moore
Great Secret, The (1917) .... William Strong
Virginia Romance, A (1916)
Romeo and Juliet (1916/II) .... Romeo
In the Diplomatic Service (1916) .... Dick Stansbury
Million a Minute, A (1916) .... Stephen Quaintance
Wall Between, The (1916) .... Sergeant John Kendall
Red Mouse, The (1916)
Man and His Soul (1916) .... John Conscience/John Power
Pennington's Choice (1915) .... Robert Pennington
Silent Voice, The (1915) .... Franklyn Starr
Second in Command, The (1915) .... Lt. Col. Miles Anstruther
Providence and Mrs. Urmy (1915) .... Barton the Chauffeur & Lord Chilminster
Slim Princess, The (1915) .... Alexander H. Pike
Thirty (1915) .... Dick Thompson
Return of Richard Neal, The (1915) .... Richard Neal
Graustark (1915) .... Grenfall Lorry
Great Silence, The (1915) .... John Landon
Stars Their Courses Change (1915) .... Robert Cameron
Accounting, The (1915) .... Gordon Bannock
Thirteen Down (1915) .... Arnold Austin
Ambition of the Baron, The (1915) .... Count Jean de Lugnan
Gallantry of Jimmy Rodgers, The (1915) .... Jimmy Rodgers
Prince Party, The (1914) .... Prince Francis of Fournia
Shanty at Trembling Hill, The (1914) .... Richard Scott
Any Woman's Choice (1914) .... The Mutual Friend
Battle of Love, The (1914) .... Arthur Chandler
Every Inch a King (1914) .... King Liporie of Vidonia
Fable of the Bush League Lover Who Failed to Qualify, The (1914) .... The Matinee Idol
Scars of Possession (1914) .... Payne Forsythe
Unplanned Elopement, The (1914) .... Frank Melbourne
Private Officer, The (1914) .... Harry Lampton & Lt. Frothingham
In the Glare of the Lights (1914) .... Glen Duval
Other Man, The (1914) .... Harry Ross
Splendid Dishonor, A (1914) .... Frank Sergeant
Plum Tree, The (1914) .... Craig Ewell
Sparks of Fate (1914) .... Frank Graham
Under Royal Patronage (1914) .... Richard Savage
Masked Wrestler, The (1914) .... Louis de Luzon
Motor Buccaneers, The (1914)
One Wonderful Night (1914) .... John Delancey Curtis
His Stolen Fortune (1914) .... Frank Wentworth
Night Hawks, The (1914) .... Humphrey
Night with a Million, A (1914) .... Jack Wilton
Trinkets of Tragedy (1914) .... Harrison Hyde
Countess, The (1914) .... Richard Hasbrook
Finger Prints (1914) .... Richard Neal
Elder Brother, The (1914) .... Dr. Phillip Caldwell
Blood Will Tell (1914)
Voice in the Wilderness, The (1914) .... The Author
Ashes of Hope (1914) .... Fred Willard
Mystery of Room 643, The (1914) .... Richard Neal
Man for A' That, The (1914) .... Frank Willard
Spirit of the Madonna, The (1914) .... James Thompson
In the Moon's Ray (1914) .... Richard Neal
Three Scratch Clue, The (1914) .... Norman Arnold
Shadows (1914/I) .... Secret Service Agent Grayson
Other Girl, The (1914) .... Frank Dixon
Mongrel and Master (1914) .... Frank Mitchell
Dawn & Twilight (1914) .... Pietro Delani
Girl at the Curtain, The (1914) .... Warren Bradley
Through the Storm (1914) .... Andy Burton
Hour and the Man, The (1914) .... Frank Maxwell
Hearts and Flowers (1914/II) .... Mr. Swift
Little Ned (1913)
Sunlight (1913) .... Young Man
Stigma, The (1913) .... Clifford Harvey
Little Substitute, The (1913) .... The Child's Father
Toll of the Marshes, The (1913) .... John Hammond
Way Perilous, The (1913) .... The Young Man
Dear Old Girl (1913) .... Ted Warren, a student
Tony, the Fiddler (1913) .... Tony the Fiddler
... aka Antoine the Fiddler (1913)
For Old Times Sake (1913) .... The Husband
Right of Way, The (1913) .... Robertson
Power of Conscience, The (1913) .... Reverend Stanley Waters
Whip Hand, The (1913) .... The Suitor
Brother's Loyalty, A (1913) .... Paul and Hal
Let No Man Put Asunder (1913)
White Rose (1913)
Pathway of Years, The (1913) .... John Mason
Mistaken Accusation, A (1913) .... Pietro
Discovery, The (1913) .... Young Monion
Farmer's Daughter, The (1913) .... Reginald Hoops Jr.
Thirteenth Man, The (1913)
Spy's Defeat, The (1913) .... Carl Heinrich
When Soul Meets Soul (1913) .... Arames
Daydream of a Photoplay Artist (1912)
Virtue of Rags, The (1912) .... The Grouch
Iron Heel, The (1912) .... Robert Gregg
Penitent, The (1912) .... Bob Arling
House of Pride (1912) .... James Williams
When Wealth Torments (1912) .... Jim O'Brien
Chains (1912) .... Robert King
Warning Hand, The (1912) .... Jack Wayne
End of the Feud, The (1912/I) .... Jim Parker
Voice of Conscience, The (1912) .... William Sherman
Neptune's Daughter (1912) .... Charles Fleming
Fall of Montezuma, The (1912) .... Cortez
Twilight (1912) .... Silas Grant
Hermit of Lonely Gulch, The (1912) .... Bob Wayne, the Hermit
Magic Wand, The (1912) .... Bronson
Adamless Eden, An (1912) .... Adam Boob aka Prince Augustus Busch
Old Wedding Dress, The (1912) .... Bridegroom
New Church Organ, The (1912) .... Austin Strong
Her Hour of Triumph (1912) .... Frederick Barton
Understudy, The (1912) .... Bradley
Signal Lights (1912) .... Jim Drake
Butterfly Net, The (1912) .... Lord Roxbury
White Roses (1912) .... Convict/Mr. Loring
Billy and the Butler (1912) .... Billy McGrath
Return of William Marr (1912) .... William Marr
Passing Shadow, The (1912)
Mis-Sent Letter, The (1912)
Laurel Wreath of Fame, The (1912) .... Guido Marcello
Good Catch, A (1912)
Eye That Never Sleeps, The (1912) .... Howard Mayne
Out of the Night (1912)
Napatia, the Greek Singer (1912) .... Billy Arnold
Rivals, The (1912/II) .... Frank Garrison
Lonesome Robert (1912) .... Tom Morris
At the End of the Trail (1912/I) .... Tukish
Out of the Depths (1912) .... James Grey
Little Black Book, The (1912)
Tracked Down (1912) .... Jim Ford
Melody of Love, The (1912) .... Maurice Eaton
Alias Billy Sargent (1912)
Mail Order Wife, The (1912) .... John White
Two Men and a Girl (1911)
Goodfellow's Christmas Eve, The (1911) .... James Sawyer
Madman, The (1911)
He Fought for the U.S.A. (1911) .... First Brother
Bill Bumper's Bargain (1911) .... Mephisto
False Suspicion, A (1911) .... Husband
Lost Years (1911) .... James Brown
Saved from the Torrents (1911) .... Arthur Chester
Burglarized Burglar, The (1911) .... Charley Fortune-Hunter
Dark Romance of a Tobacco Tin, The (1911) .... George M. Jackson
Fate's Funny Frolic (1911) .... Richard Malcolm
Live, Love and Believe (1911) .... Harry Ainsworth
Gordian Knot, The (1911) .... Harry Robbins
New Manager, The (1911) .... Philip Carlton
God's Inn by the Sea (1911) .... Captain Crandal
Her Dad the Constable (1911) .... Tom Thornton
Rosary, The (1911) .... Young Payne
His Friend's Wife (1911)

To learn more about Francis X. Bushman visit his profile on The Internet Movie Database


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