Raymond Griffith (1895-1957)

Raymond Griffith - Silent Film Star

“The Silk Hat Comedian”

Dapper, delightful silent film comedian and actor Raymond Griffith was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 23rd, 1895. His parents were show business professionals and he grew up wanting to be the same, making his stage debut at only fifteen months of age. He continued to play roles on the stage as a young boy, including the title role in a production of “Little Lord Fauntleroy”. However during rehearsals for a stage show called “The Witching Hour” Raymond lost his voice. His part had called for him to scream very loudly and repeatedly, and his vocal cords were damaged permanently. Eventually his voice returned slightly, hovering around a whisper, but without vocal projection his stage career as a performer was over. He joined a circus, working as a clown and trapeze artist, and he worked as a dancer, becoming a dance instructor at the Grand Central Palace in New York. He also toured in vaudeville as a pantomimist. He entered the Navy for a time but was rejected for service in World War One due to his voice injury. After leaving the Navy Ray moved to California and decided to try and break into the silent cinema as an actor. His first roles were in minor comedies for the L-KO Kompany and distributed by Universal. After this he worked for Mack Sennett, Fox, Triangle, Marshall Neilan, Goldwyn, and then for Famous Players-Lasky, often as a comic or drama actor, but also as a scenario and script writer. Some of his most successful films as a performer were “Changing Husbands” (1924), “Open All Night” (1924), “Miss Bluebeard” (1925), “The Night Club” (1925), “Paths to Paradise” (1925), “Hands Up!” (1926) and “Wet Paint” (1926).

When sound arrived to the film industry Ray knew that his choice of acting vehicles would be sparse because of his voice, but he did try, which shows strength of character and tenacity. His last film role came in 1931 with the classic anti-war film “All Quiet On The Western Front” in which Ray played an uncredited but memorable role as a French soldier dying in a shell crater while actor Lew Ayres, playing a German soldier, looks on. In later years Griffith continued to work as a screenplay editor for several studios. In 1928 he married actress Bertha Mann, and they had two children, a boy and a girl; their marriage lasted until November 25th, 1957, when Raymond died suddenly at the Masquers Club in Los Angeles after choking and asphyxiating on his food. Griffith’s footprints are on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, testifying to his star status in those silent film days of so long ago. Today only a few of Griffith’s silent films survive, but the films that do show a unique and pleasant talent, a subtle form of humor which is just now being rediscovered and enjoyed by modern audiences.

~ Copyright © 2004 www.goldensilents.com

Raymond Griffith’s Silent Films

Time to Love (1927) …. Alfred Sava-Goiu
Wedding Bill$ (1927) …. Algernon Schuyler Van Twidder
Waiter From the Ritz, The (1926)
Sorrows of Satan, The (1926) (uncredited) …. Undetermined Role
You’d Be Surprised (1926) …. The Coroner
Wet Paint (1926) …. He
Hands Up! (1926) …. Jack, a Confederate Spy
When Winter Went (1925) …. Bookworm
Regular Fellow, A (1925) …. The Prince
Fine Clothes (1925) …. Oscar

Raymond Griffith and Betty Compson in Paths to Paradise

Raymond Griffith and Betty Compson in “Paths to Paradise” (1925)

Paths to Paradise (1925) …. The Dude from Duluth
Night Club, The (1925) …. Robert White
Forty Winks (1925) …. Lord Chumley
Miss Bluebeard (1925) …. The Honorable Bertie Bird
Open All Night (1924) …. Igor
… aka One Parisian Night (1924) (UK)
Lily of the Dust (1924) …. Karl Dehnecke
… aka Song of Songs, The (1924) (Australia)
Changing Husbands (1924) …. Bob Hamilton
Nellie, the Beautiful Cloak Model (1924) …. Shorty Burchell
Dawn of a Tomorrow, The (1924) …. The Dandy
Poisoned Paradise (1924) …. Martel
… aka Poisoned Paradise: The Forbidden Story of Monte Carlo (1924)
White Tiger (1923) …. Roy Donovan
Day of Faith, The (1923) …. Tom Barnett
Red Lights (1923) …. Sheridan Scott
Eternal Three, The (1923) …. Leonard Foster
Souls for Sale (1923) …. Celebrity
Minnie (1922) …. Chewing Gum Salesman
Fools First (1922) …. Tony
Crossroads of New York, The (1922) …. Wall Street ‘Wolf’
… aka For Love or Money (1922) (USA: preview title)
Love, Honor and Behave (1920) …. Man with Married Girlfriend
Follies Girl, The (1919) …. Fredric
Red-Haired Cupid, The (1918) (as Ray Griffith) …. Albert Jones
… aka Red-Headed Cupid, The (1918) (USA: review title)
Village Chestnut, The (1918)
Their Neighbor’s Baby (1918) (as Ray Griffith)
Mud (1918) (as Ray Griffith)
His Double Life (1918) (as Ray Griffith) …. Father
Ruined by a Dumbwaiter (1918) (as Ray Griffith)
Half and Half (1917)
Counterfeit Scent, A (1917) (as Ray Griffith)
False to the Finish (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. Shop owner
His Busy Day (1917) (as Ray Griffith)
Caught in the End (1917/I) (as Ray Griffith) …. Husband
His Foothill Folly (1917) …. Corn Doctor
Props, Drops and Flops (1917)
His Hidden Talent (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. Peculiar Fellow
His Fatal Move (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. Husband
His Thankless Job (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. Unemployed man
His Speedy Finish (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. Cop
His Social Rise (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. Out-of-work butler
Royal Rogue, A (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. False duke
Aerial Joy Ride, An (1917) (as Ray Griffith) …. Foolish Crook
Scoundrel’s Toll, A (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Inventor
Surf Girl, The (1916)
How Stars Are Made (1916)
Busted Honeymoon, A (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. The Groom
Great Smash, The (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. John D. Rock, Jr.
Bankruptcy of Boggs and Schultz, The (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Mr. Boggs
Dash of Courage, A (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Policeman
Bath House Blunder, A (1916) (as Ray Griffith)
Blue Blood But Black Skin (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Northern Stranger
Elevating Father (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Boy
September Mourning, A (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Artist
Cupid at the Polo Game (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Champion
Mr. McIdiot’s Assassination (1916) (as Ray Griffith) …. Mr. McIdiot
Billy’s Reformation (1916) (as Ray Griffith)
Scandal at Sea, A (1915) (as Ray Griffith) …. Masher
Blackmail in a Hospital (1915) (as Ray Griffith) …. Cookie
Saphead’s Revenge, A (1915) (as Ray Griffith) …. Dancing Master
Ready for Reno (1915) (as Ray Griffith) …. Husband Number 1
Tears and Sunshine (1915) (as Ray Griffith) …. Son
Under New Management (1915) (as Ray Griffith) …. Ray, a clerk
Scandal in the Family (1915) (as Ray Griffith)
Gertie’s Joy Ride (1915)

To learn more about Raymond Griffith visit his profile on The Internet Movie Database

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