John Bowers (1893-1936)

John Bowers, Silent Film Star

“A Star Was Born – And Then He Died”

One of my own personal favorite silent movie stars, John Bowers was born on Christmas Day in Garrett, Indiana in 1893 and he graduated from Huntington Business College. He became interested in theater in school and gave up a career in finance in order to hit the theater boards instead. John began his work as an actor in silent pictures in 1914, quickly coming to prominence as a sensitive hero and atypical handsome leading man in many films, working with all the big name actresses of the time, such as Mary Pickford, Madge Bellamy, Mary Miles Minter, and Marguerite De La Motte, whom he married in 1923. John did not succeed in films after sound came in, though he was a remarkable talent and many believe he could have done so if given the right encouragement by Hollywood producers and directors at the time. Lack of work hurt his self-esteem, his marriage to Marguerite ended, and John began to turn to alcohol for comfort. By 1932 his film career was over. In 1934 he returned home to care for his dying mother, and after she passed away John fell into a deeper depression. After begging for work one last time in Hollywood, and being refused, John Bowers rented a boat in Santa Monica, went out on the ocean alone, and drowned himself. He died on November 17th, 1936. His tragic life story is considered to be the basis, at least in part, for the famous film story “A Star Is Born.” (Three film versions were made of this story). The first two films I happened to see John in were “The Sky Pilot” (1921) and “Lorna Doone” (1922), and in both those films there were scenes in which John’s characters were struggling to avoid drowning. Definitely a very creepy feeling. ~ Copyright © 2004

John Bowers’ Silent Films

Heroes in Blue (1927)
Opening Night, The (1927) …. Jimmy Keane
Ragtime (1927) …. Ted Mason
For Ladies Only (1927) …. Cliff Coleman
Dice Woman, The (1927) …. Hamlin
Heart of the Yukon, The (1927) …. Jim Winston
Three Hours (1927) …. James Finlay
Jewels of Desire (1927) …. Maclyn Mills
Pals in Paradise (1926) …. Bill Harvey
Laddie (1926) …. Laddie
Whispering Smith (1926) …. McCloud
Danger Girl, The (1926) …. Wilson Travers
Rocking Moon (1926) …. Gary Tynan
Hearts and Fists (1926) …. Larry Pond
People vs. Nancy Preston, The (1925) …. Mike Horgan
Off the Highway (1925) …. Donald Brett
Chickie (1925) …. Barry Dunne
Daughters Who Pay (1925) …. Dick Foster
Confessions of a Queen (1925) …. Prince Alexei
Flattery (1925) …. Reginald Mallory
Code of the Wilderness (1924) …. Rex Randerson
So Big (1924) …. Pervus DeJong
Those Who Dare (1924) …. Captain Manning
Empty Hearts (1924) …. Milt Kimberlin
White Sin, The (1924) …. Grant Van Gore
When a Man’s a Man (1924) …. Lawrence Knight, ‘Patches’
Richard the Lion-Hearted (1923) …. Sir Kenneth, Knight of the Leopard
Desire (1923) …. Bob Elkins
Destroying Angel (1923) …. Hugh Miller Whittaker
Barefoot Boy (1923) …. Dick Alden
Divorce (1923) …. Jim Parker
What a Wife Learned (1923) …. Jim Russell
Woman of Bronze, The (1923) …. Paddy Miles
Crinoline and Romance (1923) …. Davis Jordan
Quincy Adams Sawyer (1922) …. Quincy Adams Sawyer

John Bowers in Lorna Doone

John Bowers as John Ridd in the classic silent film “Lorna Doone” (1922)

Lorna Doone (1922) …. John Ridd
Affinities (1922) …. Day Illington
Bonded Woman, The (1922) …. John Somers
South of Suva (1922) …. John Webster
Golden Gift, The (1922) …. James Llewelyn
Roads of Destiny (1921)
Voices of the City (1921) …. Graham
… aka Night Rose, The (1921)
Poverty of Riches, The (1921) …. Tom Donaldson

John Bowers appeared with Kathryn McGuire in “The Silent Call” (1921)

Silent Call, The (1921) …. Clark Moran
Bits of Life (1921) …. Dentist’s Patient
Ace of Hearts, The (1921) …. Mr. Forrest
Unwilling Hero, An (1921) …. Hunter
Sky Pilot, The (1921) …. The Sky Pilot

Sydney Ainsworth, Barbara Castleton, and John Bowers in 1920’s “Out of the Storm”

Out of the Storm (1920) …. John Ordham
Woman in Room 13, The (1920) …. Paul Ramsey
Godless Men (1920) …. Dan Darrin
Cumberland Romance, A (1920) …. Clayton
… aka Romance of the Cumberland (1920)
Loves of Letty, The (1919) …. Richard Perry
Strictly Confidential (1919) …. Vernon, Lord Bantock
Through the Wrong Door (1919) …. Burt Radcliffe
Pest, The (1919) …. Gene Giles
Daughter of Mine (1919) …. George Howard/Byron Mulvaney
Sis Hopkins (1919) …. Ridy Scarboro
Day Dreams (1919) …. Dan O’Hara
What Love Forgives (1919) …. David Know Endicott
Oldest Law, The (1918) …. Billy West
Sea Waif, The (1918) …. Harry Caton
T’Other Dear Charmer (1918) …. Tom Wentworth
Heredity (1918) …. Paul Winslow
… aka Blood of the Trevors, The (1918) (USA)
Joan of the Woods (1918) …. Norman Dicks
Woman of Redemption, A (1918) …. Tim Stanton
Cabaret, The (1918) …. Dick Turner
Journey’s End (1918) …. Phil Marsden
Way Out, The (1918) …. Count Louis de Jouiville
Spurs of Sybil, The (1918) …. Dr. Ross Alger
Stolen Hours (1918) …. Carton, Hugh
Shall We Forgive Her? (1917)
Strong Way, The (1917) …. Don Chadwick
Tenth Case, The (1917) …. Sanford King
Easy Money (1917) …. Richard Chanslor
Betsy Ross (1917) …. Joseph Ashburn
Self-Made Widow, A (1917) …. Fitzhugh Castleton
Divorce Game, The (1917) …. Paul, Viscount de Sallure
Maternity (1917) …. David Gordon
Candy Girl, The (1917) (as John E. Bowers) …. Simon Skinner
Darkest Russia (1917) …. Alexis Nazimoff
Bondage of Fear, The (1917) …. Dick Mortimer
Reward of Patience, The (1916)
Hulda From Holland (1916) …. Allan Walton
Destiny’s Toy (1916) …. Reverend Robert Carter
Eternal Grind, The (1916) …. Owen Wharton
Madame X (1916) …. Monsieur Floriot
Woman Pays, The (1915) (as John E. Bowers) …. John Langton
Little Dutch Girl, The (1915) …. Lionel
In the Days of the Thundering Herd (1914) (uncredited)
… aka Thundering Herd, The (1915) (reissue title)
Baited Trap, The (1914)

To learn more about John Bowers visit his profile at The Internet Movie Database

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