Kenneth Harlan (1895-1967)

Kenneth Harlan - Silent Film Star

Actor Kenneth Harlan was a handsome leading man of the silent film era, playing mostly romantic leads or adventurer types. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on July 26th, 1895, and graduated from Fordham University in New York. Beginning as a stage actor, like so many other silent film stars, Ken moved to Hollywood in 1916 to try his hand at movie acting, finding work easily with his rugged good looks and talent. He was equally skilled at both drama and comedy, and made quite a number of westerns. His uncle, Otis Harlan, was also a motion picture actor in the silents. Ken was married an incredible seven times (how did he keep all his wives’ names straight?), including a marriage to silent screen star Marie Prevost. He made a smooth transition in the sound era, even singing in a few films. His film roles in the sound era were more minor ones though, since he was aging and had to compete with other new, younger actors. He worked up until the 1940’s in Hollywood and then retired in 1943. In 1966 he suddenly reappeared in three made for television movies, playing bit parts. Kenneth Harlan died from an aneurysm on March 6th, 1967 in Sacramento, California. ~ Copyright © 2004

Vintage Bio From “Who’s Who On The Screen” (1920): “Kenneth D. Harlan was born in Boston, Mass., and received his early education in the public schools of that city and later at St. Francis College, and Fordham University. He first appeared on the stage in “More Than A Queen” about 1899 and in support of Julia Arthur. His stage career has been most extensive. He started in pictures in 1916 as leading man under D.W. Griffith and later played with Constance Talmadge, Lois Weber, Mary Pickford, Katherine MacDonald and others. Formerly with Ince, Universal and Metro, he is now with Goldwyn. He is fond of hunting and fishing and also likes to burn up the roads around Los Angeles in his high-powered speedster. He is just six feet high, weighs a hundred and eighty-five pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.”

Vintage Bio From “The Blue Book Of The Stars” (1924): “Asked for the secret of his success, Kenneth Harlan always says “My mother.” For Mrs. Harlan, once an actress of some attainments, has been the inspiration for her athletic son from the time of his childhood in New York until now. Young Harlan got his inspiration for a career from visiting “the wings” of the theaters where his mother was playing. At the Horace Mann School, Kenneth Harlan was the mainstay of amateur dramatics, appearing in plays, coaching the other players and even designing sets and costumes. As soon as he graduated from school he was engaged to appear in support of Gertrude Hoffman, who had a dramatic dance revue on the Keith and Orpheum circuits. Although not a dancer, the young man’s sense of dramatic values made him invaluable in pantomime. But an ambition to be a real actor led the handsome juvenile to secure an engagement with Robert Hilliard’s “The Fortune Hunters” company. Having found his proper medium at last, young Harlan proceeded to shoot to the top of his profession. Broadway recognized him later in “The Country Boy” and opened its arms to its new favorite. Lois Weber saw interesting screen possibilities in the young actor and engaged him to play the leading role in “The Whim,” after terms had shown him to possess undoubted screen personality. With the favorite as a nucleus, Bluebird Productions was formed and made a number of pictures, notably “The Wine Girl,” “Bread,” and “Midnight Madness,” in which he appeared to such good advantage that Constance Talmadge offered him a contract to appear in her support in her features for Joseph Schenck. Under the contract, “Lessons In Love,” “Mama’s Affair,” and “Dangerous Business” served to bring him to the receptive notice of photoplay audiences, and as a result his name began to run high in contests held by magazines to determine the popularity of various film players.”

Kenneth Harlan’s Silent Films

Code of the Air (1928) …. Blair Thompson
United States Smith (1928) …. Cpl. Jim Sharkey
… aka Fighting Marine, The (1928)
Midnight Rose (1928) …. Tim Regan
Wilful Youth (1927) …. Jack Compton
Streets of Shanghai (1927) …. Sergeant Lee
Cheating Cheaters (1927) …. Tom Palmer
Stage Kisses (1927) …. Donald Hampton
Easy Pickings (1927) …. Peter Van Horne
Twinkletoes (1926) …. Chuck Lightfoot
Ice Flood, The (1926) …. Jack De Quincy
Sap, The (1926) …. Barry Weston
King of the Turf, The (1926) …. John Doe Smith

Kenneth Harlan and Marie Prevost

Kenneth Harlan and his intended Marie Prevost
From Photoplay Magazine, September, 1924
“Orange blossoms and wedding bells are going to mean a whole lot
to these two screen favorites one of these days. Marie Prevost and
Kenneth Harlan admit they are going to be married, but when and
where they refuse to divulge to their closest intimates.”

Fighting Edge, The (1926) …. Juan de Dios O’Rourke
Golden Strain, The (1925) …. Milt Mulford Jr
Bobbed Hair (1925) …. David Lacy
Ranger of the Big Pines (1925) …. Ross Cavanagh
Marriage Whirl, The (1925) …. Arthur Carleton
… aka Modern Madness (1925) (UK)
Drusilla with a Million (1925) …. Colin Arnold
Crowded Hour, The (1925) …. Billy Laidlaw
Re-Creation of Brian Kent, The (1925) …. Brian Kent
Learning to Love (1925) (uncredited)
Two Shall Be Born (1924) …. Brian Kelly
On the Stroke of Three (1924) …. Judson Forrest
For Another Woman (1924)
Soiled (1924) …. Jimmie York
White Man (1924) …. White Man
Butterfly (1924) …. Craig Spaulding
Man Without a Heart, The (1924) …. Rufus Asher
Virgin, The (1924) …. David Kent
Poisoned Paradise (1924) …. Hugh Kildair/Gilbert Kildair

Ken Harlan

Kenneth Harlan as Cowboy – All Male

East Side – West Side (1923) …. Duncan Van Norman
Girl Who Came Back, The (1923)
April Showers (1923) …. Danny O’Rourke
Virginian, The (1923) …. The Virginian
Broken Wing, The (1923) …. Philip Marvin
Man’s Man, A (1923) …. Billy Geary
Temporary Marriage (1923) …. Robert Belmar
Little Church Around the Corner (1923) …. David Graham
Beautiful and the Damned, The (1922) …. Anthony
Thorns and Orange Blossoms (1922) …. Alan Randolph
Toll of the Sea, The (1922) …. Allen Carver
World’s a Stage, The (1922) …. Wallace Foster
Married Flapper, The (1922) …. Bill Billings
I Am the Law (1922) …. Cpl. Bob Fitzgerald
Primitive Lover, The (1922) …. Donald Wales
Polly of the Follies (1922) …. Bob Jones
Received Payment (1922) …. Cary Grant
Nobody (1921) …. Tom Smith
Dawn of the East (1921) …. Roger Strong
Woman’s Place (1921) …. Jim Bradley
Barricade, The (1921) …. Robert Brennon
Lessons in Love (1921) …. John Warren
Mama’s Affair (1921) …. Dr. Harmon
Dangerous Business (1920) …. Clarence Brooks
Love, Honor and Obey (1920/I) …. Stuart Emmett
Going Some (1920) …. Donald Keap
Penalty, The (1920/I) …. Wilmot
Dollars and Sense (1920)
Trembling Hour, The (1919) …. Major Ralph Dunstan

Kenneth Harlan and Mary Pickford

Kenneth Harlan and Mary Pickford in “The Hoodlum” (1919)

Hoodlum, The (1919) …. William Turner
… aka Ragamuffin, The (1919) (UK)
Microbe, The (1919) …. DeWitt Spense
Law That Divides, The (1918) …. Howard Murray
Bread (1918/I) …. Dick Frothingham
Her Body in Bond (1918) …. Joe Blondin
… aka Heart of an Actress, The (1918) (UK)
Midnight Madness (1918) …. Prentice Tiller
Model’s Confession, A (1918) …. Billy Ravensworth
… aka Model’s Confession, The (1918)
Marriage Lie, The (1918) …. Douglas Seward
Wine Girl, The (1918) …. Frank Harris
Wife He Bought, The (1918) …. Steele Valiant
Man’s Man, A (1918) …. Billy Geary
My Unmarried Wife (1918) …. Phillip Smith
Lash of Power, The (1917) …. John Rand
… aka Lust of Power, The (1917) (USA)
Price of a Good Time, The (1917) …. Preston Winfield
Flame of the Yukon, The (1917) …. George Fowler
Cheerful Givers (1917) …. Horace Gray
Betsy’s Burglar (1917) …. Harry Brent

To learn more about Kenneth Harlan visit his profile on The Internet Movie Database

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