Robert “Bobby” Harron (1893-1920)

Robert Harron, Silent Film Star

Popular silent film actor Robert Harron was born Robert Emmett Harron on April 12th, 1893, in New York City, to a poor Irish Catholic family; the second oldest of nine children. At age fourteen he had to leave school to find work, to help support his struggling family. He became a messenger boy and then cutting room film editor for Biograph Studios, and then began to play bit parts in films to supplement his income. His good looks and quiet sensitivity were soon noticed by director D.W. Griffith and Bobby was given choice roles in some of his early features, including “Judith of Bethulia” (1914) with Blanche Sweet, “The Birth of a Nation” (1915), “Intolerance” (1916), “Hearts of the World” (1918), and “True Heart Susie” (1919) with frequent co-star Lillian Gish. He also worked briefly for other studios, including First National and Metro. He was not married, but dated Dorothy Gish, Lillian’s sister, for a time.

At the height of his popularity, Bobby broke with Griffith and began forming his own production company. However, tragedy was to meet Mr. Harron before his first production, entitled “Coincidence”, was released. On September 1st, 1920, Bobby was in New York City for the premiere of D.W. Griffith’s epic “Way Down East” (1920). Stories vary, but he either purchased a gun from a man who needed money, or took one away from his younger brother before he left California. He put it in some trousers in his suitcase, and supposedly forgot all about it. Later in his hotel room in New York, he took the pants from a suitcase, the gun fell to the floor and discharged, the bullet striking him in the left lung. He died several hours later at the hospital, after telling police and doctors that it was a freak accident. Some people claimed that his death was suicide, that he might have been upset at being overlooked for the lead in “Way Down East” over actor Richard Barthelmess, but his friends and family did not believe he was capable of suicide since he was the major breadwinner for his family, and officially Bobby’s death was listed as an accident. He was 27 years old when he died, and a wonderful, talented actor was lost to the world. ~ Copyright © 2004

Vintage Bio from “Who’s Who On The Screen” (1920): “‘Bobby’ Harron was born in New York City. Leaving school when but fourteen years of age, he went to work as an errand boy in the old Biograph studios, earning just five dollars a week. D.W. Griffith, just then starting his career, found Bobby exceptionally bright and gave him a tryout before the cameras. Mr. Harron’s screen instinct was quickly recognized and Mr. Griffith, after putting him through a course of intensive training, gave him his start with small parts. The first role that brought him into national prominence was that of the young Southern boy in ‘The Birth Of A Nation.’ His success established him firmly in public favor which grew with every production in which he has since appeared. Mr. Harron is now starred by Metro and is at the head of his own producing unit.”

Robert Harron’s Silent Films

Coincidence (1921) …. Billy Jenks
Greatest Question, The (1919) …. Jimmie Hilton
… aka Idol Dancer (1919) (USA)
… aka Love Flower (1919) (USA)
Mother and the Law, The (1919) …. The Boy

Robert Harron and Lillian Gish in True Heart Susie (1919)

Bobby Harron as the boy tries to kiss Susie (Lillian Gish)
his neighbor in “True Heart Susie” (1919)

True Heart Susie (1919) …. William Jenkins
Girl Who Stayed at Home, The (1919) …. James Grey
Romance of Happy Valley, A (1919) …. John L. Logan Jr
Greatest Thing in Life, The (1918) …. Edward Livingston
Great Love, The (1918) …. Jim Young
Hearts of the World (1918) (uncredited) …. The Boy, Douglas Gordon Hamilton
Sunshine Alley (1917) …. Ned Morris
Old Fashioned Young Man, An (1917) …. Frank Trent
Bad Boy, The (1917) …. Jimmie Bates
… aka Bad Boys (1917) (USA)
Wharf Rat, The (1916) …. Eddie Douglas
Little Liar, The (1916) …. Bobby
Intolerance (1916) …. The Boy

Robert Harron, D.W. Griffith Feature Silent Player

Robert Harron in his early days as a feature player for D.W. Griffith

Marriage of Molly-O, The (1916) …. Larry O’Dea
Wild Girl of the Sierras, A (1916) …. Bob Jordan
… aka Child of Nature, A (1916)
Child of the Paris Streets, A (1916) …. Jimmie Parker
… aka Child of Paris, A (1916)
Hoodoo Ann (1916) …. Jimmie Vance
Missing Links, The (1916) …. Henry Gaylord
Big Jim’s Heart (1915)
Her Shattered Idol (1915) …. Robert
Victim, The (1915) …. Frank Hastings
Outlaw’s Revenge, The (1915) …. The American lover
Outcast, The (1915) …. Bob

Robert Harron in his early days - Golden Silents

Birth of a Nation, The (1915) …. Tod Stoneman
… aka Birth of the Nation; Or The Clansman, The (1915) (second copyright title)
… aka Clansman, The (1915) (USA: Los Angeles première title)
… aka In the Clutches of the Ku Klux Klan (1916) (USA: shorter version)
Down by the Sounding Sea (1914)
For Those Unborn (1914)
Lesson in Mechanics, A (1914)
Moonshine Molly (1914)
Newer Woman, The (1914)
Rebellion of Kitty Belle, The (1914)
Sands of Fate (1914)
Their First Acquaintance (1914)
Odalisque, The (1914) …. Ed, in love with Annie
Avenging Conscience; Thou Shalt Not Kill, The (1914) …. The Grocer’s boy
… aka Telltale Heart, The (1914) (USA: first title)
… aka Thou Shalt Not Kill (1914)
Escape, The (1914) …. Larry Joyce
Home, Sweet Home (1914) …. The Eastener
Great Leap: Until Death Do Us Part, The (1914) …. Bobby Dawson
Brute Force (1914) …. Harry Faulkner (Prologue)/Weakhands (The Old Days)
… aka In Prehistoric Days (1914)
… aka Primitive Man, The (1914) (USA)
… aka Wars of the Primal Tribes (1914)
Battle of the Sexes, The (1914) …. John Andrews, the son
Battle at Elderbush Gulch, The (1914) …. The father
… aka Battle of Elderbush Gulch, The (1914)
Judith of Bethulia (1914) …. Nathan
… aka Her Condoned Sin (1914) (USA)
Primitive Man: A Psychological Comedy Founded on Darwin’s Theory of the Genesis of Man (1913) …. Weakhands
… aka Primitive Man (1913) (USA: short title)
In the Elemental World (1913) …. The Young Hunter
Blue or the Gray, The (1913) …. The Southern Boy
By Man’s Law (1913) …. Young Boy
Girl Across the Way, The (1913) …. The Boy
Influence of the Unknown (1913) …. The Young Woman’s Sweetheart
Unjust Suspicion, An (1913) …. On Beach
Adopted Brother, The (1913) …. The Adopted Brother
Coming of Angelo, The (1913)
Reformers; or, The Lost Art of Minding One’s Business, The (1913) …. The Son
… aka Lost Art of Minding One’s Business, The (1913)
… aka Reformers, The (1913) (USA: short title)
Sorrowful Shore, The (1913) …. One of the Son’s Friends
Her Mother’s Oath (1913) …. Medicine Show Patron/In Church/Messenger
Death’s Marathon (1913) …. The Messenger
Timely Interception, A (1913) …. The Farmer’s Adopted Son
His Mother’s Son (1913) …. The Orphan
Yaqui Cur, The (1913) …. Strongheart, a Yaqui Youth
House of Darkness, The (1913) …. Asylum Guard
Lady and the Mouse, The (1913) …. The Young Friend
Misunderstood Boy, A (1913) …. The Son
Little Tease, The (1913) …. Jim
Perfidy of Mary, The (1913) …. Boy Who Gives Directions
Sheriff’s Baby, The (1913) …. The Deputy
Fate (1913) …. The Beloved Son
Near to Earth (1913) …. Gato’s Brother
Broken Ways (1913) …. In Telegraph Office
Love in an Apartment Hotel (1913) …. The Desk Clerk
Massacre, The (1913) …. In Cavalry
Oil and Water (1913)
Brothers (1913) …. The Father’s Favorite Son
Misappropriated Turkey, A (1913) …. Union Member
Tender Hearted Boy, The (1913) …. The Tender-Hearted Boy
Cry for Help, A (1912) …. Witnes to Accident
Burglar’s Dilemma, The (1912) …. Young Burglar
My Hero (1912) …. The Young Man
New York Hat, The (1912) …. Youth outside church
Brutality (1912)
Sailor’s Heart, A (1912) (unconfirmed) …. On Porch
Informer, The (1912)
Heredity (1912) …. Indian
Musketeers of Pig Alley, The (1912) …. Rival Gang Member/In Alley/At Dance
Painted Lady, The (1912) …. Beau at Ice Cream Festival
Feud in the Kentucky Hills, A (1912) …. A Brother
So Near, Yet So Far (1912) …. The Rival/In Club
Friends (1912) …. Stableboy
Two Daughters of Eve (1912) …. At Stage Door
Unseen Enemy, An (1912) …. The Boy
Pueblo Legend, A (1912) …. The Great Brother’s Friend
Change of Spirit, A (1912) …. Young Man on Street
Inner Circle, The (1912) …. In Crowd/Accident Witness
Child’s Remorse, A (1912) …. Boatman
Sands of Dee, The (1912) …. Bobby
Man’s Genesis (1912) …. Weakhands
… aka Man’s Genesis: A Psychological Comedy Founded on Darwin’s Theory of the Genesis of Man (1912) (USA: complete title)
Man’s Lust for Gold (1912) …. The Prospector’s Son
School Teacher and the Waif, The (1912) …. Schoolboy
Temporary Truce, A (1912) …. The Murdered Indian’s Son
Home Folks (1912) …. The Young Woman’s Brother
Beast at Bay, A (1912) …. A Farmer
Lodging for the Night, A (1912) …. In Gambling Hall/Victim
Old Actor, The (1912) …. The Messenger
Lesser Evil, The (1912) …. In Smuggler Band
One Is Business, the Other Crime (1912) …. Delivery Boy
Just Like a Woman (1912) …. Stableboy
Fate’s Interception (1912) …. The Errand Boy
Those Hicksville Boys (1912)
Iola’s Promise (1912) …. A Settler
Girl and Her Trust, The (1912) …. Telegrapher’s Companion/Remote Station Worker
String of Pearls, A (1912) …. In Tenement
Under Burning Skies (1912) …. On Street/At Farewell Party
Billy’s Stratagem (1912) …. A Settler
Transformation of Mike, The (1912) …. At Dance
For His Son (1912) …. At Soda Fountain
Failure, The (1911) …. At Fiancée’s House/In Tavern
Miser’s Heart, The (1911) …. Bakeshop Assistant
Battle, The (1911) …. A Union soldier
Long Road, The (1911) …. Family Friend
… aka Destiny’s Roadway with Its Many Turns (1911) (USA: subtitle)
Unveiling, The (1911) …. The Boy
Her Awakening (1911) …. On Street/Accident Witness
Diving Girl, The (1911) …. The Bellboy
Last Drop of Water, The (1911) …. In Wagon Train
Country Cupid, A (1911) …. Among Students
Bobby, the Coward (1911) …. Bobby
Fighting Blood (1911) …. The Old Soldier’s Son
Primal Call, The (1911) …. On Ship
Enoch Arden: Part II (1911) …. Teenage Arden Son
White Rose of the Wilds, The (1911) …. White Rose’s Brother
… aka Story of the West, A (1911) (USA: subtitle)
Broken Cross, The (1911)
Wreath of Orange Blossoms, A (1911) …. Mover
Italian Barber, The (1911) …. Buying Newspapers
When a Man Loves (1911) …. Young Man
Winning Back His Love (1910) …. At Stage Door
Lesson, The (1910) …. Young Boy
Plain Song, A (1910) …. Storemate
Sunshine Sue (1910) …. Sweatshop Employee
Banker’s Daughters, The (1910) …. Messenger (unconfirmed)
Examination Day at School (1910)
Summer Idyll, A (1910) …. A Country Boy
Modern Prodigal, The (1910) …. At Post Office
Willful Peggy (1910)
Child’s Impulse, A (1910) …. Country Boy
In the Season of Buds (1910)
Ramona (1910)
Way of the World, The (1910) …. A Hayer
Converts, The (1910) …. Bystander
Newlyweds, The (1910) …. At Station Reception
Call, The (1910) …. Boy Passing Handbills
Her Terrible Ordeal (1910) …. At Station
To Save Her Soul (1909) …. Stagehand/Usher
In a Hempen Bag (1909) …. The Young Man
Corner in Wheat, A (1909) …. On the Floor of the Exchange
Through the Breakers (1909) …. At the Club
Sweet Revenge, A (1909) …. On the Bridge
In Old Kentucky (1909) …. Extra
Broken Locket, The (1909) …. Outside Company Office
Hessian Renegades, The (1909) …. Farmer
… aka 1776 (1909)
… aka 1776, or The Hessian Renegades (1909) (USA)
Little Darling, The (1909)
Pranks (1909) …. One of the Boys
They Would Elope (1909) …. At Stable
Message, The (1909) …. Farm Boy
Lonely Villa, The (1909)
His Duty (1909) …. One of the children on the street
Two Memories (1909)
Jones and the Lady Book Agent (1909) …. Messenger
Note in the Shoe, The (1909) …. In Store
One Busy Hour (1909) …. Customer
Tis an Ill Wind That Blows No Good (1909) …. In Crowd
Drive for Life, The (1909) …. Messenger
Troublesome Satchel, A (1909) …. In Crowd
Sound Sleeper, A (1909) …. In Fight
Trying to Get Arrested (1909) …. In Fight
Drunkard’s Reformation, A (1909) …. Theatre Usher
Burglar’s Mistake, A (1909) …. The Messenger
Salvation Army Lass, The (1909) …. In Street Crowds
His Wife’s Mother (1909) …. Busboy
At the Altar (1909) …. On Street
Hindoo Dagger, The (1909) …. Messenger
Tragic Love (1909) …. Paper Boy
Wreath in Time, A (1909) …. Messenger
Brahma Diamond, The (1909) …. Native Servant
Girls and Daddy, The (1909) …. Messenger
Those Awful Hats (1909) …. Theatre Audience
… aka Those Darn Hats (1909) (USA: video catalogue title)
Welcome Burglar, The (1909) …. Messenger
Mr. Jones Has a Card Party (1909) …. A Messenger
Helping Hand, The (1908) …. Messenger
… aka Scarlet Woman, The (1908) (USA)
Test of Friendship, The (1908) …. Man Leaving Factory
Reckoning, The (1908) …. Man in Crowd
Feud and the Turkey, The (1908) …. George Wilkinson
Valet’s Wife, The (1908) …. Valet
Clubman and the Tramp, The (1908) …. Man on Street
Song of the Shirt, The (1908) …. Stock Boy
Concealing a Burglar (1908) …. Valet
Smoked Husband, A (1908) …. Messenger
Where the Breakers Roar (1908) …. On Boardwalk
Behind the Scenes (1908) …. Messenger
… aka Behind the Scenes: Where All Is Not Gold That Glitters (1908) (USA)
Monday Morning in a Coney Island Police Court (1908) …. Young Man
… aka Coney Island Police Court (1908) (USA)
Balked at the Altar (1908)
Calamitous Elopement, A (1908) …. Bellboy
At the Crossroads of Life (1908) …. Messenger
… aka Crossroads of Life (1908)
At the French Ball (1908) (uncredited) …. Extra
Mixed Babies (1908) …. Boy in Front of Store
Thompson’s Night Out (1908) …. Sign Changer
Her First Adventure (1908) (uncredited) …. Extra in Crowd
Boy Detective, or The Abductors Foiled, The (1908) …. Swifty
Snowman, The (1908) …. A Child
Bobby’s Kodak (1908) …. Son
Professional Jealousy (1908) …. Backstage Messenger
Mr. Gay and Mrs. (1907) …. Messenger
Dr. Skinum (1907) …. Boy at Door

To learn more about Robert Harron visit his profile on The Internet Movie Database

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