Rod La Rocque (1898-1969)

Rod La Rocque - Silent Film Actor

One of my favorite silent movie stars, Rod La Rocque (christened Roderick La Rocque de la Rour – whew!) was born on November 20th, 1898 in Chicago, Illinois, and he caught the acting bug early. He started performing in vaudeville while still a teen, and by his twenties was signed up with Triangle and Essanay Studios, doing bit parts. His good looks, height (he was 6 ft. 3 inches tall), and vitality all served him well, and helped him get noticed. Rod got his big break when he was hired by Cecil B. DeMille to star in his epic “The Ten Commandments” (1923). He contracted with Famous Players-Lasky for several years, and then free-lanced. He was adept at different roles, including dramas and comedies and swashbucklers. (Don’t miss the 1926 film “The Cruise of the Jasper B” for some hysterical examples of his comedic talents; it will have you gasping with laughter). In 1925 Rod met, and in 1927 married, silent screen star and actress Vilma Banky, in a huge, publicity-filled wedding, planned by Sam Goldwyn. It was a successful marriage that lasted till Rod’s death. Rod had made the transition to sound smoothly. By 1941 he made his last picture, the classic “Meet John Doe”, with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Rod La Rocque died October 15th, 1969. Rod was a formidable talent, and should be better remembered than he is today. Thankfully enough of his films survive to help us get a good look at that talent. ~ Copyright © 2004

Vintage Bio from “Stars Of The Photoplay” (1930): “Satisfied that he wished to be an actor long before he was out of school, Rod La Rocque alternated between the stage and the classroom. Later he divided his time between the stage and the motion picture studios, creating many roles that will long be remembered. His first starring vehicle was “The Coming Of Amos,” a Cecil B. DeMille picture. Rod La Rocque was born in Chicago, November 29, 1898, is 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 181, has brown hair and black eyes. He was married to Vilma Banky in 1927.”

Vintage Bio from “Who’s Who On The Screen” (1920): “Rod La Rocque comes quite close to being one of the most popular screen players. Since his early screen work with Essanay, which was preceded by several years experience on the stage, he has come rapidly to the front as one of the few players who has been able to overcome the all too frequent handicap of type and adapt himself to any kind of part he may choose to play. During the past year, Mr. La Rocque has appeared in several pictures, which have been distinct personal successes for him. Among these may be included Marguerite Clarks Easy To Get, Constance Binneys The Stolen Kiss, and Vitagraphs The Garter Girl. Burton King has recently completed two productions, The Common Sin, and The Discarded Woman, in both of which Mr. La Rocque was featured.”

Rod La Rocque’s Silent Films

Our Modern Maidens (1929) …. Glenn Abbott
Love Over Night (1928) …. Richard Hill
Show People (1928) (uncredited) …. Cameo appearance
Captain Swagger (1928) …. Captain Swagger/Hugh Drummond>
Hold ‘Em Yale (1928) …. Jaime Emmanuel Alvarado Montez
… aka At Yale (1928)
Stand and Deliver (1928) …. Roger Norman

Rod La Rocque displays his comedic talents

Rod La Rocque admires his friend the monk

Fighting Eagle, The (1927) …. Etienne Gerard
Resurrection (1927) …. Prince Dimitry Ivanitch Nekhludov
Gigolo (1926) …. Gideon Gory
Cruise of the Jasper B, The (1926) …. Jerry Cleggett
Bachelor Brides (1926) …. Percy Ashfield
Red Dice (1926) …. Alan Beckwith
Braveheart (1925) …. Braveheart
Wild, Wild Susan (1925) …. Tod Waterbury
Coming of Amos, The (1925) …. Amos Burden
Night Life of New York (1925) …. Ronald Bentley
Golden Bed, The (1925) …. Admah Holtz
Code of the Sea (1924) …. Bruce McDow
Forbidden Paradise (1924) …. Capt. Alexei Czerny
Feet of Clay (1924) …. Kerry Harlan
Triumph (1924) …. King Garnet
Society Scandal, A (1924) …. Daniel Farr
Phantom Justice (1924) …. Kingsley
Don’t Call It Love (1924) …. Patrick Delaney
French Doll, The (1923)
Ten Commandments, The (1923) …. Dan McTavish, her son
Jazzmania (1923) …. Jerry Langdon
Challenge, The (1922/II) …. Stanley Roberts
Notoriety (1922) …. Arthur Beal
Slim Shoulders (1922) …. Richard Langden
Woman’s Woman, A (1922) …. Dean Laddbarry
What’s Wrong with the Women? (1922) …. Jack Lee
Suspicious Wives (1921) …. Bob Standing
Paying the Piper (1921) …. Larry Grahame
Discarded Woman, The (1920)
Thimble, Thimble (1920)
Life (1920) …. Tom Burnett
Common Sin, The (1920) …. Hugh Stanton
… aka For Your Daughter’s Sake (1922) (USA: reissue title)
Garter Girl, The (1920) …. Arthur Lyle
Stolen Kiss, The (1920) (as Rodney La Rocque) …. Dudley Hamilt
Easy to Get (1920) (as Rodney LaRocque) …. Dick Elliott

Rod La Rocque and Vilma Banky, husband and wife

Vilma Banky and Rod La Rocque, Married Silent Stars

Married Lovebirds for Forty-Two Years: Rod La Rocque and Vilma Banky.
Proof positive that Hollywood can once in a blue moon produce a marriage that lasts.

Philistine in Bohemia, A (1920)
Miss Crusoe (1919) …. Harold Vance
Trap, The (1919/I) …. Blackmailer
… aka Woman’s Law, A (1919) (UK)
Love and the Woman (1919) …. Walter Pemberton
Perfect Lady, A (1918) (as Bob La Rock) …. Bob Griswold
Perfect 36, A (1918) …. O.P. Dildock
Hidden Fires (1918) …. George Landis
Money Mad (1918) …. William Gavin Jr.
Venus Model, The (1918) …. Paul Braddock
Let’s Get a Divorce (1918) …. Chauffeur
Ruggles of Red Gap (1918) …. Belknap Jackson
Uneasy Money (1918) …. Johnny Gates
Sadie Goes to Heaven (1917) …. Coal Heaver
Dream Doll, The (1917) …. Her Sweetheart
Fable of the Uplifter and His Dandy Little Opus, The (1917)
Fable of the Back-Trackers from the Hot Sidewalks, The (1917)
Fable of the Girl Who Took Notes and Got Wise and Then Fell Down, The (1917)
Fable of All That Triangle Stuff As Sized Up by the Meal Ticket, The (1917)
Fable of the Film Fed Family, The (1917)
Fable of the Speedy Sprite, The (1917) (as Rodney La Rocque)
Fable of What Transpires After the Wind-Up, The (1917) (as Rodney La Rocque)
Fable of the Twelve-Cylinder Speed of the Leisure Class, The (1917) (as Rodney La Rocque)
Fable of the Wandering Boy and the Wayward Parents, The (1917) (as Rodney La Rocque)
Efficiency Edgar’s Courtship (1917) (as Rodney La Rock) …. Wimple
Filling His Own Shoes (1917) (as Roderick La Rock) …. Dick Downing
Sundaying in Fairview (1917)
Alster Case, The (1915) (as Roderick LaRocque) …. Allen Longstreet
Showman, The (1914)

To learn more about Rod La Rocque visit his profile on The Internet Movie Database


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