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Robert harron

Robert "Bobby" Harron (April 12, 1893 – September 5, 1920) was an American motion picture actor of the early silent film era. Although he acted in scores of films, he is possibly best remembered for his roles in the D.W. Griffith directed films Intolerance and The Birth of a Nation. He was also the older brother of film actor John Harron and actress Mary Harron.

Early life Edit

Born Robert Emmett Harron in New York City, New York, U.S., he was second oldest child of nine siblings in a poor, working-class Irish-Catholic family. He attended the Christian Brothers school in Greenwich Village and beginning at the age of thirteen found work as a messenger boy for American Biograph Studios to help support his family. Within a year of working for Biograph, Robert Harron and Christian Brothers friend and classmate James Smith were noticed by newly hired director D.W. Griffith who put both young boys under contract and the pair began appearing in bit parts for the studio. His first film was the now lost 1907 Biograph short Bobby's Kodak. Harron quickly became a favorite of Griffith and Griffith began to give the 14-year-old increasingly larger film roles.

The teenaged Robert Harron was often cast by Griffith in the role of the "sensitive" and "naïve" boy, who was overwhelmingly sympathetic and appealing to American film-goers in the very early years of American motion pictures and not far removed from Harron's real-life persona; Harron was often described as a quiet and soft-spoken youth. It was these traits that helped garner much public interest in the young actor, especially amongst young female fans. In 1912 alone, Robert Harron appeared in nearly forty films at Biograph.

Harron is probably best recalled for his roles in the three epic Griffith films: 1914's Judith of Bethulia, opposite Blanche Sweet, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall and Dorothy and Lillian Gish, 1915's controversial all-star cast The Birth of a Nation, and 1916's colossal multi-scenario Intolerance opposite such popular stars of the era Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Miriam Cooper, Wallace Reid, Harold Lockwood, Carol Dempster and Mildred Harris. One of Harron's most popular roles of the era came in 1919 when he starred opposite Lillian Gish in the Griffith directed romantic film True Heart Susie.

Robert Harron's film career continued to flourish throughout the 1910s and he was occasionally paired with leading actresses Mae Marsh and Lillian Gish with romantic plots, often in roles that cemented his "sensitive boy" image. Harron had, in fact, a burgeoning off-screen romantic relationship with Dorothy Gish. By 1920 however, it was reported that film director D. W. Griffith's interest in the young actor had waned and when Griffith hired film actor Richard Barthelmess to star in his 1920 film Way Down East, Harron was inconsolable. On September 5, 1920, while in New York City to attend the film premiere of Way Down East, Harron fatally shot himself in the left lung in his hotel room with a revolver that he had placed in a jacket.

Supposedly the weapon was purchased during the afternoon from a street begger as Harron did not believe in just handing out money unless something was bought. That was done because he wanted people to feel as if they actually earned the funds given. The prevailing theory about the shooting is that as Harron changed jackets for the evening's event, the gun fell out of the pocket and discharged when it struck the floor.

Although the death was officially ruled accidental, many historians believe that Harron committed suicide. However, many of those closest to the actor vehemently refuted that Harron, a devout Catholic, would ever have considered suicide. While on his deathbed, Harron reportedly confided to his boyhood priest that his gunshot wound was the result of an accident.

Nevertheless, in preparation for a 1993 film festival scheduled in honor Harron's birth centennial at MOMA, Joseph P. Fanning (the organizer and main lecturer) researched and obtained copies of the death certificate/medical records. These documents showed, that despite the publicized news reports, the angle of the wound and the width of the powder burns associated could not be the result of a mere accident. Thus, even with the lack of any witnesses, the evidence clearly indicated that Harron's death was a result of suicide. The main hypothesis for the action was determined to be the result of disappointment because Griffith, a substitute father, had passed Mr. Harron over for the male starring role in Way Down East.

Robert Harron was 27 years old at the time of his death and had never married. His film career spanned nearly fifteen years and Harron had appeared in over two hundred films.

Harron was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, New York City.

FilmographyEdit

  • Coincidence (1921) .... Billy Jenks
  • The Greatest Question (1919) .... Jimmie Hilton
  • The Mother and the Law (1919) .... The Boy
  • True Heart Susie (1919) .... William Jenkins
  • The Girl Who Stayed at Home (1919) .... James Grey
  • A Romance of Happy Valley (1919) .... John L. Logan Jr
  • The Greatest Thing in Life (1918) .... Edward Livingston
  • The Great Love (1918) .... Jim Young
  • Hearts of the World (1918) (uncredited) .... The Boy, Douglas Gordon Hamilton
  • Sunshine Alley (1917) .... Ned Morris
  • An Old Fashioned Young Man (1917) .... Frank Trent
  • The Bad Boy (1917) .... Jimmie Bates
  • The Wharf Rat (1916) .... Eddie Douglas
  • The Little Liar (1916) .... Bobby
  • The Marriage of Molly-O (1916) .... Larry O'Dea
  • Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916) .... The Boy (Modern Story)
  • A Wild Girl of the Sierras (1916) .... Bob Jordan
  • A Child of the Paris Streets (1916) .... Jimmie Parker
  • Hoodoo Ann (1916) .... Jimmie Vance
  • The Missing Links (1916) .... Henry Gaylord
  • Big Jim's Heart (1915)
  • Her Shattered Idol (1915) .... Robert
  • The Victim (1915) .... Frank Hastings
  • The Outlaw's Revenge (1915) .... The American lover
  • The Outcast (1915) .... Bob
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915) .... Tod Stoneman
  • The Odalisque (1914) .... Ed, in love with Annie
  • Paid with Interest (1914)
  • Sands of Fate (1914)
  • His Mother's Trust (1914)
  • The Great God Fear (1914)
  • A Lesson in Mechanics (1914)
  • The Saving Flame (1914)
  • Moonshine Molly (1914)
  • The Avenging Conscience (1914) .... The Grocer's boy
  • The Idiot (1914)
  • Down by the Sounding Sea (1914)
  • The Weaker Strain (1914)
  • The Stolen Code (1914)
  • Their First Acquaintance (1914)
  • The Rebellion of Kitty Belle (1914)
  • The Birthday Present (1914)
  • The Newer Woman (1914)
  • The Escape (1914) .... Larry Joyce
  • Home, Sweet Home (1914) .... The Easterner, Robert Winthrop
  • The Deputy Sheriff's Star (1914)
  • The Great Leap: Until Death Do Us Part (1914) .... Bobby Dawson
  • Brute Force (1914) .... Harry Faulkner (Prologue)/Weakhands (The Old Days)
  • Apple Pie Mary (1914)
  • The Battle of the Sexes (1914) .... John Andrews, the son
  • The Smugglers of Sligo (1914)
  • Judith of Bethulia (1914) .... Nathan
  • For Those Unborn (1914)
  • The Pseudo Prodigal (1913)
  • In the Elemental World (1913) .... The Young Hunter
  • The Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1913) .... The father
  • The Blue or the Gray (1913) .... The Southern Boy
  • By Man's Law (1913) .... Young Boy
  • The Girl Across the Way (1913) .... The Boy
  • Influence of the Unknown (1913) .... The Young Woman's Sweetheart
  • An Unjust Suspicion (1913) .... On Beach
  • The Adopted Brother (1913) .... The Adopted Brother
  • The Coming of Angelo (1913)
  • The Reformers; or, The Lost Art of Minding One's Business (1913) .... The Son
  • The Sorrowful Shore (1913) .... One of the Son's Friends
  • Her Mother's Oath (1913) .... Medicine Show Patron/In Church/Messenger
  • Death's Marathon (1913) .... The Messenger
  • A Timely Interception (1913) .... The Farmer's Adopted Son
  • His Mother's Son (1913) .... The Orphan
  • The Yaqui Cur (1913) .... Strongheart, a Yaqui Youth
  • The House of Darkness (1913) .... Asylum Guard
  • The Lady and the Mouse (1913) .... The Young Friend
  • A Misunderstood Boy (1913) .... The Son
  • The Little Tease (1913) .... Jim
  • The Perfidy of Mary (1913) .... Boy Who Gives Directions
  • The Sheriff's Baby (1913) .... The Deputy
  • Fate (1913/I) .... 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
  • The Massacre (1913) .... In Cavalry
  • Oil and Water (1913)
  • Brothers (1913) .... The Father's Favorite Son
  • A Misappropriated Turkey (1913) .... Union Member
  • The Tender Hearted Boy (1913) .... The Tender-Hearted Boy
  • A Cry for Help (1912) .... Witnes to Accident
  • The Burglar's Dilemma (1912) .... Young Burglar
  • My Hero (1912) .... The Young Man
  • The New York Hat (1912) .... Youth outside church
  • Brutality (1912)
  • A Sailor's Heart (1912) (unconfirmed) .... On Porch
  • The Informer (1912)
  • Heredity (1912) .... Indian
  • The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912) .... Rival Gang Member/In Alley/At Dance
  • The Painted Lady (1912) .... Beau at Ice Cream Festival
  • A Feud in the Kentucky Hills (1912) .... A Brother
  • So Near, Yet So Far (1912) .... The Rival/In Club
  • Friends (1912) .... Stableboy
  • Two Daughters of Eve (1912) .... At Stage Door
  • An Unseen Enemy (1912) .... The Boy
  • A Pueblo Legend (1912) .... The Great Brother's Friend
  • A Change of Spirit (1912) .... Young Man on Street
  • The Inner Circle (1912) .... In Crowd/Accident Witness
  • A Child's Remorse (1912) .... Boatman
  • The Sands of Dee (1912) .... Bobby
  • Man's Genesis (1912) .... Weakhands
  • Man's Lust for Gold (1912) .... The Prospector's Son
  • The School Teacher and the Waif (1912) .... Schoolboy
  • A Temporary Truce (1912) .... The Murdered Indian's Son
  • Home Folks (1912) .... The Young Woman's Brother
  • A Beast at Bay (1912) .... A Farmer
  • A Lodging for the Night (1912) .... In Gambling Hall/Victim
  • The Old Actor (1912) .... The Messenger
  • The Lesser Evil (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
  • The Girl and Her Trust (1912) .... Telegrapher's Companion/Remote Station Worker
  • A String of Pearls (1912) .... In Tenement
  • Under Burning Skies (1912) .... On Street/At Farewell Party
  • Billy's Stratagem (1912) .... A Settler
  • The Transformation of Mike (1912) .... At Dance
  • For His Son (1912) .... At Soda Fountain
  • The Failure (1911) .... At Fiancée's House/In Tavern
  • The Miser's Heart (1911) .... Bakeshop Assistant
  • The Battle (1911) .... A Union soldier
  • The Long Road (1911) .... Family Friend
  • The Unveiling (1911) .... The Boy
  • Her Awakening (1911) .... On Street/Accident Witness
  • The Diving Girl (1911) .... The Bellboy
  • The Last Drop of Water (1911) .... In Wagon Train
  • A Country Cupid (1911) .... Among Students
  • Bobby, the Coward (1911) .... Bobby
  • Fighting Blood (1911) .... The Old Soldier's Son
  • The Primal Call (1911) .... On Ship
  • Enoch Arden: Part II (1911) .... Teenage Arden Son
  • The White Rose of the Wilds (1911) .... White Rose's Brother
  • The Broken Cross (1911)
  • A Wreath of Orange Blossoms (1911) .... Mover
  • The Italian Barber (1911) .... Buying Newspapers
  • When a Man Loves (1911) .... Young Man
  • Winning Back His Love (1910) .... At Stage Door
  • The Lesson (1910) .... Young Boy
  • A Plain Song (1910) .... Storemate
  • Sunshine Sue (1910) .... Sweatshop Employee
  • The Banker's Daughters (1910) .... Messenger (unconfirmed)
  • Examination Day at School (1910)
  • A Summer Idyll (1910) .... A Country Boy
  • The Modern Prodigal (1910) .... At Post Office
  • Wilful Peggy (1910)
  • A Child's Impulse (1910) .... Country Boy
  • In the Season of Buds (1910)
  • Ramona (1910)
  • The Way of the World (1910) .... A Hayer
  • The Converts (1910) .... Bystander
  • The Newlyweds (1910) .... At Station Reception
  • The Call (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
  • A Corner in Wheat (1909) .... On the Floor of the Exchange
  • Through the Breakers (1909) .... At the Club
  • A Sweet Revenge (1909) .... On the Bridge
  • In Old Kentucky (1909) .... Extra
  • The Broken Locket (1909) .... Outside Company Office
  • The Hessian Renegades (1909) .... Farmer
  • The Little Darling (1909)
  • Pranks (1909) .... One of the Boys
  • They Would Elope (1909) .... At Stable
  • The Message (1909) .... Farm Boy
  • The Lonely Villa (1909)
  • His Duty (1909) .... One of the children on the street
  • Two Memories (1909)
  • Jones and the Lady Book Agent (1909) .... Messenger
  • The Note in the Shoe (1909) .... In Store
  • One Busy Hour (1909) .... Customer
  • Tis an Ill Wind That Blows No Good (1909) .... In Crowd
  • The Drive for a Life (1909) .... Messenger
  • A Troublesome Satchel (1909) .... In Crowd
  • A Sound Sleeper (1909) .... In Fight
  • Trying to Get Arrested (1909) .... In Fight
  • A Drunkard's Reformation (1909) .... Theatre Usher
  • A Burglar's Mistake (1909) .... The Messenger
  • The Salvation Army Lass (1909) .... In Street Crowds
  • His Wife's Mother (1909) .... Busboy
  • At the Altar (1909) .... On Street
  • The Hindoo Dagger (1909) .... Messenger
  • Tragic Love (1909) .... Paper Boy
  • A Wreath in Time (1909) .... Messenger
  • The Brahma Diamond (1909) .... Native Servant
  • The Girls and Daddy (1909) .... Messenger
  • Those Awful Hats (1909) .... Theatre Audience
  • The Welcome Burglar (1909) .... Messenger
  • Mr. Jones Has a Card Party (1909) .... A Messenger
  • The Helping Hand (1908) .... Messenger
  • The Test of Friendship (1908) .... Man Leaving Factory
  • The Reckoning (1908) .... Man in Crowd
  • The Feud and the Turkey (1908) .... George Wilkinson
  • The Valet's Wife (1908) .... Valet
  • The Clubman and the Tramp (1908) .... Man on Street
  • The Song of the Shirt (1908) .... Stock Boy
  • Concealing a Burglar (1908) .... Valet
  • A Smoked Husband (1908) .... Messenger
  • Where the Breakers Roar (1908) .... On Boardwalk
  • Behind the Scenes (1908) .... Messenger
  • Monday Morning in a Coney Island Police Court (1908) .... Young Man
  • Balked at the Altar (1908)
  • A Calamitous Elopement (1908) .... Bellboy
  • At the Crossroads of Life (1908) .... Messenger
  • 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
  • The Boy Detective, or The Abductors Foiled (1908) .... Swifty
  • The Snowman (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

ReferencesEdit

ReferencesEdit


External links Edit

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