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Warner Baxter Overview:

Legendary actor, Warner Baxter, was born Warner Leroy Baxter on Mar 29, 1889 in Columbus, OH. Baxter died at the age of 62 on May 7, 1951 in Beverly Hills, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Glendale) Cemetery in Glendale, CA.

Early Life and Career

Warner Leroy Baxter was born on March 29th, 1889 in Columbus, Ohio. His father, Edwin, died mere months after his birth in September of 1898. Soon after Warner's mother, Jane, decided to the family to San Francisco. He lived a quiet, average life until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, when his family lost much of their material possession to the natural disaster. He and his family were forced to live in a tent in the weeks following the devastating event. Also possessing a knack for exhibition, Baxter started his life in show business in 1910 working on the vaudeville circuit.

Baxter moved back to the Midwest, and for sometime worked on the Columbus stage. Like many struggling actors, Baxter also worked as an insurance salesman during his earliest years to make ends meet. Over the next few years Baxter sharpened his craft in various stock companies through out the Midwest. By 1917 he made it to New York, where he made his Broadway debut with a small role in the play Lombardi, Ltd. The role would be his only Broadway credit for his entire career. The next year he married his second wife, Winifried Bryson, in 1918 and would remain married to her until his death.

Film Career

By 1918 Baxter had entered the film industry with uncredited appearing in films like All Woman and Her Own Money. He eventually began to get noticed and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1921 Baxter received his first credited supporting role as Pep Mullins in the silent comedy Sheltered Daughters. He continued to play lead supporting roles in films such as The Love Charm, Her Own Money, and If I were Queen. By the mid-1920 Baxter had reached the upper echelons of film-stardom. He began to appear as the leading man in a plethora of films such as The Awful Truth, Rugged Water, A Son of His Father and Mannequin. In 1926 he starred as Jay Gatsby in the first big screen adaption of the F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. It is now considered a lost film, although the film's trailer is still in existence. He continued to make a name for himself in silent films, appearing in pictures such as Drums of the Desert, The Coward and Craig's Wife.

In 1929 Baxter starred in the first all-talking, all-sound-on-film picture, In Old Arizona. In the film Baxter plays the Cisco Kid, a charming, lackadaisical bandit on the run from the local sheriff. Thanks to its advanced use of sound technology as well as Baxter's charms, the film was hit and at the first ever Academy Awards ceremony was nominated for Best Director, Best Writing, Best Cinematography and Best Picture. Baxter walked away from the ceremony as the first ever actor to win the Best Actor Academy Awards in 1929.

He remained one of Hollywood's most popular actors for next several years. Despite fact that titles such as Penthouse, Broadway Bill and The Prisoner of Shark Island are largely forgotten today, they huge hits of their times, in large thanks to Baxter's popularity. He also appeared in the 1933 hit film 42nd Street and revived his role as the Cisco Kid in the aptly titled In Old Arizona sequel to The Cisco Kid.

Fast Decline and Later Life

By 1936 Baxter was one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. This standing, however, would drastically change in the next five years. Although highly paid, his popularity as an actor was seriously waning and many of the films he acted in, such as The Road to Glory, Wife, Doctor, and Nurse, Kidnapped and I'll Give a Million, were all forgettable or simply mediocre. He scored a success in 1939 one again playing the role of The Cisco Kid in The Return of the Cisco Kids but quickly returned to mediocrity. By the mid-1940s he was working almost exclusively in the realm of B-films. In 1944 he sighed a contract with Columbia pictures to star as Dr. Robert Orday in sere sod 'The Crime Doctor" films. Between 1943 and 1949 he starred in none Dr. Ordway films including The Crime doctor's Strange Case, The Crime Doctor's Courage, Just Before Dawn and The Crime Doctors Diary. In 1950 he appeared in his final picture State Penitentiary, before retiring from the film industry and living his last year in peace. Warner Baxter died on May 7th, 1951. He was 62 years old. 

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).

HONORS and AWARDS:

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Warner Baxter was nominated for one Academy Award, winning for Best Actor for In Old Arizona (as The Cisco Kid) in 1928/29.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1928/29Best ActorIn Old Arizona (1929)The Cisco KidWon
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He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

BlogHub Articles:

Hollywood Home Tour -

By The Metzinger Sisters on Nov 14, 2013 From Silver Scenes - A Blog for Classic Film Lovers

We're off on another bus tour again! This time the Silver Scenes bus is taking us past the beautiful Tudor estate of that delectably debonair actor . With his rugged masculine face Ohio-born Baxter became a star in the early 1920s in silent pictures such as The Great Gatsby and... "Hol... Read full article


Hollywood Home Tour -

By The Metzinger Sisters on Nov 14, 2013 From Silver Scenes - A Blog for Classic Film Lovers

We're off on another bus tour again! This time the Silver Scenes bus is taking us past the beautiful Tudor estate of that delectably debonair actor . With his rugged masculine face Ohio-born Baxter became a star in the early 1920s in silent pictures such as The Great Gatsby and... "Hol... Read full article


Hollywood Home Tour -

By The Metzinger Sisters on Nov 14, 2013 From Silver Scenes - A Blog for Classic Film Lovers

We're off on another bus tour again! This time the Silver Scenes bus is taking us past the beautiful Tudor estate of that delectably debonair actor . With his rugged masculine face Ohio-born Baxter became a star in the early 1920s in silent pictures such as The Great Gatsby and... "Hol... Read full article


Hollywood Home Tour -

By The Metzinger Sisters on Nov 14, 2013 From Silver Scenes - A Blog for Classic Film Lovers

We're off on another bus tour again! This time the Silver Scenes bus is taking us past the beautiful Tudor estate of that delectably debonair actor . With his rugged masculine face Ohio-born Baxter became a star in the early 1920s in silent pictures such as The Great Gatsby and... "Hol... Read full article


Partial series review: as the ‘Crime Doctor’

By Lindsey on Oct 9, 2013 From The Motion Pictures

At the end of March*, I recorded three films from TCM:Crime Doctor, Just Before Dawn and Millerson Case. As it turns out, these films are part of a series which began with Crime Doctor. Nine sequels followed that first film, Just Before Dawn being the?seventh installment in the series ... Read full article


See all articles

Warner Baxter Quotes:

The Cisco Kid: Her flirting days are over. And she's ready to settle down.


[last lines]
Gertie Waxted: I can't marry you. I'll ruin you with all your friends. Why, I'm not even a lady.
Jackson 'Jack' Durant: You're not, huh? Well, you'll do till a lady comes along.


Julian Marsh: Sawyer, you listen to me, and you listen hard. Two hundred people, two hundred jobs, two hundred thousand dollars, five weeks of grind and blood and sweat depend upon you. It's the lives of all these people who've worked with you. You've got to go on, and you've got to give and give and give. They've got to like you. Got to. Do you understand? You can't fall down. You can't because your future's in it, my future and everything all of us have is staked on you. All right, now I'm through, but you keep your feet on the ground and your head on those shoulders of yours and go out, and Sawyer, you're going out a youngster but you've got to come back a star!


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Best Actor Oscar 1928/29






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Warner Baxter on the
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Warner Baxter Facts
Got the part of the Cisco Kid in the movie In Old Arizona (1928) due in part to veteran director Raoul Walsh's automobile accident in which he lost an eye. Walsh was set to play the Kid.

Interred at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California, USA.

Was said to have had a fear of horses.

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