Fairbanks Jr, Douglas Elton
Douglas Elton Fairbanks, Jr.,(December 9, 1909 – May 7, 2000) was an American actor and a highly decorated naval officer of World War II. Inscribed Photograph, n.d. - 3 1/2 x 6 B/W - written in blk ink in the hand of the author; Photo by Valentin ,LLC. Overall, fine/very fine condition.
Fairbanks's father was one of cinema's first icons, noted for such swashbuckling adventure films as The Mark of Zorro, Robin Hood and The Thief of Bagdad. Largely on the basis of his father's name, Fairbanks, Jr. was given a contract with Paramount Pictures at age 14.
After making some undistinguished films, he took to the stage, where he impressed his father, his stepmother Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin, who encouraged him to continue with acting. He began his career during the silent film era. He initially played mainly supporting roles in a range of films featuring many of the leading female players of the day: Belle Bennett in Stella Dallas (1925), Esther Ralston in An American Venus (1926) and Pauline Starke in Women Love Diamonds (1927). In the last years of the silent period, he was upped to star billing opposite Loretta Young in several pre-Code films and Joan Crawford in Our Modern Maidens (1929).
He supported John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in A Woman of Affairs (1928). Progressing to sound, he played opposite Katharine Hepburn in her Oscar-winning role in the film Morning Glory (1933).
With Outward Bound (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), Little Caesar (1931), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), and Gunga Din (1939), his movies began to have more commercial success.
His first notable relationship was with the actress Joan Crawford, whom he began to date seriously during the filming of Our Modern Maidens. Fairbanks and Crawford married on June 3, 1929 at St. Malachy in New York City. Fairbanks was only 19, Crawford was four years older.
In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him special envoy to South America. Although celebrated as an actor, Fairbanks was commissioned a reserve officer in the United States Navy at the onset of World War II and assigned to Lord Louis Mountbatten's Commando staff in the United Kingdom.
Having witnessed (and participated in) British training and cross-channel harassment operations emphasizing the military art of deception, Fairbanks attained a depth of understanding and appreciation of military deception then unheard of in the United States Navy.
Lieutenant Fairbanks was subsequently transferred to Virginia Beach where he came under the command of Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, who was preparing U.S. Naval forces for the invasion of North Africa.
Fairbanks convinced Hewitt of the advantages of such a unit, then repeated the proposal at Hewett's behest to Admiral Ernest King, Chief of Naval Operations. King thereupon issued a secret letter on March 5, 1943 charging the Vice Chief of Naval Operations with the recruitment of 180 officers and 300 enlisted men for the Beach Jumper program.
United States Navy Beach Jumpers saw their initial action in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Throughout the remainder of the war, the Beach Jumpers conducted their hazardous, shallow-water operations throughout the Mediterranean.
Fairbanks returned to Hollywood at the conclusion of World War II, but as a confirmed Anglophile, he spent a considerable amount of his time in the United Kingdom, where he was well known in the highest social circles. He was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1949.
In 1961, he was a guest at the wedding of Katharine Worsley with Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
Death and legacy:
On May 7, 2000, Fairbanks died at the age of 90 of a heart attack and was interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, in the same crypt as his father.
Fairbanks has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for motion pictures at 6318 Hollywood Boulevard, one for television at 6665 Hollywood Boulevard and one for radio at 6710 Hollywood Boulevard. In 1969 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Best Dressed List.