Today is the birthday of George Walsh (1889-1981). The younger brother of film director Raoul Walsh, he was a serious high school and college athlete (football star at Fordham and Georgetown) as even played baseball professionally for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Walsh put those athletic skills to good use as an actor in silent films, starting with 1915’s The Birth of a Nation. (Raoul who was assistant director on that film, got him the job).
A star during the silent era, he was billed as “the Screen’s Greatest Athlete” and “the Laughing Athletic Thunderbolt”. He fared less well during talkies; his last film was something called Put on the Spot (1936) by the Victory Film Corporation. He also undertook vaudeville tours in 1921 and 1928 in turns that usually consisted of screening scenes from his films and then some live commentary.
To find out more about vaudeville past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc