George Nichols (1864-1927, sometimes billed as George O. Nicholls) was both an actor and director during the silent years, known chiefly today for his years at Keystone (1913-1915), for having directed several of Chaplin’s earliest films (including A Film Johnnie; Cruel, Cruel Love; His Favorite Pastime and The Star Boarder) and for playing Mabel Normand’s father in several of her features (Mickey, Suzanna, Molly O and The Extra Girl). Chaplin’s run-ins with Normand and Nichols in his early months at Keystone nearly resulted in his dismissal.
A stage actor since the 1890s, he joined Biograph around the same time as Griffith and Sennett (1908), and was to become Griffith’s assistant for three years. He also directed at Lubin, L-KO, and Griffith’s Majestic (Triangle). By 1916, he was no longer directing, although he continued to act in pictures right up until his death.
For more in silent and slapstick comedy please see 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