Robert Edeson: The Call of the Screen


Today is the birthday of Robert Edeson (1868-1931). Born in New Orleans, Edeson was a second generation thespian, his father being the actor George E. Edeson. The younger Edeson made his professional debut at the age of nine at the Park Theatre in Brooklyn. By 1896 he was on Broadway, where he was star in over two dozen dramatic productions through 1931.

Edeson also toured vaudeville in dramatic sketches, and when the Palace opened in 1913, Edeson was one of the first acts booked there (August, 1914).

In 1912, he began appearing in short films for Thomas Ince, and insomuch as his name is remembered today it is usually in the context of his successful movie career. In 1914 he reprised one of his great stage roles from The Call of the North for Cecil B. De Mille (Edeson had not only starred in but directed the original Broadway version in 1908). Edeson was in dozens of films through the end of the silent era, and into the earliest days of talkies. Notable among them: two more De Mille films, the original The Ten Commandments (1923) and King of Kings (1927).

To learn more about vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.



  1. Trav, I just finished a blog on the original Harrison Ford. Robert was responsible for getting him started on his long productive career on stage and in the silents. Harrison was married to another big stage star, Beatrice Prentice. I cover both Harrison and Beatrice in this one, so you get a two-fer! Robert is mentioned in it and I’ve linked his name to this page.


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