Hale Hamilton: The Original Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford

Topeka-born Hale Hamilton (1880-1942) was said to have studied for the law before going on the stage in his native Kansas. His Broadway career began in 1901 with Don Caesar’s Return with Wilton Lackaye, and continued with another 20 productions including Channing Pollock’s adaptation of Frank Norris’s The Pit (1904) with Lackaye and Douglas Fairbanks; The Easterners (1908), with Henry Bergman, Nat C. Goodwin, Wallace McCutcheon; George M. Cohan’s Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford (1910) (as the title character, his biggest stage hit); and Dear Me (1921), which Hamilton not only starred in but also wrote.

Hamilton’s 81 films included the Keystone short Her Painted Hero (1915) with Polly Moran, Charlie Murray, and Slim Summerville; the original version of The Great Gatsby (1926) (he played Tom);  The Telephone Girl (1927) with Madge BellamyThe New Adventures of Get-Rich-Quick-Wallingford (1931); Dance, Fools, Dance (1931) with Joan Crawford, Cliff Edwards, William Holden and Clark Gable; the well known classics The Champ (1931); The Most Dangerous Game (1932); Three on a Match (1932), I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932); and Dante’s Inferno (1935); and several Wheeler and Woolsey comedies: Oh! Oh! Cleopatra (1931), Hold ’em Yale (1935) and The Nitwits (1935). After 1935 he only has two two addition credits, bits parts in The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938) and Edison, the Man (1940).

Hamilton was married to three different actresses: Jane Oaker (1901-12), Myrtle Tannehill (1912-20); and Grace La Rue (1920-his death).