Eddie Borden (Edgar Mason Borden, 1888-1955) hailed from small town Waynesville, Ohio, and made his way into vaudeville. For a time in the late teens and early 20s he was teamed up in an “English” comedy act with a man named “Sir” James Dwyer. Fred Allen recounts memories of the act in his book Much Ado About Me. In 1921, Borden and Dwyer were driving in Culver City when they accidentally struck and killed an actress named Margaret Cassidy. Borden was charged with manslaughter, and Eva Tanguay, plainly an old vaudeville friend, put up his bail. Borden was acquitted. He began his movie career the following year.
Borden actually stars in the 1925 Hal Roach silent comedy Hold Everything with Josephine Dunn. He’s in Battling Butler (1926) with Buster Keaton, Show Girl (1928) with Alice White, Monkey Business (1931) with Marx Brothers, I’m No Angel (1933) and Belle of the Nineties (1934) with Mae West, Flying Down to Rio (1933) with Fred and Ginger, March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) with Laurel and Hardy, and about 150 other films. By the late ’30s he was essentially an extra. His last film was the 1952 Bob Hope comedy Off Limits, with Mickey Rooney and Marilyn Maxwell.
To learn more about vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube
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