Fred Warren (1880-1940) started out in a song and dance act in vaudeville with his wife Effie Conley-Warren around the turn of the last century. The fact that the Rock Island, Illinois native was related by marriage to producer and studio executive Maxwell Karger gave him a leg up on movie employment starting in 1916. Warren got his biggest parts in silent days. For example, he’s fourth-billed as Reverend Tubbs in Douglas Fairbanks’ The Matrimoniac (1916). He has named parts in the ensembles of both screen versions of David Belasco’s The Girl of the Golden West, silent (1923) and talkie (1930). He often played piano players or carnival barkers/spielers/talkers. You can see him tickling the ivories in The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1924), The Johnstown Flood (1924), The Jazz Singer (1927), The Noose (1928), In Old Arizona (1928), the Charley Chase short Crazy Feet (1929), The Miracle Woman (1931), The Painted Woman (1932), Bolero (1934), The Phantom Rider (1936), Come and Get It (1936), High Wide and Handsome (1937), The Great Victor Herbert (1939) and the Marx Brothers’ Go West (1940). Movies in which he plays a circus or carnival talker include Miss Nobody (1926), Hypnotized (1932), and Kid Millions (1934). Ironically in The Spieler (1928) he plays The Baker. He’s also in Three’s a Crowd (1927) by Harry Langdon and some of Mack Sennett’s last films, including the aforementioned Hypnotized, as well as A Wrestler’s Bride (1933) with Eddie Gribbon, and Too Many Highballs (1933) with Lloyd Hamilton. Go West was his last film. In all Fred Warren appeared in 71 movies.
To learn more about vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic film comedy, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.
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