Harold Lockwood: Died in the Spanish Flu

The name Harold Lockwood (1887-1918) might well be better remembered if the silent movie star’s life hadn’t been cruelly cut down at age 31.

Originally from Newark, Lockwood started out acting and performing in vaudeville, breaking in to the movies by 1911. His first film was Edwin S. Porter’s The White Red Man (1911). He starred in over 135 films over the next 7 years, most of them westerns, for such studios as Centaur, Selig Polyscope, and Famous Players (the precursor to Paramount). His costars included Mary Pickford and Dorothy Davenport. One of his last films, Broadway Bill (1918) costarred the equally ill-fated Martha Mansfield. For two dozen films Lockwood was paired with May Allison, starting with David Harum (1915), directed by Allan Dwan. They became one of the American cinema’s first popular screen couples.

This all ended in August 1918 when Lockwood succumbed to the Spanish Influenza in New York’s Hotel Woodward. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. His final film Shadows of Suspicion was released posthumously in 1919, with some of the long shots and reversed angles “Shemped” with a double. Allison’s career went into decline after Lockwood’s passing. His son, Harold Lockwood, Jr. became a bit player.

To learn more about vaudeville history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.