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Lowell Sherman

Biography: 

(1885-1934)

Scion of a multi-generational theater family, Lowell Sherman throughout the course of an eventful life in the performing arts directed successful movies (Mae West's "She Done Him Wrong" and Katherine Hepburn's "Morning Glory"), acted capably on screen ("Commuter" and "General Crack"), aggravated three wives (marrying and divorcing Evelyn Booth, Pauline Garon, and Helene Costello), defended a boon friend (testifying on behalf of Fatty Arbuckle in the infamous trial), impersonated a convincing western hero twice ("Girl of the Golden West" and "The Heart of Wetona"), held his own playing against the most volcanic actress of the early 20th century (Nance O'Neil), and juggled a dual stage and screen career for two decades.

Born in San Francisco in 1885, he was educated in the public schools of New York. He secured his first roles as member of a stock company in Baltimore before returning to New York City. Mrs. Leslie Carter intervened to get him his first role, in 1904's "Judith of Bethulia" with Nance O'Neil as Judith.

Sherman's dark hair, straight-lined mouth, and beetling brow conveyed a certain seriousness of expression. His timing in dialogue was impeccable. When he went to Hollywood, he was the first to wear a monocle, and when it caught on, he ceased. He understood the cruelty of the acting profession and as a director employed multitudes of old stars in his movies. He served high tea on the set daily, though he didn't drink the beverage. David S. Shields/ALS