William Farnum

William Farnum

American actor
Date of Birth: 04.07.1876
Country: USA

  1. Biography of William Farnum
  2. Early Life
  3. Early Success
  4. Career
  5. Personal Life and Death

Biography of William Farnum

William Farnum was an American actor and the recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was one of the highest-paid actors in the American film industry during his time.

William Farnum

Early Life

William Farnum was born on July 4, 1876, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the younger brother of Dustin Farnum, a famous silent film actor. Another brother, Marshall Farnum, also acted in silent films but passed away in 1917. William grew up in a family of actors and made his stage debut at the age of ten in Richmond, Virginia, in the play "Julius Caesar," where he played the lead role of Edwin Booth.

William Farnum

Early Success

Farnum's first major success came with the lead role in the stage adaptation of Lew Wallace's novel "Ben-Hur" in 1900. He replaced the originally cast actor, Edward Morgan, and went on to become one of the biggest sensations in Hollywood. He earned $10,000 per week, making him one of the highest-paid actors in the American film industry at that time.

William Farnum


In addition to "Ben-Hur," Farnum starred in various other productions, including the costume epic "The Prince of India" in 1906, the plays "The White Sister" in 1909 with Viola Allen, and "The Littlest Rebel" in 1911 with his brother Dustin and Mary Miles Minter. In 1913, he, along with his brother Dustin and theater beauty Elsie Ferguson, appeared together in the play "Arizona." In the world of cinema, Farnum's notable performance was in the western film "The Spoilers" in 1914, where he engaged in a classic battle scene with actor Tom Santschi throughout the film. The final fight in the saloon was especially spectacular. Farnum and Santschi later became fight choreography experts, teaching Gary Cooper and William Boyd the art of staged fighting for the 1930 version of "The Spoilers," in which they became the main stars.

William Farnum

From 1915 to 1925, Farnum dedicated his life to the film industry. He achieved a prominent position and became one of the biggest sensations in Hollywood, earning $10,000 per week. He appeared in films such as "A Tale of Two Cities," "Les Misérables," and many others. In his later career, he could be seen in movies such as "Du Barry, Woman of Passion," "The Painted Desert," "A Connecticut Yankee," and "Cleopatra." His last films were the historical action film "Lone Star" in 1952 and the musical "Jack and the Beanstalk" in 1953.

Personal Life and Death

Farnum was married three times. His first wife was Mabel Eaton, his second wife was Olive White, and his third wife was Isabelle Major. He had a daughter named Sara Adele from his second marriage. The actor passed away on June 5, 1953, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 77.