When Men Were Men #2
(An Autographed Who's Who of the Screen, 1930)
"I was born in Richmond, Surrey, England, in 1891. When I was sixteen my father died and I got a job as office boy for the British Steamship Company in London at a salary of $2.50 a week. I became bookkeeper and junior accountant for the firm. At school I had played in amateur theatricals and now I continued with the Bancroft Amateur Dramatic Society. At the same time, for exercise and diversion, I enlisted in the London Scottish Regiment. I belonged to this regiment until 1913 and promptly rejoined it when war broke out the following year. I was a private soldier in Kitchener's "Contemptibles" the first hundred thousand of England's army to land in France. At Messines a shell struck, there was an explosion, I stumbled and fractured my ankle. I was discharged by the medical board, having failed to get back into action in the other branches of the army. In 1920 I came to New York to look for work, arriving there with exactly $37 in my pocket. I lived in a furnished room and was down to my last dollar when I got a part in support of Robert Warwick in "The Dauntless Three." After a few years of New York stage life, Henry King offered me the leading male role in "The White Sister," starring Lillian Gish. Then Samuel Goldwyn offered me a long term contract, and I definitely cast my fate with moving pictures."