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Monday, 25 July 2011

July 25th: J. Warren Kerrigan, Silent Film Star

 b. July 25th 1879. 
d. June 9th, 1947

While little known today, Kerrigan had been a very popular silent film star, appearing in films for Essanay, Biograph, and later Universal. His typical character was a leading role as a modern, well-dressed man-about town. He nearly killed his career over a glib remark about his refusal to enlist in World War I.:

In May 1917, Kerrigan was nearing the end of a four-month long personal appearance publicity tour that had taken him across the United States and into Canada. At one of the final stops, a reporter for The Denver Times asked Kerrigan if he would be joining the war. Kerrigan replied:
"I am not going to war. I will go, of course, if my country needs me, but I think that first they should take the great mass of men who aren't good for anything else, or are only good for the lower grades of work. Actors, musicians, great writers, artists of every kind--isn't it a pity when people are sacrificed who are capable of such things--of adding to the beauty of the world."

He managed to salvage his reputation in 1923 with the lead role in The Covered Wagon. That success opened the doors to five more hit films in the next year, and with that his financial security was assured. He retired from filmmaking and lived with James Vincent. his devoted partner of forty years until Kerrigan died in 1947 at the age of 67."

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