Wilfred LucasWilfred Lucas

He was an actor, writer, director, producer, singer, noted wit and raconteur, born in Ontario, Canada in 1871. After graduating from McGill University he began a successful career as a classical actor on the stage. In 1908 he became caught up in the excitement of the newly formed film industry and left for the United States to work in the “flickers,” as the silent films were called. His first US role was the title character in  Ingomar the Barbarian, but he followed that up with work more in keeping with his stage training,  Petruchio in  The Taming of the Shrew and  McDuff in  Macbeth. While Lucas is perhaps best known for two classic Laurel and Hardy comedy roles,  The Warden in  Pardon Us and   Dean Williams in  A Chump at Oxford, he had a long and varied career, acting in nearly 400 films ranging from melodrama to farce.

In 1917 he married screenwriter and actress Bess Meredyth with whom he would co-write and co-direct several films, including  The Romance of Tarzan starring Elmo Lincoln, and the first full-length film ever shot in Australia,  The Man From Kangaroo. Their son John Meredyth Lucas was born in 1919. Although the marriage did not last many years, Wilfred and Bess remained on good terms, and Bess’s new husband, director Michael Curtiz, considered “Luke” his good-luck charm and hired him on almost every picture.

Wilfred Lucas died in Los Angeles in 1940.

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