21 July, 2008

Warner Baxter


Warner Leroy Baxter was an American Academy Award–winning actor who is best known for his role as The Cisco Kid in In Old Arizona.

Baxter was born in Columbus, Ohio, and moved to San Francisco, California with his widowed mother in 1898, when he was nine. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, he and his family lived in a tent for two weeks. By 1910 Baxter was in vaudeville, and from there began acting on the stage.

Baxter began as an extra in 1918 and quickly rose to become a star. He had his first starring role in 1921, in a film called Sheltered Daughters and he quickly became one of the most popular actors of the decade. He starred in forty-eight features during the 1920s. His most famous starring role was as the Cisco Kid in In Old Arizona (1929), the first all-talking western, for which he won the second Academy Award for Best Actor. He also starred in Grand Canary (1934), Broadway Bill (1934) and in Kidnapped (1938).

By 1936, Baxter was the highest paid actor in Hollywood, but by 1943, he had slipped to B-movie roles, and he starred in a series of Crime Doctor films for Columbia Pictures. Baxter made over a hundred films between 1914 and 1950. He was married to actress Winifred Bryson from 1918 to his death.

Suffering the pain of arthritis, Baxter had an ill-advised lobotomy to ease the pain. He died shortly after of pneumonia and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

He died on May 7, 1951.

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