Shop by the Stars aisle featuring Richard Dix (1893-1949) vintage movie cards, still photos, ephemera, and other collectibles.
Born Ernest Carlton Brimmer in St. Paul, MN, he took his stage name from a lifeguard friend who died on the job. Richard Dix was performing with stock companies in his late teens and had his Broadway debut in The Hawk (1914) at the Shubert. While on the coast with Oliver Morosco’s Los Angeles stock company he made his film debut in the Metro five-reeler One of Many (1917). A subsequent screen test was such a flop that he returned to the stage for another few years before becoming a full-time movie actor in 1921. The Christian (1923) was a breakthrough title, and The Ten Commandments (1923) for director Cecil B. DeMille a strong follow-up, while his most famous silent role came in The Vanishing American (1925). His first few talkies are a bit stilted, Seven Keys to Baldpate (1929) probably the best of this earliest crop, but Dix can be counted among the major silent screen stars who made a successful transition to talking films. He signed with RKO in 1929, and soon had his biggest hit in the Academy Award winning Best Picture Cimarron (1931), a title that also accounted for Dix's only Oscar nomination for acting. During this period at RKO, Dix starred in a number of his best films, often overlooked titles such as The Lost Squadron (1932), Hell’s Highway (1932), The Conquerors (1932), Ace of Aces (1933—my favorite!), Stingaree (1934) and His Greatest Gamble (1934). He went to London to star in Transatlantic Tunnel (1935), returned to Hollywood and appeared in interesting titles such as It Happened in Hollywood (1937), Sky Giant (1938), Man of Conquest (1939), and Reno (1939). But it was The Ghost Ship (1943), produced by Val Lewton at RKO, that introduced moviegoers to a darker version of the usually heroic Dix, one who went on to play in the first seven of eight Whistler-series entries at Columbia beginning with The Whistler (1944). These turned out to be Dix's seven final films, a career capped by The Thirteenth Hour (1947), before his health took him from the screen. Multiple heart attacks led to a cardiac collapse that claimed his life at age 56.
Birthday: July 18