Fritz Leiber, Sr.

Fritz Reuter Leiber Sr. (January 31, 1882 – October 14, 1949), was an was a American actor (of German extraction). Highly respected as a Shakespearean actor on stage, he also had a successful career in film. He was the father of noted science fiction and fantasy writer Fritz Leiber, Jr., who was also an actor for a time. Born in Chicago, Fritz Sr was based there for most of his pre-Hollywood career. He married Virginia Bronson, who like him was a Shakespearian performer. Leiber died from a heart attack at the age of 67. Leiber and his wife spent much of their time touring in a Shakespearian acting company, known by the 1930s as Fritz Leiber & Co. Leiber made his film bow in 1916, playing Mercutio in the Francis X. Bushman version of Romeo and Juliet. With his piercing eyes and shock of white hair, Leiber seemed every inch the priests, professors, musical professors and religious fanatics that he was frequently called upon to play in films. His many silent-era portrayals included Caesar in Theda Bara's 1917 Cleopatra and Solomon in the mammoth 1921 Betty Blythe vehicle The Queen of Sheba. He thrived as a character actor in talkies, usually in historical roles.


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