William S. Hart

William Surrey Hart (December 6, 1864 – June 23, 1946) was an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He is remembered for having "imbued all of his characters with honor and integrity." Hart was born in Newburgh, New York; to James Howard Hart (1829–1902) and Katherine Diédricht Hart (1833–1909). William had 2 brothers and 4 sisters. His father was of Irish ancestry, and his mother was of German heritage. In his twenties, Hart began his acting career on stage and would not consider acting in movies until he was 49 years of age. He toured and traveled extensively while trying to make a name for himself as an actor, and for a time coached shows at the Asheville Opera House around year 1900. His family had moved to Asheville but after his youngest sister Lotta died of typhoid fever they all left together for Brooklyn until William went back on tour. A successful Shakespearean actor on Broadway who had worked with Margaret Mather and other stars, he appeared in the original 1899 stage production of Ben-Hur. Hart went on to become one of the first great stars of the motion picture western.



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