Known for movies

Short Info

DiedDecember 12, 1939, Santa Monica, California, United States
SpouseSylvia Ashley, Mary Pickford, Anna Beth Sully
MarkStunts He did all his own, with one exception
FactFather of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
PaymentsEarned $300,000 from Reaching for the Moon (1930)

Douglas Fairbanks (born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman; May 23, 1883 – December 12, 1939) was an American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films such as The Thief of Bagdad (1924), Robin Hood (1922), and The Mark of Zorro (1920). He was a founding member of United Artists.

Early Life

Douglas Fairbanks was born on May 23, 1883 in Denver, Colorado. His father, Hezekiah Charles Ullman (1849–1915), was a newspaper reporter who wrote for the Denver Evening Post and the Rocky Mountain News; his mother, Ella Adelaide Marsh (1850–1932), was an actress and singer. He had two older half-siblings from his father’s first marriage: Lotta Ulman (1876–1948) and Charles Ulman (1878–1942).

Fairbanks’s father married his stepmother, Anna Elizabeth Ryan, in 1883. From this marriage, Fairbanks had two more half-siblings: Robert Ryan (1884–1953) and Margaret Ryan (1886–1973). When he was four years old, his family moved to San Francisco. In 1900, when he was 17 years old, he left home to live in New York City and pursue an acting career.


Fairbanks began his acting career on the stage. In 1904, he made his Broadway debut in a production of Mr. Pickwick. He went on to appear in several more Broadway plays over the next few years.

In 1915, Fairbanks made his film debut in The Lamb. He went on to appear in over 80 films over the course of his career. Some of his most notable films include The Thief of Bagdad (1924), Robin Hood (1922), and The Mark of Zorro (1920).

In 1919, Fairbanks co-founded United Artists with Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith, and Mary Pickford.

Personal Life

In 1907, Fairbanks married Anna Beth Sully, the daughter of American businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. They had two sons: Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1909–2000) and Vincent Astor Fairbanks (1912–1958). The couple divorced in 1918.

In March 1920, Fairbanks married Mary Pickford, his former co-star and business partner at United Artists. They had one child together: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who was born in New York City in 1909. The couple divorced in 1936.

In 1937, Fairbanks married actress Sylvia Ashley. They divorced in 1939.


Fairbanks died of a heart attack on December 12, 1939 at the age of 56.

General Info

Full NameDouglas Fairbanks
DiedDecember 12, 1939, Santa Monica, California, United States
Height1.75 m
ProfessionActor, Businessperson, Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter
EducationHarvard University


SpouseSylvia Ashley, Mary Pickford, Anna Beth Sully
ChildrenDouglas Fairbanks Jr.
ParentsHezekiah Charles Douglas Ullman, Ella Adelaide Marsh
SiblingsRobert Fairbanks, Norris Wilcox, John Fairbanks


AwardsAcademy Honorary Award
MoviesThe Thief of Bagdad, The Mark of Zorro, The Black Pirate, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, The Iron Mask, The Gaucho, The Private Life of Don Juan, Don Q, Son of Zorro, The Taming of the Shrew, His Majesty, the American, The Lamb, The Mystery of the Leaping Fish, When the Clouds Roll By, Intoleranc...
TV ShowsUnknown Chaplin

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Stunts He did all his own, with one exception


Reaching for the Moon (1930)$300,000
The Iron Mask (1929)$40,000
Flirting with Fate (1916)$10,000 /week
The Habit of Happiness (1916)$2,000 /week
His Picture in the Papers (1916)$2,000 /week
Double Trouble (1915)$2,000 /week
The Lamb (1915)$2,000 /week


1[Referring to D.W. Griffith] D. W. didn't like my athletic tendencies, or my spontaneous habit of jumping a fence or scaling a church at unexpected moments which were not in the script. Griffith told me to go into Keystone comedies.
2The man that's out to do something has to keep in high gear all the time.
3[last words] I never felt better in my life.


1The first time he appeared on the stage, he had one line: "Stand back, my lord, and let the coffin pass," which he erroneously spoke as "and let the passon cough.".
2He had two roles in common with Errol Flynn: (1) Fairbanks played Robin Hood in Robin Hood (1922) while Flynn played him in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and (2) Fairbanks played Don Juan de Maraña in The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) while Flynn played him in Adventures of Don Juan (1948).
3He was the visual inspiration for the original illustrations of the superhero Superman/Clark Kent (created in 1938). Fairbanks was 55 years old at the time, and he was modeled for the Superman identity (Clark Kent's identity was modeled after Harold Lloyd).
4His paternal grandparents, Lazarus Ullman and Lydia Abrahams, were German Jewish immigrants. His mother had British Isles ancestry.
5Gifted movie-fan President Woodrow Wilson with an early film projector, which Wilson used to watch a movie almost every afternoon in the White House when he was recuperating from a stroke in 1919. Soon after, Wilson's lawyer son-in-law William Gibbs McAdoo Jr. would serve as chief counsel to Fairbanks' fledgling United Artists company.
6Although he had met Mary Pickford and her husband Owen Moore at Elsie Janis' Tarrytown (NY) home in 1914, the actress considered him brash. However, it was at a dinner dance at New York's Algonquin Hotel the following year that they danced and fell in love. It was not until 1920 that Pickford divorced Moore and married the swashbuckling star.
7In 1938 he formed a new company, Fairbanks-International, and announced his first production, "The Californian" would star his son, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The film was never made.
8In 1908 on holiday he hiked across Cuba and made a walking tour of Yucatan.
9His portrayal of Zorro was the inspiration for the iconic DC Comics hero Batman.
10President of Douglas Fairbanks Pictures Corp., formed in 1918.
11His father, a native of Pennsylvania, was a captain for the Union forces during the Civil War. His mother was a native Southerner with roots in Louisiana and Georgia.
12After receiving bad French press for his role in the American version of The Three Musketeers (1921), he vowed "never to put a foot in France again" (July 1st 1921).
13Among those in attendance at his funeral in 1939 were Viola Dana, Antonio Moreno, Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, and his son Douglas Fairbanks Jr..
14Lived in retirement with Sylvia Ashley at 705 Ocean Front (now Pacific Coast Highway) in Santa Monica, California.
15Son of Hezekiah Charles Ullman, a New York attorney, and Ella Adelaide Marsh, who previously was married to a man named John Fairbanks. Ullman left the family when Douglas was five years old.
16During his European honeymoon with Mary Pickford, the couple was greeted by crowds of up to 300,000 people in London and Paris, which made them Hollywood's first celebrity couple.
17Good friend of Charles Chaplin.
18According to legend, the thing that sparked his interest in acting occurred when he fell off the roof as a young child and hurt himself.
19Suffered from depression as a child.
20Founder of United Artists along with Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin and D.W. Griffith.
21First president of the AMPAS from 1927 to 1929
22Hosted the very first Academy Awards in 1929 alongside William C. de Mille
23The Hollywood mansion he and Mary Pickford owned was called Pickfair.
24Was Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel's basis for the overall physical look of Superman.
25Son-in-law of Charlotte Smith.
26Pictured on a 20¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the Performing Arts USA series, issued 23 May 1984.
27Father of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
28Father-in-law of Joan Crawford.
29Brother-in-law of Lottie Pickford and Jack Pickford.
30Brother of Robert Fairbanks, John Fairbanks.
31He frequently requested that his name be listed last in the film credits.
32Interred at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now called Hollywood Forever), Hollywood, California, USA.
33Performed most of the stunts in his films himself. He was an excellent athlete and used his physical abilities to his best advantage. However, there were instances when a stuntman was used (as proved by outtakes from The Gaucho (1927)), as these types of stunts were deemed too risky for the star.
34One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
35Born at 9:00am-LMT- (MST).
36Uncle of Lucile Fairbanks




Ali Baba Goes to Town1937Douglas Fairbanks - at Fictional Premiere (uncredited)
The Private Life of Don Juan1934Don Juan
Mr. Robinson Crusoe1932Steve Drexel
Reaching for the Moon1930Larry Day
Terra Melophon Magazin Nr. 11930Short episode "Welches ist ihr Typ"
The Taming of the Shrew1929Petruchio
The Iron Mask1929D'Artagnan
Show People1928Douglas Fairbanks (uncredited)
The Gaucho1927The Gaucho
The Black Pirate1926The Duke of Arnoldo / The Black Pirate (as Mr. Douglas Fairbanks)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ1925Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
Don Q Son of Zorro1925Don Cesar de Vega Zorro - His Father
The Thief of Bagdad1924The Thief of Bagdad
Robin Hood1922The Earl of Huntingdon Afterwards Robin Hood
The Three Musketeers1921D'Artagnan
The Nut1921/ICharlie Jackson
The Mark of Zorro1920Don Diego Vega Señor Zorro
The Mollycoddle1920Richard Marshall III Richard Marshall IV Richard Marshall V
When the Clouds Roll by1919Daniel Boone Brown
His Majesty, the American1919William Brooks
The Knickerbocker Buckaroo1919Teddy Drake
Swat the Kaiser1918Short
Arizona1918Lt. Denton
Sic 'Em, Sam1918ShortDemocracy
He Comes Up Smiling1918Jerry Martin
Bound in Morocco1918George Travelwell
Say! Young Fellow1918The Young Fellow
Mr. Fix-It1918Dick Remington
Headin' South1918Headin' South
Reaching for the Moon1917Alexis Caesar Napoleon Brown
All-Star Production of Patriotic Episodes for the Second Liberty Loan1917
The Man from Painted Post1917'Fancy Jim' Sherwood
Down to Earth1917Billy Gaynor
Wild and Woolly1917Jeff Hillington
In Again, Out Again1917/IITeddy Rutherford
The Americano1916Blaze Derringer
The Matrimaniac1916Jimmie Conroy
American Aristocracy1916Cassius Lee
Manhattan Madness1916Steve O'Dare
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages1916Man on White Horse (uncredited)
The Half-Breed1916Lo Dorman (Sleeping Water)
Flirting with Fate1916Augy Holliday
The Mystery of the Leaping Fish1916ShortCoke Ennyday / Douglas Fairbanks
Reggie Mixes In1916Reggie Van Deuzen
The Good Bad Man1916Passin' Through
The Habit of Happiness1916Sunny Wiggins
His Picture in the Papers1916Pete Prindle
Double Trouble1915Florian Amidon / Eugene Brassfield
Martyrs of the Alamo1915Joe / Texan Soldier (unconfirmed, uncredited)
The Lamb1915Gerald


Mr. Robinson Crusoe1932producer
Reaching for the Moon1930producer - uncredited
The Iron Mask1929producer - uncredited
The Gaucho1927producer - uncredited
The Black Pirate1926producer - uncredited
Don Q Son of Zorro1925producer - uncredited
The Thief of Bagdad1924producer
Robin Hood1922producer - uncredited
The Three Musketeers1921producer - uncredited
The Nut1921/Iproducer
The Mark of Zorro1920executive producer
The Mollycoddle1920producer
When the Clouds Roll by1919producer
His Majesty, the American1919producer
The Knickerbocker Buckaroo1919producer
He Comes Up Smiling1918producer
Bound in Morocco1918producer
Say! Young Fellow1918producer
Mr. Fix-It1918producer
Headin' South1918producer
A Modern Musketeer1917producer - uncredited
Reaching for the Moon1917producer
The Man from Painted Post1917producer
Down to Earth1917producer
Wild and Woolly1917producer
In Again, Out Again1917/IIproducer
The Good Bad Man1916producer


The Thief of Baghdad1961as Douglas Fairbanks Sr.
Mr. Robinson Crusoe1932story - as Elton Thomas
The Iron Mask1929screenplay - uncredited / story - as Elton Thomas / titles - uncredited
The Gaucho1927story - as Elton Thomas
The Black Pirate1926story - as Elton Thomas
The Thief of Bagdad1924story - as Elton Thomas
Robin Hood1922story - as Elton Thomas
The Three Musketeers1921uncredited
The Nut1921/Ias Elton Thomas
The Mark of Zorro1920scenario - uncredited
The Mollycoddle1920uncredited
When the Clouds Roll by1919story - uncredited
His Majesty, the American1919scenario - as Elton Banks
The Knickerbocker Buckaroo1919as Elton Banks / story - as Elton Banks
Bound in Morocco1918screenplay - as Elton Thomas / story - as Elton Thomas
The Man from Painted Post1917scenario
Down to Earth1917story
The Good Bad Man1916


Around the World with Douglas Fairbanks1931Documentary as Douglas Fairbanks Sr.


The Three Musketeers1921presents
The Mollycoddle1920supervisor - uncredited


Hollywood Mothers and Fathers1955Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots1932/IIDocumentary shortHimself
Around the World with Douglas Fairbanks1931DocumentaryHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 231930ShortHimself, at Premiere
Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 241930ShortHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 221930ShortHimself
Character Studies1927ShortHimself (uncredited)
Potseluy Meri Pikford1927Himself
Screen Snapshots No. 21925Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 6, No. 21925Documentary shortHimself
Twinkle Twinkle1925Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 5, No. 141925Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 5, No. 11924Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 4, No. 111924Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 4, No. 81923Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 3, No. 261923Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 3, No. 191923Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 3, No. 101922Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 3, No. 11922Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 2, No. 22-F1922Documentary shortHimself
Non-Sense of Censorship1921Documentary short
Screen Snapshots, Series 2, No. 14-F1921Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 1, No. 241921Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots, Series 1, No. 111920Documentary shortHimself
Animated Weekly, No. 571917Documentary shortHimself
Our Mutual Girl, No. 471914ShortHimself
Our Mutual Girl1914Himself (episode 47)
Animated Weekly, No. 411912Documentary shortHimself

Archive Footage

Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic2004TV Movie documentaryHimself
Chaplin Today: The Gold Rush2003TV Short documentaryHimself
The Tramp and the Dictator2002DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Biography2001TV Series documentaryHimself
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford2000TV Movie documentary
Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood2000TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
The Many Faces of Zorro2000Video documentary
Canada: A People's History2000TV SeriesHimself
The Worlds of Mei Lanfang2000Documentary
Kings of the Ring: Four Legends of Heavyweight Boxing2000TV Movie documentaryHimself
Star Power: The Creation of United Artists1998Video documentaryHimself
Glorious Technicolor1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
History's Mysteries1998TV Series documentaryHimself
Mary Pickford: A Life on Film1997DocumentaryHimself / Various Roles (uncredited)
Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood1995TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies1995TV Movie documentaryHimself
American Masters1993TV Series documentaryHimself
Entertaining the Troops1988DocumentaryHimself
What Do Those Old Films Mean?1985TV SeriesHimself (in Paris, 1920) (uncredited)
Unknown Chaplin1983TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Historia del cine: Epoca muda1983Video documentaryVarious roles
Journey to Krull1983Video documentary shortThe Thief of Bagdad (uncredited)
Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark1981TV Movie documentary
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1981TV SeriesHimself from NBC Special BOB HOPE'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Komediya davno minuvshikh dney1980
Hollywood1980TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself / Actor 'Robin Hood'
Dora and the Magic Lantern1978La Marque de Zorro
World Cinema1973TV SeriesDiego Vega Zorro
The Age of Ballyhoo1973Video documentaryHimself
Dieu a choisi Paris1969Himself
The Funniest Man in the World1967DocumentaryHimself
Hollywood My Home Town1965DocumentaryHimself
The Big Parade of Comedy1964DocumentaryActor Arriving at MGM (uncredited)
Hollywood and the Stars1964TV SeriesHimself
The Judy Garland Show1964TV SeriesHimself
Fractured Flickers1963TV Series
Hollywood: The Great Stars1963TV Movie documentaryActor 'The Mark of Zorro' (uncredited)
30 Years of Fun1963
Hollywood Without Make-Up1963DocumentaryHimself
The Great Chase1962Documentary
The DuPont Show of the Week1962TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood: The Golden Years1961TV Movie documentaryActor 'The Three Musketeers' (uncredited)
Silents Please1961TV SeriesDuke of Arnaldo
The Legend of Rudolph Valentino1961Video documentaryHimself
Movies Golden Age1961TV Movie documentarySteve O'Dare
Days of Thrills and Laughter1961DocumentaryHimself
Project XX1956TV Series documentaryHimself - Actor
Screen Snapshots: Ramblin' Round Hollywood1955Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Stars to Remember1954ShortHimself
Yesterday and Today1953
Screen Snapshots: Memorial to Al Jolson1952Documentary shortHimself
The Golden Twenties1950DocumentaryHimself
Movies Are Adventure1948Short uncredited
Screen Snapshots Series 25, No. 10: Famous Fathers and Sons1946Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 25, No. 1: 25th Anniversary1945Documentary shortHimself
Wilson1944Himself - at WWI Rally (uncredited)
The Cavalcade of Academy Awards from 1928-19391940Documentary shortHimself
The Movies March On1939Short documentaryHimself - From 'Robin Hood'
Personality Parade1938Documentary shortHimself (uncredited)
Movie Memories1934Documentary shortHimself
The House That Shadows Built1931Documentary
Little Miss Hollywood1923ShortHimself in Film Clip
Charmed Lives: A Family RomanceDocumentary pre-productionHimself
Un jour, une histoire2014TV Series documentaryHimself
La naissance de Charlot2013TV Movie documentaryHimself
Ninja the Mission Force2013TV SeriesPirate
Edición Especial Coleccionista2012TV SeriesHimself
Time to Remember2010TV Series documentaryHimself
Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies2008DocumentaryHimself
Spisok korabley2008DocumentaryThe Black Pirate
Burn Hollywood Burn2007TV Series documentaryHimself
Why Be Good? Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema2007DocumentaryHimself
MythBusters2007TV Series documentaryThe Black Pirate
City Confidential2002-2007TV Series documentaryHimself
World of Robin Hood2006TV Movie documentaryRobin Hood (uncredited)
Silent Britain2006TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Life Is a Dream in Cinema: Pola Negri2006DocumentaryHimself
Filmmakers in Action2005DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Douglas Fairbanks: The Great Swashbuckler2005VideoHimself
The Forgotten Films of Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle2005Video documentary
American Experience2005TV Series documentaryHimself
Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate2004DocumentaryHimself


Won Awards

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 7022 Hollywood Blvd.
1940Honorary AwardAcademy Awards, USA

Recognizing the unique and outstanding contribution of Douglas Fairbanks, first president of the ... More

1923Medal of HonorPhotoplay AwardsRobin Hood (1922)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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