Volume III: Biographies



Cameraman, studio employee (c.1910-1914)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Emmett A. Williams was a cameraman at the Thanhouser studio.

Biographical Notes: Emmett A. Williams, brother of Thanhouser cameraman Lawrence Williams, died at the age of 23 on April 28, 1916. An obituary notice in the May 13, 1916 issue of The Moving Picture World, reprinted below, stated that he had been with Famous Players for two years and, before that, with Thanhouser for a period of six years. If indeed he worked with Thanhouser for six years prior to that time, he must have joined the company near its beginning. In 1914 Emmett A. Williams lived in New Rochelle at 51 Walnut Street. In January 1916 his home address was 100 Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Mamaroneck, New York.

The Evening Standard, New Rochelle, carried the this item on April 29, 1916: "Emmett A. Williams, Mary Pickford's favorite cameraman in the Famous Players Company died at 3:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon in the New Rochelle Hospital. He was a victim of septic poisoning which developed from a run down condition. Several weeks ago he complained of pains in his head and he underwent three operations in the hospital. Two weeks ago he was believed to be dying. Prayers were said for him and Miss Pickford came to his bedside to offer consolations. From that time he began to improve and seemed to continue irregularly until yesterday when he was reported to be in poor condition. But yesterday morning he felt considerably better and hopes were still entertained of his recovery. Late in the morning however he began to sink. Besides several New Rochelle physicians he was attended by blood specialists sent by Miss Pickford.

"Mr. Williams was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Williams, 51 Walnut Street. His father is a painter. He was nearly 23 years old. A few years ago he joined the Thanhouser forces and became a cameraman. Later he joined the Famous Players Company, and Mary Pickford would have no cameraman but him to work with her. Less than a year ago he married Miss Ethel Brennecke of Mamaroneck and went to live at 100 Mount Pleasant Avenue in that village. Mr. Williams is survived by his parents, four brothers. Lawrence, one of Thanhouser's best cameramen, James, William and Vincent, and one sister, Mary."

His obituary appeared in The Moving Picture World, May 13, 1916: "Emmett A. Williams, for two years cameraman with the Famous Players - Mary Pickford Company, died on Friday, April 28, at New Rochelle, New York, of septic poisoning. He was 23 years old. Before going to the Famous Players Mr. Williams had for six years been in the employ of the Thanhouser Company. He had been married a year and a half. He leaves a wife and three brothers. The funeral was largely attended. Prominent among those present were Miss Pickford, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Zukor, Al Kaufman, James Kirkwood, and H. Lyman Broening, who represented the Cinema Camera Club, of which Mr. Williams was a member. There were many beautiful floral tributes."

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.