Volume III: Biographies


JONES, Edgar

Director (1915)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Edgar Jones was a director for Thanhouser for two weeks in the summer of 1915.

Biographical Notes: Edgar Jones was born in Steubenville, Ohio and was educated there. He began his adult employment as a picture frame maker with his brother. Seeking to advance in the field, he went to Chicago, where he secured a position with the art department of Siegel, Cooper & Co. After he had been employed for a short time, he resigned when he was asked to work occasional evenings in addition to his daily duties. Learning that extras were required for the stage production of Arizona, starring Dustin Farnum at the Academy of Music Theatre, he applied and was employed in a cowboy bit part for one dollar per night, a stint which lasted for three performances but which ignited the spark for his career.

Edgar Selwyn, the stage manager, recognized his potential and signed him to play in other productions, after which he joined a stock company. Then came a role in The Holy City, which was on tour for four years, after which he was seen in a San Antonio stock company, followed by a role in New York in The Great Divide, under the management of Henry Miller. During the 1912-1913 season he toured for Liebler & Co. in Viola Allen's production of The Herfords. When The Herford company closed, Edgar Jones contacted Siegmund Lubin and secured a job as a screen actor. Later, he was promoted to direct films in which he played the leads. He remained with Lubin as a director from 1913 through the early summer of 1915.

On January 26, 1914, he married Louise Huff, a leading woman with Lubin, at a country church in Norristown, Pennsylvania. The couple had become mutually attracted when Jones cast himself in the title role of a film he was directing, Fitzhugh's Ride, and selected Louise Huff as his sweetheart in the story. In the scenario, Fitzhugh, who is supposed to be dead, dashes to the scene of his sweetheart's impending marriage to another, snatches her away from the altar, and with Louise holding on for dear life, gallops away at high speed to outdistance the pursuers. This fanciful romance developed into the real thing, and Rev. George W. Barnes, who was enlisted by Lubin to play the minister in the film, re-performed the ceremony, this time the real thing, with Jones and Huff. By December 1918, Edgar Jones and Louise Huff had a child, Mary Louise.

In an interview with Florence Rollins, published in The Motion Picture Magazine, May 1915, Jones discussed the production of several Lubin films, including Stonewall Jackson's Way, The Man of Him, From Out of the Flood, and Breed of the North, with the last two being named as among his favorites. Edgar Jones left Lubin and joined Thanhouser as a director in the summer of 1915, first reporting for work on Monday, June 21st. An article in the June 23, 1915 issue of The Moving Picture World suggested that he would probably move to New Rochelle. However, his tenure in New Rochelle was one of the shortest on record, and two weeks later he was no longer with the firm. On July 6, 1915 his position was filled by H.M. Mitchell. Later Jones was with Metro and Balboa, and, by 1918, with Balboa-Mutual (The Girl Angle, Glad Glory).

Edgar Jones was 5'11" tall, weighed 180 pounds, and had a dark complexion, dark hair, and gray eyes. His home address in 1918 was 1901 Wilcox Avenue, Hollywood, California, and at the time he was with the Balboa studio in Long Beach, California. In 1970 Louise Huff stated that he had been dead for many years. An obituary in The Billboard, November 8, 1930, told of an Edgar Jones, stage manager, who died in Independence, Missouri in that year, but it is not known if he was the same person as the Thanhouser director.

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