Volume III: Biographies


BROWNE, Harry *

Actor (1915)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: In June 1915, a New Rochelle newspaper described Harry Browne as "a well-known Thanhouser actor." However, he was not credited in studio publicity.

Biographical Notes: Harry C. Browne was a soldier in the Spanish-American War and went to Cuba in 1898 with the Second Massachusetts U.S. Volunteers. After the conflict ended, he went on a lecture tour. During the presidential election of 1900 he campaigned for Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan. Afterwards, he went on stage for four years as an actor with a stock company. Later, he had a part in Arizona, after which he was on the road in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. He was on the stage with Viola Dana in The Poor Little Rich Girl, and with Frances Starr in The Case of Becky. With Mary Ryan he played in The House of Glass. In February 1914, William Jennings Bryan, who at the time was secretary of state, offered Browne a job in the diplomatic service, but the latter declined.

The New Rochelle Paragraph, June 25, 1915, carried this item: "Harry Browne, a well known Thanhouser actor, saved his sister, Ethel, from drowning, when the canoe which he was paddling capsized near Pine Island, Wednesday. Mr. Browne was paddling his two sisters, Marjorie and Ethel, around the island when the accident happened. Marjorie, who is a good swimmer, reached shore easily, but Ethel became scared, and commenced to scream frantically.

"Browne, knowing that both his sisters could swim, was going towards the shore when the screams reached him. He swam back to his sister who had gone down once, and grabbed her. He pulled her ashore safely. The Misses Browne, who live in New York, were visiting their brother."

A skilled banjoist, Browne played the instrument for several years in vaudeville, and, years later in 1916, produced a series of banjo recordings for the Columbia Graphophone Company. His screen debut is believed to have begun with the August 1914 Famous Players release of The Eagle's Mate, starring Mary Pickford. He was also seen with Henrietta Crosman in The Unwelcome Mrs. Hatch, a 1914 Famous Players film, and The Heart of Jennifer, starring Hazel Dawn, released by the same company in 1915. Apparently, around this time he also appeared in Thanhouser films. Browne was seen with Viola Dana in the June 1916 release of the Metro picture, The Flower of No Man's Land.

In November 1917, he and his wife adopted a nine-month-old girl in Judge Fowler's court in the Hall of Records, and named her Jane Elizabeth Browne. In 1920 the Browne family purchased a house in Flushing, Long Island, New York. At the time he was a familiar figure on Broadway. Later, Browne went into radio. In 1931 he resigned his post as announcer and production director of the Columbia Broadcasting System to devote his time to the Christian Science religion. On June 7, 1948, in Boston, he was elected president of the First Church of Christ, mother church of the Christian Science denomination.

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