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Allan Dwan

Dwan during his earlier years in silent film
Born Joseph Aloysius Dwan
April 3, 1885(1885-04-03)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died December 28, 1981 (aged 96)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Years active 1911 - 1961
Spouse(s) Pauline Bush (1915–1921)
Marie Shelton (1922–1954)

Allan Dwan (April 3, 1885 – December 28, 1981) was a pioneering Canadian-born American motion picture director, producer and screenwriter.


Early life

Born Joseph Aloysius Dwan in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, his family moved to the United States when he was 11 years old. At the University of Notre Dame, he trained as an engineer and began working for a lighting company in Chicago. However, he had a strong interest in the fledgling motion picture industry and when Essanay Studios offered him the opportunity to become a scriptwriter, he took the job. At that time, some of the East Coast movie makers began to spend winters in California where the climate allowed them to continue productions requiring warm weather. Soon, a number of movie companies worked there year-round and, in 1911, Dwan began working part time in Hollywood. While still in New York, in 1917 he was the founding president of the East Coast chapter of the Motion Picture Directors Association.


After making a series of westerns and comedies, Dwan directed fellow Canadian Mary Pickford in several very successful movies as well as her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, notably in the acclaimed 1922 Robin Hood.

Following the introduction of the talkies, in 1937 he directed child-star Shirley Temple in Heidi and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm the following year.

Over his long and successful career spanning over 50 years, he directed over 400 motion pictures, many of them highly acclaimed, such as the 1949 box office smash, Sands of Iwo Jima. He directed his last movie in 1961.

He died in Los Angeles at the age of ninety-six, and is interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, California.

Allan Dwan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6263 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

Selected films

As a director:

See also: Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood

Further reading

  • Foster, Charles, Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood (2000) ISBN 1-55002-348-9

External links



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