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Shorty Hamilton
Born September 9, 1879(1879-09-09)
Chicago, Illinois
Died March 7, 1925 (aged 45)
Los Angeles, California
Other name(s) John Hamilton
Occupation Actor
Years active 1909 - 1925

Shorty Hamilton (September 9, 1879 – March 7, 1925) was an American actor and silent film comedian who appeared in more than 80 films, mostly westerns, from 1909 to 1925. His birth name was John Hamilton, and he was also known as "Jack Hamilton." He had served in the United States Cavalry for several years and worked as a cowboy in Montana and Texas. He was best known for the "Adventures of Shorty" series of two-reel silent films that were released from 1912 to 1917.

Contents

Early days

Before becoming an actor, Hamilton served six years in the United States Cavalry and worked as a cowboy for five years in Montana and Texas.[1] As an actor, he appeared in many of the western films produced by Thomas H. Ince, including The Great Smash. He was described as "an extremely likeable little chap who combines the wonderful riding, lassoing, cow-punching stunts of the true westerner with the polished, quick-wittedness of the New York society man."[1]

"Adventures of Shorty"

He was best known for the "Adventures of Shorty" series of two-reel comedies in which he starred from 1912 to 1917.[2][3] There were more than 35 two-reel films featuring Hamilton as the "Shorty" character, a cowboy with a trained horse—his "remarkably intelligent horse, Beauty."[1] The films placed "Shorty" into a series of improbable adventures—inheriting a harem, posing as a judge, joining the Secret Service, going to college, and confronting a wide range of characters including loan sharks, ghosts, and moonshiners. Hamilton was not the only big talent associated with the "Shorty" pictures; the films were produced by Thomas H. Ince, many were written by the noted screenwriter C. Gardner Sullivan,[4] and the directors included Francis Ford. Aside from the trained horse, Hamilton's co-stars in the "Shorty" pictures included included Enid Markey and Charles Ray.

In March 1917, a reviewer of the latest "Shorty" film wrote the following about Hamilton:

Shorty Hamilton is a fascinating little chap who makes you want to clasp him by the hand and call him friend. He is a gifted actor who can make you laugh or lift you to the extreme pinnacle of nervous anticipation in the same breath. He never over-does anything and his extreme naturalness is refreshing. 'Shorty in the Tiger's Den,' is with us today and you will shake with laughter as Shorty tries to ride a motorcycle, which proves more uncontrollable to Shorty than a bucking pony.[5]

Personal life

Hamilton's popularity drew attention to his personal life as well as his screen performances. In the fall of 1914, less than six months after the release of Shorty Escapes Matrimony, Hamilton married Ethel Spurgint. Hamilton met Spurgint, who was a fan of Hamilton's work, at an appearance at a movie theater in Venice, Los Angeles, California. The two were married less than two months after they met.[6]

Later years and death

The last of the "Adventures of Shorty" films was released in 1917. However, Hamilton continued to appear in western genre films.[7]

In March 1925, Hamilton died at age 45 when his automobile crashed into a steam shovel standing in a street in Hollywood.[8][9]

Filmography

  • The Mexican's Crime (1909)
  • The Battle of Gettysburg (1913)
  • The Adventures of Shorty (1914)
  • Shorty's Sacrifice (1914)
  • Shorty Escapes Marriage (1914)
  • Shorty's Strategy (1914)
  • Shorty's Trip to Mexico (1914)
  • Shorty Gets Into Trouble (1914)
  • Shorty Turns Judge (1914)
  • Shorty and the Aridville Terror (1914)
  • Shorty and the Fortune Teller (1914)
  • Shorty and Sherlock Holmes (1914)
  • Shorty Falls Into a Title (1914)
  • Sergeant Jim's Horse (1915)
  • The Bottomless Pit (1915)
  • Shorty's Adventures in the City (1915)
  • Shorty's Secret (1915)
  • Shorty Among the Cannibals (1915)
  • On the Night Stage (1915)
  • Shorty's Troubled Sleep (1915)
  • Shorty Turns Actor (1915)
  • Shorty Inherits a Harem (1915)
  • Shorty's Ranch (1915)
  • Gypsy Joe (1916)
  • Shorty and the Yellow Ring (1917)
  • Shorty in the Tiger's Den (1917)
  • Shorty Goes to College (1917)
  • Shorty Joins the Secret Service (1917)
  • Shorty Turns Wild Man (1917)
  • Shorty Promotes His Love Affair (1917)
  • Shorty Hooks a Loan Shark (1917)
  • Shorty Traps a Lottery King (1917)
  • Shorty Bags the Bullion Thieves (1917)
  • Shorty Trails the Moonshiners (1917)
  • Shorty Lands a Master Crook (1917)
  • Shorty Solves a Wireless Mystery (1917)
  • Shorty Reduces the High Cost of Living (1917)
  • Shorty Lays a Jungle Ghost (1917)
  • Shorty Unearths a Tartar (1917)
  • The Pen Vulture (1918)
  • A Nugget in the Rough (1918)
  • Denny from Ireland (1918)
  • The Ranger (1921)[10]
  • So This Is Arizona (1922)
  • It Happened Out West (1923)
  • Two Fisted Thompson (1925)

References

  1. ^ a b c ""Shorty" Hamilton: New Series of Pictures at Colonial Today". Fort Wayne News. 1917-03-22.  
  2. ^ "Shorty Hamilton Series: Mutual is to Release Two-Reel Comedy Dramas". Los Angeles Times. 1917-01-21.  
  3. ^ "Recipe for Speed: Monogram Company Director Finds Doubling up on Same Story Is Effective in the Shorty Hamilton Pictures". Los Angeles Times. 1917-02-04.  
  4. ^ "Latest Shorty Story: Feature Picture at Bijou Theatre For the Remainder of the Week". Newport Daily News. 1914-11-20.   ("The feature picture at the Bijou Theatre for the remainder of the week is the Broncho two-reel film, 'Shorty and Sherlock Holmes,' the latest release of the well known Shorty stories by C. Gardner Sullivan and Thomas H. Ince.")
  5. ^ "Shorty Hamilton: He's at the Colonial in "Shorty in the Tiger's Den"". Fort Wayne News. 1917-03-29.  
  6. ^ ""Shorty" Finds His Mate". Atlanta Constitution. 1914-11-15.  
  7. ^ "Shorty Hamilton". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0358164/.  
  8. ^ "Shorty Hamilton, Movie Star, Killed in Crash". Hamilton Daily News. 1925-03-07.  
  9. ^ "Shorty Hamilton of Screen Fame, Killed". Oelwein Daily Register. 1925-03-07.  
  10. ^ "Eagle Today and Thursday, Shorty Hamilton in "The Ranger"". Hamilton Evening Journal.  

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