Hobart Bosworth

The Mate of the Alden Bessie
R: Hobart Bosworth. B: Hobart Bosworth. D: Frank Clark, Bessie Eyton, Hobart Bosworth, Tom Santschi, Frank Opperman. P: Selig Polyscope Company. USA 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles


Martin Eden (incomplete)
R: Hobart Bosworth. B: Hobart Bosworth, Jack London. K: George W. Hill. D: Lawrence Peyton, Viola Barry, Herbert Rawlinson, Rhea Haines, Ann Ivers, Ray Myers, Elmer Clifton. P: Hobart Bosworth Productions. USA 1914

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Hobart Bosworth — pioneering movie director, writer, producer and actor — was born Hobart Van Zandt Bosworth 1867, in Marietta, OH. He was a direct descendant of Miles Standish and John and Priscilla Alden on his father’s side and of New York’s Van Zandt family, the first Dutch settlers to land in the New World, on his mother’s side. Bosworth was always proud of his lineage.
After his mother died his father remarried and the young Hobart took a dislike to his stepmother. Convinced that he was  ‘ill used and cruelly treated’, as he told an interviewer in 1914, he ran away from home for to New York City. He signed on as a cabin boy on the clipper ship ‘Sovereign of the Seas’ and was soon out at sea. (…)
Thinking he’d like to become a landscape painter, a friend suggested that Bosworth work as a stage manager to raise the money to study art. Acting on his friend’s advice, Bosworth obtained a job with McKee Rankin as a stage manager at the California Theatre in San Francisco. With the money he made, he undertook the study of painting. Eventually he was pressed into duty as an actor with a small part with three lines. Though he botched the lines, he was given other small roles. Bosworth was 18 years old and on the cusp of a life in the theater. (…)

There was a new medium for actors: motion pictures. Bosworth moved to San Diego, which had a reputation of having the most perfect climate in the continental United States, and in 1908 was contracted to make a film by the Selig Polyscope Co. Shooting was to be down in the outdoors, and he did not have to use his voice, which was in a poor condition. The arrangement was perfect for him. ‘I believe, after all, that it is the motion pictures that have saved my life’, he recounted less than a decade later. (…) Signing with Selig, Bosworth eventually spearheaded the movie company’s move to Los Angeles. He is widely credited with being the star of the first movie made on the West Coast. Due to his role in pioneering California for the film industry, Bosworth often was referred to as the ‘Dean of Hollywood’. He wrote the scenarios for the second and third pictures he acted in, and directed the third. According to his own count, he eventually wrote 112 scenarios and produced 84 pictures for Selig. Bosworth was attracted to Jack London‘s work due to his out-of-doors filming experience and the requirements of his health, which obviated acting in studios. ‘In all my reading I have never come across better material for motion picture plays than Jack London’s stories, and I hope to go right through the whole lot.’

In 1913 he formed his own company, Hobart Bosworth Productions Co., to produce a series of Jack London melodramas. He produced, directed and starred in the company’s first picture, playing Wolf Larsen in The Sea Wolf (1913), with London himself appearing as a sailor. (…) He produced, directed, wrote and acted in Martin Eden (1914) and An Odyssey of the North (1914), playing the lead in the latter, which was released by Paramount. He finished up the series by producing, directing and playing the lead in the two-part Burning Daylight series: Burning Daylight: The Adventures of ‘Burning Daylight’ in Alaska (1914) and Burning Daylight: The Adventures of ‘Burning Daylight’ in Civilization (1914), both of which were released by Paramount. (…)
Altogether, Hobart Bosworth acted in over 250 movies from 1908 to 1942, directed 44 known pictures from 1911 to 1915, and wrote 27 & produced 11 known pictures from 1911 to 1921. His actual count might be hundreds more. Hobart Bosworth, the ‘Dean of Hollywood’, died 1943 of pneumonia in Glendale, CA.”
Jon C. Hopwood

An early Selig Polyscope western, directed by Hobart Bosworth

A Frontier Girl’s Courage
R: Hobart Bosworth, Frank Montgomery. D: Betty Harte, Frank Clark, Jane Keckley, Roy Watson, Frank Richardson, Hobart Bosworth, Anna Dodge. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1911
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

602-Hobart Bosworth