Douglas Fairbanks Jr. - Rotten Tomatoes

Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Highest Rated:   100% The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Lowest Rated:   35% Ghost Story (1981)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   New York, New York, USA
American actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was the son of film star Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Fairbanks Jr. made his acting debut in 1923's Stephen Steps Out, which was remarkable only in how quickly it went out of circulation. Young Fairbanks was more impressive as Lois Moran's fiancé in 1926's Stella Dallas, though it did give Fairbanks Sr. pause to see his teenaged son sporting a Fairbanksian mustache. Even as a youth, Fairbanks' restlessness would not be satisfied by mere film work; before he was 20 he'd written an amusing article about the Hollywood scene for Vanity Fair magazine. In 1927, Fairbanks appeared in a stage play, Young Woodley, which convinced detractors that he truly had talent and was not merely an appendage to his father's fame. When talking pictures came in, he demonstrated a well-modulated speaking voice and as a result worked steadily in the early 1930s. Married at that time to actress Joan Crawford, Fairbanks was a fixture of the Tinseltown social whirl, but he had a lot more going for him than suspected; in 1935 he offered the earliest evidence of his sharp business savvy by setting up his own production company, Criterion Films--the first of six such companies created under the Fairbanks imprimatur. Fairbanks had his best role in 1937's The Prisoner of Zenda, in which he was alternately charming and cold-blooded as the villainous Rupert of Hentzau. Upon his father's death in 1939, Fairbanks began to extend his activities into politics and service to his country. He helped to organize the Hollywood branch of the William Allen White Committee, designed to aid the allied cause in the European war. From 1939 through 1944, Fairbanks, ever an Anglophile, headed London's Douglas Voluntary Hospitals, which took special care of war refugees. Fairbanks was appointed by President Roosevelt to act as envoy for the Special Mission to South America in 1940, and one year later was commissioned as a lieutenant j.g. in the Navy. In 1942 he was chief officer of Special Operations, and in 1943 participated in the allied invasion of Sicily and Elba. Fairbanks worked his way up from Navy lieutenant to commander and finally, in 1954 to captain. After the war's end, the actor spent five years as chairman of CARE, sending food and aid to war-torn countries. How he had time to resume his acting career is anybody's guess, but Fairbanks was back before the cameras in 1947 with Sinbad the Sailor, taking up scriptwriting with 1948's The Exile; both films were swashbucklers, a genre he'd stayed away from while his father was alive (Fairbanks Sr. had invented the swashbuckler; it wouldn't have been right for his son to bank on that achievement during the elder Fairbanks' lifetime). Out of films as an actor by 1951 (except for a welcome return in 1981's Ghost Story), Fairbanks concentrated on the production end for the next decade; he also produced and starred in a high-quality TV anthology, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Presents (1952-55), which belied its tiny budget with excellent scripts and superior actors. Evidently the only setback suffered by Fairbanks in the last forty years was his poorly received appearance as Henry Higgins in a 1968 revival of My Fair Lady; otherwise, the actor managed to retain his status as a respected and concerned citizen of the world, sitting in with the U.S. delegation at SEATO in 1971 and accruing many military and humanitarian awards. He also published two autobiographies, The Salad Days in 1988 and A Hell of a War in 1993. Fairbanks, Jr. died on May 7, 2000, of natural causes.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet State Secret (The Great Manhunt)
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Chances
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Union Depot
  • Actor
2011
86% Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Emerging Chaplin
  • Narrator
1989
No Score Yet Hollywood Uncensored
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey
  • Himself
1984
No Score Yet AFI Salute to Lillian Gish
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Going Hollywood: The War Years
  • Actor
1983
No Score Yet The Sacred Music of Duke Ellington
  • Actor
1982
35% Ghost Story
  • Edward Charles Wanderley
1981
No Score Yet The Great Chase
  • Actor
1962
No Score Yet Chase a Crooked Shadow
  • Producer
1958
No Score Yet Another Man's Poison
  • Producer
1951
No Score Yet Mr. Drake's Duck
  • Producer
  • Donald 'Don' Drake
1951
No Score Yet That Lady In Ermine
  • Colonel Ladislas Karolyi Teglas / The Duke
1948
No Score Yet The Exile
  • Charles II Stuart
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
1947
80% Sinbad the Sailor
  • Sindbad
1947
No Score Yet The Corsican Brothers
  • Lucien Franchi / Mario Franchi
1941
60% Angels over Broadway
  • Bill O'Brien
1940
No Score Yet Green Hell
  • Keith Brandon
1940
No Score Yet Rulers of the Sea
  • David 'Davie' Gillespie
1939
92% Gunga Din
  • Sgt. Ballantine
1939
No Score Yet The Young in Heart
  • Richard Carleton
1938
No Score Yet The Rage of Paris
  • James Trevor
1938
No Score Yet Joy of Living
  • Daniel 'Dan' Brewster
1938
No Score Yet Having Wonderful Time
  • Chick Kirkland
1938
100% The Prisoner of Zenda
  • Rupert of Hentzau
1937
No Score Yet When Thief Meets Thief
  • Ricky Morgan
  • Producer
1937
No Score Yet Accused
  • Tony Seymour
1936
No Score Yet Man of the Moment
  • Tony
1935
No Score Yet Mimi
  • Rodolphe
1935
No Score Yet Catherine the Great
  • Grand Duke Peter
1934
67% Morning Glory
  • Joseph Sheridan
1933
No Score Yet Life of Jimmy Dolan
  • Jimmy Dolan
1933
No Score Yet Love Is A Racket
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet Scarlet Dawn
  • Baron Nikita 'Nikki' Krasnoff
  • Screenwriter
1932
No Score Yet I Like Your Nerve
  • Larry O'Brien
1931
No Score Yet The Stolen Jools
  • Actor
1931
91% Little Caesar
  • Joe
1931
No Score Yet Outward Bound
  • Henry
1930
No Score Yet The Dawn Patrol (Flight Commander)
  • Douglas 'Doug' Scott
1930
No Score Yet Party Girl
  • Jay Rountree
1930
No Score Yet Our Modern Maidens
  • Gil
1929
No Score Yet The Forward Pass
  • Marty Reid
1929
No Score Yet A Woman of Affairs
  • Jeffry Merrick
1928
No Score Yet The Barker
  • Chris Miller
1928
No Score Yet Stella Dallas
  • Richard Grosvenor
1925
No Score Yet Wild Horse Mesa
  • Chess Weymer
1925

Quotes from Douglas Fairbanks Jr.'s Characters