Monroe Salisbury - Rotten Tomatoes

Monroe Salisbury

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With his rugged looks and imposing frame -- he was well over six feet tall and weighed two hundred pounds -- Monroe Salisbury was well suited for the Westerns and Northwoods dramas of the 1910s. While Salisbury was quite popular in his time, his work is little known even to modern-day film historians because only a few of the motion pictures in which he appeared are known to exist. Salisbury's father, who bred racehorses, was able to send his son to various New York boarding schools, and then to Yale, where he graduated in three years. When young Salisbury decided to make the stage his profession, he had an easy time finding roles because of his father's popularity among the theatrical set. For 15 years, the actor appeared alongside such luminaries as Minnie Maddern Fiske, John Drew, Nance O'Neil, and William Farnum. He entered films in 1913 when he was cast as Henry, Earl of Kerhill, in Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man, after which he abandoned the stage and worked exclusively in motion pictures. Salisbury appeared in a number of films for producer Jesse Lasky including The Master Mind, The Goose Girl, and After Five. DeMille frequently used him in such early films as Brewster's Millions, The Virginian, and Rose of the Rancho. He also appeared alongside Douglas Fairbanks in The Lamb and Double Trouble. But the film that really brought Salisbury fame was 1916's 12-reel epic, Ramona, in which he starred as Allesandro. The role brought him to the attention of Carl Laemmle, who signed him to the Bluebird unit of Universal Studios. He played a variety of roles alongside such actors as Ruth Clifford, Colleen Moore, Lon Chaney, and Rupert Julian (who also directed several of the features in which he appeared). Salisbury did well enough financially to buy a 40-acre ranch outside of the Saboda Indian Reservation in Hemet Valley, California. He took up the cause of Native Americans, and only hired Native American labor at his ranch. While Salisbury appeared in a variety of films, his image was best suited to films of the great outdoors. In the press, however, he voiced his need to stretch himself creatively, and in 1920 he formed his own production company. He produced and starred in The Barbarian, but it was not well reviewed. Salisbury's last starring role was in 1922's The Great Alone in which, at the age of 45, he played a Native American college student. His career faded after that, although he made a brief comeback in 1930 in the Universal serial The Jade Box as the father of the serial's star, Jack Perrin. Five years later, Salisbury was admitted to Patton State Hospital For the Insane under an assumed name, where he died a month later from a fall that fractured his skull. He never married, and his sole survivors were two sisters.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Barbarian
  • Eric Straive
1921
No Score Yet The Lamb
  • Actor
1915
No Score Yet Brewster's Millions
  • Actor
1914
No Score Yet The Squaw Man
  • Henry
1914

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