Elmer Clifton

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Age: 124
Birthplace:

Born in Chicago, he was an actor in touring stock companies before
making his screen debut in 1912. Joining D.W. Griffith's Fine Arts
Studio in 1914, he was cast as Union officer Phil Stoneman in "The
Birth of a Nation" (1915) and as The Rhapsodie in the Babylonian story
of "Intolerance" (1916). He was also a second-unit director for those
films. Promoted to director in 1917, Clifton supervised several
successful Fine Arts comedies starring Dorothy Gish while continuing to
serve as Griffith's assistant. Their association culminated with the
blockbuster "Way Down East" (1920). Clifton shot much of its famous
"Rescue from the ice" sequence and doubled for star Richard Barthelmess
in the riskier scenes. He then left Griffith to form his own production
company and had a smash hit with "Down to the Sea in Ships" (1922), a
colorful whaling saga made on location in New England. It made a star
of future "It Girl" Clara Bow, who appeared as a cross-dressing
stowaway. In 1923 Clifton signed a lucrative seven-year contract with
Fox and was poised to become one of Hollywood's major directors. Then
tragedy struck. He was filming "The Warrens of Virginia" in Texas when
his lead actress died from burns in an accident on the set. Although
Clifton was blameless in the incident, he was fired by Fox and his
career never regained its momentum.

 
Movie Character Year
2pggdfclbwlkla1ttik98v36lio Intolerance The Rhapsode (Babylonian Story) 1916