Edwin Carewe Marked at Hollywood Forever

Edwin Carewe (with megaphone) directing a scene as Mabel Normand looks on

Recently at Hollywood Forever, I discovered that the grave of director Edwin Carewe had a grave stone installed after more than 69 years of being unmarked. I don’t know who marked him but it is always great news when someone that has been forgotten finally gets identified with a marker. The director, who discovered Dolores Del Rio and many other famous stars, died in Hollywood on January 22, 1940 from an apparent heart attack.

Edwin Carewe was born Jay Fox in Gainesville, Texas on March 5, 1883. He attended the University of Texas and the University of Missouri majoring in dramatics. Early in his career when his flair for acting was expressed, a fellow New York actor suggested that he change his name, thinking that Fox was not good professionally. So he took the name Edwin from his favorite actor, Edwin Booth, and for his last name chose to use that of a character that he was playing in stock.

Carewe’s first stage experience was with the Dearborn Stock Company and he made his debut on Broadway with Chauncey Olcott. He appeared in plays with such stage actors as Otis Skinner, Rose Coghlan and Laurette Taylor in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles. Later, he entered motion pictures in 1912 with the Lubin Company.

As a director, he produced such films as Resurrection (1927), Ramona (1928), Revenge (1928), Evangeline (1929), and The Spoilers (1930), winning fame for its realistic fight scenes. Besides Del Rio, he encouraged the talents of Warner Baxter, Wallace Beery, Francis X. Bushman and Gary Cooper. His brother, Finis Fox (1884-1949), wrote many of his scenarios.

Over his career, Carewe directed films for Metro, Paramount, First National, Fox and others and at one time had his own lot, Tec-Art, on Melrose Avenue, opposite Paramount, where he made his biggest successes.

In 1925, he and actress Mary Aikin (whom he also discovered), eloped to Mexico. There he met Jaime Del Rio and his wife Dolores. He suggested that she return with him to Hollywood for a screen career. Carewe helped Dolores Del Rio become one of the biggest stars in silent films.

At one time Carewe was considered a millionaire. His percentage on Ramona and Resurrection, both with Del Rio, was close to $400,000. However he lost most of his fortune in a Texas garbage disposal deal.

Carewe’s health began to fail in July 1939 when he had a heart attack while driving his car and was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital. Not wishing to remain in the hospital, his doctor’s would only allow him to leave if someone was constantly with him. He agreed to move to 5603 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood into an apartment across the hall from his nephew, Winston Platt.

On January 22, 1940, a doctor was summoned to Carewe’s apartment and administered a sedative to him around 4 a.m. Carewe fell asleep and Platt stretched out on a couch in the next room. At 8 a.m. Platt was awakened and found his uncle dead.

Edwin Carewe died in his apartment here at 5603 Lexington Avenue, Hollywood.

Funeral services were conducted at the Pierce Brothers Mortuary (across from Hollywood Cemetery) by Rev. Willsie Martin of the Wilshire Blvd. Methodist Episcopal Church. More than 200 of Carewe’s friends gathered to pay their final farewell.

Among those who attended were Dolores Del Rio, garbed in black, who sat in front with her husband, Cedric Gibbons, the art director at MGM. She sobbed throughout the rites.

Edwin Carewe’s death certificate (click on image to enlarge).

On the whole, the chapel was filled with property men, electricians, cameramen, carpenters, grips, painters, other technicians and friends who made up the director’s crews when he was filming. Others who were present included Charles Murray, Guido Orlando, Rex Lease, Eddie Silton, William Farnum, Ivy Wilson, Wilford Lucas, James Gordon, Hank Mann, Roland Drew, George Renault, John Le Roy Johnston, John Boles and John Hintz.

In the ceremony and eulogy, Dr. Martin touched briefly on his pioneer endeavors in films and his making of Are We Civilized? (1934), his final film.

“He never failed a friend, he never carried bitterness in his heart and he was generous to a fault – a great attribute,” Martin said. “He was a man who never quit, a test of a thorough bred.”

Besides his widow, Mary Aiken, Carewe left five children, Sally Ann, William Edwin, Carol Lee, Rita and Mary Jane and two brothers, Finis and Wallace Fox.

After his interment at Hollywood Cemetery in 1940, Carewe’s grave went unmarked – until recently when an unknown benefactor placed a stone there.

Edwin Carewe’s grave is located in Section One, Grave 471, in the northeast part of the cemetery, very near to the east wall, in the same area as Flora Finch.

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28 Responses to “Edwin Carewe Marked at Hollywood Forever”

  1. Melissa says:

    Simply wonderful news….LORD, this makes me happy! Heaven bless this kind and generous benefactor.

    Your article is more than splendid, Mr. E!
    Thanks Melissa, I was happy to see it too. Now lets get the rest done.

  2. Lynn Recck says:

    Excellent article, as always, Allan. Thanks for the uplifting story – past and present. And I also appreciate the fact that I didn’t have to Google-map the location of the apartment where Mr. C. passed – you provided the picture for us, of course! Lynn

  3. Melissa says:

    Okay, I give up…why was Ramona lyricist L. Wolfe Gilbert moved from Hillside to FL-Cathedral City? The selling of his Hillside crypt for profit? Family relocated and FL was more convenient? A better and more entertaining view? Just a late night/early morning thot.
    Anyone know the answer? – Allan

  4. Another great Hollywood tale, brought vividly to life. I will visit Mr Carewe next stop. Thank you, Allan, for another job well done.
    Thanks Steve. – Allan

  5. Landman says:

    This is only 69 years too late. Why would it take that long to place a marker? Allan, you take the sharpest pictures. All the photo’s you take are excellent. I will have a lot to see the next time I visit LA . Once again Sir, your blog is the best!!!!!!

  6. Dave Catlin says:

    It is nice to see that someone cared enough to update the grave site of my grandfather. Now, I will have a place to go and visit him in memory. There is also a film, currently in production, that profiles the life and times of Edwin Carewe and his legacy. It is slated for release later this year or early next year.

  7. Arthur Carewe says:

    I am a grandson of Edwin Carewe, my father was William Edwin. I had been informed 2 years ago, by my oldest son Adam, of his Hollywood Forever unmarked grave site. On a trip to Los Angeles with my youngest son, Tyler, last year we went to Hollywood Forever and had them show us the unmarked site. While we were there I couldn’t get over the fact that there wasn’t a grave stone! I am the one who designed the marker and had it installed in its rightful place.
    Hello Mr. Carewe, thank you for letting everyone know about this and thank you for marking your grandfather. Many people into film history are thrilled. — Allan

  8. Adam Carewe says:

    The reason why it took 69 years was that our family had no idea where he was buried. I am the great grandson of Edwin Carewe and found the cemetery location last year while doing a search of our relative. My grandpa was William Edwin Carewe and my father who also left a post above visited the grave site while on business and purchased the stone to mark the place of his grandfather. Thanks for the great story of our ancestor!
    You’re welcome and thank you for marking your great-grandfather. We don’t see this happening very often. — Allan

  9. Mark Masek says:

    Allan, a fantastic and fascinating story, as always. And it’s so nice to read the comments of Mr. Carewe’s descendants, and so nice that they want to honor and remember him. Thank you to all.

  10. Harry Martin says:

    What a wonderful story all the way around!

  11. This is such good news. I remember, when I was working at Hollywood Forever, being so saddened that Edwin Carewe had no marker … now, from across the miles, I am thrilled that his grandson has shown such generosity and love for his famed granddad. See? Angels are in our midst everyday. This is a very heartwarming development.

  12. d.w. says:

    this is indeed an awesome story and that the family saw it too, and commented.
    Great Job Allan!!!!!!

  13. John D. Jones says:

    This is really great news! Allan – who do you have on your list of the “unmarked?” Are the 3 Moore brothers (Tom, Owen & Matt) all unmarked? Owen & Matt are at Calvary, right? Where is Tom?
    I don’t know where Tom is off hand. I will post a list of unmarked celebrities sometime. Thanks.

  14. Tom Slater says:

    Dear Carewe family members. It is great to learn more about your ancestor. I have done a lot of research and writing about screenwriter June Mathis, whom Ed Carewe started on her career. They did many films together at Metro in the teens, and Finis Fox is credited as co-screenwriter on several of the films. I have a copy of a letter Mathis sent to her family while in Rome to work on Ben-Hur dated March 3, 1924. In one line, she writes, “A strange circumstance – Rex and Ed Carewe were both in Paris when I was there. I saw ED., but did not see Rex; of course.” She and director Rex Ingram were not getting along at the time. Naturally, I would love to learn more about Mathis’s and Carewe’s work together. If you can provide any help, I would be very grateful.

  15. Diane Allen says:

    I too am a grandchild of Edwin Carewe! I am so touched that my cousin Art marked our Grandfather’s grave. It is beautiful Art, thank you. Diane Allen

  16. Thank you, Mr. Ellenberger, for such the excellent, sensitive and informative article and photographs.

    I am working with a group of concerned historians on an effort to get a preservation copy of Edwin Carewe’s “Ramona” (1928) back to an archive in the United States. Currently the only confirmed copy, which I have viewed, exists in the National Film Archive in Prague, Czech Republic. It is a very good film, and richly deserves to be revived at silent film festivals.

    I am hoping you can forward this request and my email address to members of the Carewe family so that if they choose to do so, they can add their voice in support of this cause. Thank you.
    Thank you I will forward your information to the family.

  17. Teri ORourke says:

    Does anyone have more information on Finis Fox, his brother? I am working on that side of the family “tree”.

  18. Raul Tovares says:

    I am researching the life of Dolores Del Rio and want to know if you have any documentation about Edwin Carewe’s college education. When I wrote to the registrars’ offices at the University of Texas and University of Missouri, both replied that they have no record of Carewe ever having attended. I also gave the name Jay Fox.
    By the way I enjoyed your bio of Ramon Novarro.

  19. Maureen Ely says:

    I have been going through family geneology and found a note my mother, Cecelia M Jones Nitchy wrote: Edwin Carewe was a patient of my grandfather, Dr. Cecil M. Jones. He was an Osteopath in Bevery Hills. He died in 1940 from a heart attack himself on June 21. Another note I found stated how pushed he was all the time as a doctor…Not much different than life in 2012…

  20. George Carewe says:

    I am also a grandson of Edwin Carewe, Arthur noted above is my brother, Adam is my nephew, Diane Allen is my cousin and David Catlin is also a cousin. David, Diane and I are working on a project to honor the life and times of Edwin Carewe and it is truly amazing what we are finding out about him. We plan to set up a website eventually with all of our findings. There is one thing we all ask, who is Winston Platt the nephew he was with when he passed. No one knows who he is?

  21. George Carewe says:

    We are real close to launching the website in memory of our grandfather. Most people would not know this, but he passed away when my father was only 10 years old, so none of us in this generation ever knew him or his wife, Mary Akin. This has been an interesting experience truly as a labor of love for our grandfather. My cousin, David Catlin, is the one who has spent 100’s of hours putting all of this together. We will publish the website information here when it is up so others can learn more about Edwin.

  22. Carolyn K. says:

    Will you contact the family’s and give them my email. If they are interested in Genealogy.
    To the descendents of Edwin Carewe (John Jay Fox), Frank Finis Fox, Wallace Ware Fox.
    I may have family information that possibly could help with their genealogy, if they don’t already have or know it.
    A Chickasaw researcher

  23. Teri O'Rourke says:

    I was so surprised to see more information on Edwin Carewe since the last time I worked on this family tree. IT was wonderful to see a picture of him posted and
    more history. I am hoping that I would be contacted also. My great aunt was married to Finis Fox and I would like to know more information about his brother. Also, I always had Violet Carewe as a child of his with a woman with the last name of Croft, along with a sibling Mary Jane. Both born in NY. I believe Violet changed her name to Rita Mae Fox Carewe. It is all one fabulous wonderful puzzle of a very talented family and it is great we are finding out more about it all.

  24. Saskia Raevouri says:

    Edwin Carewe’s last film was Are We Civilized? and I have published a book of correspondence about the making of this film, in 1934. This information was found in the archives of the screenwriter, Harold Sherman. It contains some anecdotal bits about Carewe and Finis Fox and their families. I have been in contact with Dave Catlin and look forward to the new website honoring Carewe. By the way, about 10 years ago I purchased rights to the film from the Library of Congress, who have preserved it, and it can be viewed in its entirety on http://www.archive.org.

    The Kindle book is here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009UWR7WS

  25. Saskia Raevouri says:

    P.S. I actually still have an earlier version of the book available free at archive.org. It contains many images that will be of interest. I will be removing it soon, but until then, here is the link:

  26. Angela Aleiss, Ph.D. says:

    I mentioned Edwin Carewe in my book “Making the White Man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies” (2005) Carewe and his two brothers Finis Fox (a writer/director) and Wallace Fox (a writer/producer/director) all appear on the 1907 Chickasaw rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes. They are all listed as 1/16 Chickasaw (i.e., recognized by the Chickasaw as members but they did not have the requisite 1/4 to be federally recognized). I have in my notes that Edwin was married three times, twice to Mary Akin. Although he wasn’t the first Native American director–James Young Deer (Nanticoke) began directing shorts in 1910–we can say that Carewe was the most prolific Native director in Hollywood. According to my notes, he directed more than 60 features.

  27. John Bickler says:

    With so many friends, discoveries, family members, how was it possible no one wanted to invest in a marker? Always makes me wonder – –

  28. Adrienne O'Donoghue Sion says:

    I am an American from Bethesda, MD. I am married to Frenchman and have lived in Normandy, France for 24 years. I am very involved with assisting WWII veteran families make the journey to the D-DAY beaches. I have recently come across a box of photos & documents to Roosevelt. In the collection are many documents related to Mary Akin and Edwin Carewe. I have enjoyed researching this family. If these documents are of interest to someone or could help in their personal research, please contact me: fineart@orange.fr

    1. 2 Original photos (portraits) of Mary Akin 1923
    2. Western Union Telegram from Victor Mansfield Shapiro sending congratulations to Mr and Mrs Edwin Carewe, (5360 Melrose Ave) for the birth of Edwin Gilbert…with kiss to ‘kiddie’s sister’. Sept 6, 1927
    3. Photo of Gene Kelly signed
    4. Photo of Rossano Brazzi as Antaeus Riakos and Lana Turner as Tracy Carlyle Hastings “The Survivors” by Harold Robbins
    5. Original Photo: “Head Men” Gary Cooper, Harry Fishbeck, Edwin Carawe, Bob Lee…it is noted on back of photo that “Fischbeck was accused of dressing up for the phot..but he insisted it was only because he was cold and not vain”.
    6. Original phot from a Show with many dancers & a director in a Eiffel Tower setting in Paris.
    7. Origianl Photo of 6 American Indians (in costume) with many 8 men in suits and 3 women…1920s
    8. Signed “Best Wishes, Gene Autry” Color image of Gene Autry with horse
    9.Origninal Photo of an actress in black with dagger….1920s
    10. Original (candid) Photo of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt with his 13 Grandchildren at the time of the fourth term inauguration. Photo taken Jan 20, 1945
    11. Original (candid) Photo of Harry S. Truman signing in as President of the US in the cabinet room of the White House. Present in photo: Pres of Navy, FORRESTAL; Sect. Agriculture: WICKARD; Attorney Gen: BIDDLE; Sect of Treasury: MORGANTHEU; Sect of State: STETTINIUS; Mrs Truman; Chief Justice STONE; War Mobilization Director: VINSON; House Minority Leader: MARTIN
    12. Letter from “WILLIAM C. DE MILLE PRODUCTIONS, INC to MISS MARY AKIN referring to a meeting and her photos and a test that Mary took. Dated Oct 31, 1923 and signed

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