House Peters’ Beginnings

HOLLYWOOD BEGINNINGS

House Peters

 

 

House Peters is not a name that many remember today. Peters, a handsome stage actor, moved to the screen in 1913 eventually making more than 50 films over 40 years. In 1963 he told a reporter how he started in the business. Peters died at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, California, in 1967 and his ashes were spread in the Pacific Ocean. 

 

By House Peters

 

“Gardening is my hobby. I read a lot too, but my eyesight is getting bad. I started life as Robert House Peters, and on the stage I was billed simply, R. H. Peters.

 

“But after I was hired by Adolph Zukor for motion picture work around 1914, he suggested I change my name. Zukor thought too many actors of the day were named Robertes and so to distinquish me from the rest he insisted that I use the name House Peters.

 

“I didn’t care particularly — not, that is, until an ingenue passed me on the lot and greeted me: ‘Good morning, Mr. Bungalow,’ she said.

 

“I was born in Bristol, England in the Thunderbolt Inn, which was owned by my father. My father was a publican and, no doubt, a sinner. I travelled the world acting on stages in such divergent areas as South Africa and Australia. When I reached New York, I was hired to play the part of ‘silly Englishman’ in a vaudeville sketch about a baseball hero named Swat Mulligan.

 

“I had only a few minutes to study my lines before I went on stage in the theater at New Rochelle. The lines of the skit called for the other actors to chorus, ‘Where’s Swats?’

 

“I was supposed to reply, ‘He’s gone to first base,’ but I forgot the line and said instead, ‘He’s gone to the corner.’ The audience roared. The line was left in the skit that way from then on. Boseman Bulgar, who had written the skit told me, ‘I wish I had thought of that line.’

 

“After Zukor hired me, I had no work assignments for four weeks. I was ashamed to go down the fifth week and pick up my check. But soon after that I was starred opposite Mary Pickford in In the Bishop’s Carriage (1913), which was filmed in New York.”

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One Response to “House Peters’ Beginnings”

  1. Harry Martin says:

    No wonder he got cast — handsome guy

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