Posts Tagged ‘Winston Platt’

Edwin Carewe Marked at Hollywood Forever

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

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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