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William Haines

Born Jan. 1, 1900, in Staunton, Va. Born in a well-to-do family, Haines was somewhat of a rebel in his youth and ran away from home at age 14. He worked in a powder factory, helped run a dance hall, worked in a rubber company and worked in a dry goods store. In 1920, he was in New York working part of this time as a bookkeeper. He entered a "New Faces" contest which he and Eleanor Boardman won. In 1922, he was sent to California to make films for the Goldwyn studio. He made five films for Goldwyn, one of which was the Elinor Glyn sexy romance "Three Weeks," before being borrowed by Columbia for his first starring role in "The Midnight Express." Haines was also used by Universal prior to the merging of Goldwyn with Metro to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Haines' star began to rise rapidly with good roles in first-class movies such as "Wine of Youth" (1924) with Eleanor Boardman, "So This is Marriage?" (1924) with Eleanor Boardman, "Tower of Lies" (1925) with Lon Chaney, and "Little Annie Rooney" (1925) with Mary Pickford. Finally, in 1926, he was starred in "Brown of Harvard" as a breezy, arrogant college athlete, the type of role he seemed to become identified with and portrayed so well. "Tell It to the Marines" (1926) was a Lon Chaney picture all the way around, but Haines, in the second lead as a young recruit who gets his come-uppance, did an outstanding job. By the way, this picture, once again, teamed him with Eleanor Boardman. "Slide, Kelly, Slide" (1927) cashed in on the baseball craze, and "West Point" (1928) which cast him as an arrogant cadet who changes his ways. One of his best roles was actually in support of Marion Davies in "Show People" (1928) in which there was less of the traditional arrogant portrayal and, instead, portraying the suppportive boyfriend to Davies. His first talkie was "Navy Blues" (1929), one of five films he made with Anita Page. The type of arrogant, brash, self-confident character that Haines has cashed in on so well didn't work as well in sound films, and he made his last film in 1934 before turning to interior decorating. It is well known that Haines was a homosexual, and he and his partner, Jimmie Shields, lived together from the twenties until Haines death March 6, 1974.

Selected films of this star available for viewing:

Little Annie Rooney (1925)

Brown of Harvard (1926)

Tell It To the Marines (1926)

Show People (1928)

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