Children Claude Gillingwater Jr.
|Name Claude Gillingwater|
Years active 1918-1939
|Born August 2, 1870 (1870-08-02) Louisiana, Missouri, U.S.|
Died November 1, 1939, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Spouse Carlyn Kaeferle Strelitz (m. 1905–1937)
Parents James E. Gillingwater, Lucy Gillingwater
Movies The Prisoner of Shark Isla, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Poor Little Rich Girl, Just Around the Corner, Barbed Wire
Similar People Irving Cummings, Alfred E Green, Lloyd Bacon, Albert Austin, Mauritz Stiller
Claude Benton Gillingwater (August 2, 1870 – November 1, 1939) was an American stage and screen actor. He first appeared on the stage then in 92 films between 1918 and 1939, including the Academy Award-nominated A Tale of Two Cities (1935) and Conquest (1937). He appeared in several films starring Shirley Temple, beginning with Poor Little Rich Girl (1936).
Gillingwater was born in Louisiana, Missouri. Though he studied law, he preferred not to follow in his father's footsteps and become a lawyer. He became a travelling salesman for a wholesale firm, selling vinegar. While thus engaged he seized the opportunity of filling a vacancy in a small theatrical company with David Belasco. Eight years later, Mary Pickford saw him acting and secured him for her picture, Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921), which started off his film career.
In later years, Gillingwater played a few more curmudgeonly character roles. His best-known role is probably Jarvis Lorry in A Tale of Two Cities (1935). He also appeared in Mississippi (1935) and The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936). He proved to be an excellent crabapple foil for 20th Century-Fox moppet star Shirley Temple in Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) and subsequently appeared in Just Around the Corner (1938) and Little Miss Broadway (1938).
Later years and death
A serious accident while filming Florida Special (1936) in which he fell from a platform and injured his back damaged his health and threatened his career. The "Florida Special" accident on the set at Paramount Studios in February 1936, left him never fully recovered. This, along with the April 22, 1937 death by heart attack of his long-time wife Carlyn, left him depressed.
On November 1, 1939, a housekeeper found Gillingwater dead on a chair inside a closet of his Beverly Hills, California home from a self-inflicted bullet wound to the chest. A suicide note stated he was worried about his failing health and the possibility of becoming an invalid. He did not want to become a burden to anyone, so he chose to take his own life. The death of the 69-year-old actor was ruled a suicide. His son, Claude Gillingwater, Jr., was also an actor. His cremated remains were interred at the Columbarium of Prayer, Niche 10628, in The Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.