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Maurice Costello

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Years active  1905 - 1945
Name  Maurice Costello
Role  Actor

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Full Name  Maurice George Costello
Born  February 22, 1877 (1877-02-22) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Resting place  Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles
Occupation  actor, director, screenwriter
Died  October 29, 1950, Hollywood, California, United States
Spouse  Ruth Reeves (m. 1939–1941), Mae Costello (m. 1902–1927)
Children  Dolores Costello, Helene Costello
Parents  Thomas Costello, Ellen Fitzgerald Costello
Movies  A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, The Crimson Stain Mys, The Doughgirls, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Similar People  Mae Costello, Dolores Costello, Helene Costello, John Drew Barry, Georgiana Drew

It All Came Out in the Wash

Maurice George Costello (February 22, 1877 – October 29, 1950) was a prominent American vaudeville actor of the late 1890s and early 1900s, who later played a principal role in early American films, as leading man, supporting player and director.


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Life and career

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Costello was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Irish immigrants Ellen (née Fitzgerald; born 1853) and Thomas Costello (born 1852). He appeared in his first motion picture in 1905, in which he had the honour of appearing in the first serious film to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes in the movie Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in which Costello played the title role. He continued to work for Vitagraph, being a member of the first motion picture stock company ever formed, playing opposite Florence Turner. Among some of his best known pictures are A Tale of Two Cities, The Man Who Couldn't Beat God and For the Honor of the Family. After an absence of some years he returned to the screen. He was married to actress Mae Costello (née Altschuk). His descendants include two daughters, actresses Dolores Costello and Helene Costello, a grandson John Drew Barrymore, and a great granddaughter Drew Barrymore. He was one of the world's first leading men in early American cinema, but like a lot of other silent screen stars, he found the transition to "talkies" extremely difficult, and his leading man status was over. However, Costello was a trouper, and continued to appear in movies, often in small roles and bit parts, right up until his death in 1950.

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On November 23, 1913, Costello was arrested for beating his wife Mae. On November 25, 1913, Costello admitted that he had beaten his wife while intoxicated. Mae Costello requested that the charges be dropped to disorderly conduct, and Costello was given six months probation by Magistrate Geisner of the Coney Island Police Court.

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Maurice Costello also discovered Moe, of the Three Stooges (Moses Harry Horwitz), who, as a teenager, ran errands and got lunches for the actors at the Vitagraph Studios at no charge. This impressed Costello who brought him in and introduced him to other leading actors of the day. Moe then gained small parts in many of the Vitagraph movies but most of these were destroyed by fire that swept the studios in 1910.

Costello died at the age 73 in 1950 in Los Angeles, California and was interred at Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles, a Catholic cemetery.

Selected filmography

  • Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; or, Held for Ransom (1905)
  • Antony and Cleopatra (1908)
  • Les Misérables (1909)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (1909)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (1911)
  • As You Like It (1912)
  • Mr. Barnes of New York (1914)
  • The Crimson Stain Mystery (1916)
  • The Captain's Captain (1919)
  • Deadline at Eleven (1920)
  • Conceit (1921)
  • The Glimpses of the Moon (1923)
  • Man and Wife (1923)
  • Fog Bound (1923)
  • Let Not Man Put Asunder (1924)
  • Week End Husbands (1924)
  • Virtuous Liars (1924)
  • The Story Without a Name (1924)
  • The Mad Marriage (1925)
  • Camille (1926)
  • Johnny Get Your Hair Cut (1927)
  • Eagle of the Night (1928)
  • Search for Beauty (1934)
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) (uncredited)
  • The Roaring Twenties (1939) (uncredited)
  • Lady from Louisiana (1941)
  • The Glass Key (1942)
  • References

    Maurice Costello Wikipedia