Jean Hersholt

Jean Hersholt

Original Name Jean Pierre Carl Buron
Copenhagen, Kobenhavns Kommune, Hovedstaden, Denmark
Death 2 Jun 1956 (aged 69)
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Just outside the Great Mausoleum
Memorial ID 2087 · View Source
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Actor. He received world-wide acclaimed as a Danish-American actor in the 20th Century. Starting in Hollywood in 1916 with silent black and white films and ending in 1955 with the Technicolor film, “Run for Cover,” he was credited with 125 roles. In 1921 he had the role of Professor Von Hartoh in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” starring Rudolph Valentino, and another successful part in the 1924 film, “Greed,” which some film archivists consider to be the “Holy Grail” of silent movies. Between 1920 and 1922, he was credited as director of six films and the producer of one. He usually conveyed in the roles as an older, well-mannered, intelligent gentleman. Overcoming a pronounced Danish accent, he transitioned successfully from the silent film era to the “talkies” by 1930. His most notable role could be the grandfather to child actor Shirley Temple's character in the 1937 film “Heidi.” Born Jean Pierre Carl Buron Hershot, his parents were well-known Danish actors, and as a child, he traveled around Europe learning acting techniques. Before leaving Denmark, he had roles in a couple films including the 1906 film, “Professor's Morning Newspaper.” After arriving in Hollywood, California, he worked for several studios including Goldwyn, Paramount and RKO. His debut was as an extra in the 1915 film “The Disciple.” In the 1936 movie “The Country Doctor”, starring the Dionne Quintuplets, he had the role of Dr. John Luke, which was based on the Canadian obstetrician who delivered the quintuplets. Based on the character “Dr. John Luke,” he co-author a novel about the soft-hearted character of “Dr. Christian.” This led to playing “Dr. Christian” on radio programs from November 7, 1937 through January 6, 1954. The “Dr. Christian” role became a great success for him with six films being made about the character between 1939 to 1941, and although he did not play the role as he was battling cancer, the character of “Dr. Christian” was brought to television in 1956. As a scholar of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, he translated 169 fairy tales by Andersen into English, which are in the United States Library of Congress. For this endeavor, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog by the Danish royalty in 1948. In 1949 the fairy tales were published in six volumes. During World War II, he founded the Danish-American Relief Society and provided radio programs broadcasting in Nazi-occupied Denmark. From 1945 to 1949, he was the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was the founder and president for eighteen years of the Motion Picture Relief Fund, which was a fund that provided for actors in dire need of medical care, a residence for the aging and a hospital. This generosity led to the creation in 1956 of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Academy Award given to an “individual in the motion picture industry who humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” Some of the recipients of this award have been Martha Raye, Bob Hope, Charlton Heston, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Jerry Lewis, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolee. He was honored with two Stars on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame: For films, on the north side of the 6500 block and for radio on the north side of the 6700 block. He loved dogs, especially the breed of Chow. He married Petra Via Andersen, and the couple had two sons, both became actors. His wife's nephew was actor Leslie Nielsen.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2087
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jean Hersholt (12 Jul 1886–2 Jun 1956), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2087, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .