James Cruze

James Cruze

Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA
Death 3 Aug 1942 (aged 58)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Abbey of the Psalms, Foyer Niche 211, Tier 2
Memorial ID 5467 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Motion Picture Director and Actor. A popular leading man of the 1910s, he became a leading filmaker in the 1920s. Cruze earned his place in Hollywood history as the director of the first epic western, "The Covered Wagon" (1923). Meticulous in its historical reconstruction, it not only influenced future westerns but other period dramas and even documentaries. The son of a Mormon family of Danish descent, he was born Jens Vera Cruz Bosen near Ogden, Utah. At 16 he ran away from home and worked as a fisherman in the Bering Strait to pay for drama school. Following a stint on Broadway with the famed Belasco company, he joined the Thanhouser studio in 1909 and starred in such films as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1911), "The Star of Bethlehem" (1912), "Cymbeline" (1913), and the serial "The Million Dollar Mystery" (1914). He turned to directing in 1918. In this capacity he first gained note with a series of comedies starring Fatty Arbuckle, several of which were withdrawn when the Arbuckle scandal broke in 1921. Versatile but uneven, Cruze alternated commercial chores with more prestigious and experimental films; his overall achievement is tough to assess because much of his most important work is now lost. Among his later credits are the surrealistic fantasies "Hollywood" (1923) and "Beggars on Horseback" (1925); another superior western, "The Pony Express" (1925); the historical spectacle "Old Ironsides" (1926); two episodes of the famous omnibus comedy "If I Had a Million" (1932); and the grittily realistic dramas "I Cover the Waterfront" (1933) and "The Gangs of New York" (1938). Cruze was married to actress Marguerite Snow from 1914 to 1922 and to actress Betty Compson from 1924 to 1930. For years a heavy drinker, Cruze suffered a heart attack in 1938 and was forced into retirement.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

Family Members




How famous was James Cruze?

Current rating:

42 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 15 May 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5467
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Cruze (27 Mar 1884–3 Aug 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5467, citing Hollywood Forever, Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .