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 Elmer Clifton

Elmer Clifton

Birth
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 15 Oct 1949 (aged 59)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Tranquility, Lot 152
Memorial ID 7257781 · View Source
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Motion Picture Director, Actor. Born in Chicago, he was an actor in touring stock companies before making his screen debut in 1912. Joining D.W. Griffith's Fine Arts Studio in 1914, he was cast as Union officer Phil Stoneman in "The Birth of a Nation" (1915) and as The Rhapsodie in the Babylonian story of "Intolerance" (1916). He was also a second-unit director for those films. Promoted to director in 1917, Clifton supervised several successful Fine Arts comedies starring Dorothy Gish while continuing to serve as Griffith's assistant. Their association culminated with the blockbuster "Way Down East" (1920). Clifton shot much of its famous "Rescue from the ice" sequence and doubled for star Richard Barthelmess in the riskier scenes. He then left Griffith to form his own production company and had a smash hit with "Down to the Sea in Ships" (1922), a colorful whaling saga made on location in New England. It made a star of future "It Girl" Clara Bow, who appeared as a cross-dressing stowaway. In 1923 Clifton signed a lucrative seven-year contract with Fox and was poised to become one of Hollywood's major directors. Then tragedy struck. He was filming "The Warrens of Virginia" in Texas when his lead actress, Martha Mansfield, died from burns in an accident on the set. Although Clifton was blameless in the incident, he was fired by Fox and his career never regained its momentum. By the 1930s he was churning out potboilers for the most impoverished of Hollywood's Poverty Row studios. Movie trivia fans may remember Clifton as being inadvertantly responsible for actress Ida Lupino's directing debut. He suffered a stroke during production of the independent feature "Not Wanted" (1949), prompting Lupino (who was also the film's producer) to take over the reins. He died shortly afterwards. His last completed film, "The Silver Bandit", was released in 1950. Clifton's other directing credits include "The Flame of Youth" (1917), "Six Cylinder Love" (1923), "The Wreck of the Hesperus" (1927), "Let 'Er Go Gallegher" (1928), "Gambling With Souls" (1936), and the serial "Captain America" (1944).

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: A.J.
  • Added: 12 Mar 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7257781
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elmer Clifton (14 Mar 1890–15 Oct 1949), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7257781, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .