D.W. Griffith

  • Celebrity
  • Birth Name: David Wark Griffith
  • Birth Place: La Grange, Kentucky, United States
  • Died: July 23, 1948
  • Profession: Director, Screenwriter, Producer, Actor
Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on

Fast Facts

  • In the 1890s, toured as a stage actor with regional companies.
  • Joined the Biograph motion picture studio in 1908, where he was given the opportunity to direct and was so successful that he went on to direct almost all of the hundreds of films that the company produced.
  • Invented editing techniques such as crosscutting, parallel montage, and rapid editing and developed the practice of filming out of sequence.
  • Built a stable of acting talent that launched stars such as Mary Pickford, Mae Marsh, Robert Harron, and Dorothy and Lillian Gish.
  • In 1913, left Biograph, taking his acting ensemble with him, because the studio refused to follow the trend toward multi-reel, feature-length films.
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915), the Civil War epic for which he is best known, was criticized as racist at the same time that it was praised as a masterwork of filmmaking technique, offering almost three hours of affecting performances and impressive battle scenes woven together by rapid-fire editing.
  • Countered The Birth of a Nation with his next picture, Intolerance (1916), which broke new cinematic ground by intercutting four different stories, from four different time periods, to illustrate the history of injustice in the world.
  • In 1919, partnered with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin to found United Artists, where he produced Dream Street (1921), the first American feature with synchronized sound.
  • Sold his share in United Artists after a string of financial failures, but returned to the studio to make 1931's The Struggle, a low-budget drama about alcoholism that bombed and effectively ended his career, becoming the last of the 530-odd films that he directed.

Awards

  • 1935, Oscar — Special Award: Winner

Relationships

  • Linda Arvidson — Ex-wife
  • Evelyn Baldwin — Ex-wife
  • Jacob Griffith — Father
  • Mary Oglesby — Mother

Details

  • Birth Name: David Wark Griffith
  • Birth Place: La Grange, Kentucky, United States
  • Died: July 23, 1948
  • Profession: Director, Screenwriter, Producer, Actor

Trending TonightSee all »