[image courtesy The Loudest Voice]
1. Robert House Peters was born on March 12, 1880 in Bristol, England. He didn't stay put long, traveling extensively as a young man; he sailed to China, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Central Africa (where he served in the Boer War) before returning to the land of his birth.
2. He was already a well-known stage actor both in England and the US when he was chosen to enter pictures, by Jesse Lasky himself. His first film was IN THE BISHOP'S CARRIAGE (1913), opposite Mary Pickford. Not a bad intro to movies!
[image courtesy Please Pass the Popcorn]
3. Became a very popular star of the teens, and was billed as "The Star of a Thousand Emotions". Unfortunately, those emotions were always of the "good guy", which he lamented:
I've always got to be the He-ro. I don't mind rescuing the lovely maiden -- that's fair enough; but why must I always be condemned to marry the heroine, pay off the mortgage, and live happy everafter? I tell you it gets to be monotonous. What do they think I am -- a Mormon?
[Allen Corliss, "They Won't Let Him Be Bad", Photoplay, August 1916]
4. His biggest film was THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST (1915), but after that, his career backslid. He tried for a comeback in the early 20s, but by 1928 House Peters was effectively finished. His last film was from that same year -- ROSE MARIE, starring Joan Crawford. He came out of retirement for one movie in the 1950s, which brings us to #5...
5. He married in 1914, and had three children: Ian and Patricia, who dabbled a bit in film, and House Peters Jr, who worked extensively in B-movies and TV spots throughout the 1950s and 60s. The vast majority of his resume was Westerns, one of which -- THE OLD WEST (1952) -- starred him alongside his father. However, House Peters Jr is best known for one particular role he held from the late 50s to the early 60s: the original portrayer of Mr Clean.
[image courtesy The National Enquirer (I know!)]
House Peters passed away in 1967. His son died in 2008.