Ben Lyon
Ben Lyon was an American film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

 and a 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 studio executive.


Born in Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, Lyon entered films in 1918 after a successful appearance on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 opposite Jeanne Eagels
Jeanne Eagels
Jeanne Eagels was an American actress on Broadway and in several motion pictures. She was a former Ziegfeld Follies Girl who went on to greater fame on Broadway and in the emerging medium of sound films....

. He attracted attention in the highly successful film Flaming Youth
Flaming Youth
Flaming Youth can refer to:* Flaming Youth , a 1923 film starring Colleen Moore and Milton Sills* Flaming Youth , a 1960s British rock group* Flaming Youth , a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams...

(1923), and steadily developed into a leading man. He was most successfully paired with some of the leading actresses of the silent era including Pola Negri
Pola Negri
Pola Negri was a Polish stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles from the 1910s through the 1940s during the Golden Era of Hollywood film. She was the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood, and became a great American star. She...

, Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson was an American actress, singer and producer. She was one of the most prominent stars during the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon, especially under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille, made dozens of silents and was nominated for the first Academy Award in the...

, Colleen Moore
Colleen Moore
Colleen Moore was an American film actress, and one of the most fashionable stars of the silent film era.-Early life:...

, Barbara La Marr
Barbara La Marr
Barbara La Marr was an American stage and film actress, cabaret artist and screenwriter.La Marr was known as "The Girl Who Is Too Beautiful", after a Hearst newspaper feature writer, Adela Rogers St...

, Viola Dana
Viola Dana
Viola Dana was an American film actress who was successful during the era of silent movies.- Career :Born Virginia Flugrath, Dana was a child star, appearing on the stage at the age of three. She read Shakespeare and particularly identified with the teenage Juliet. She enjoyed a long run at the...

, Anna Q. Nilsson
Anna Q. Nilsson
Anna Quirentia Nilsson was a Swedish born American actress who achieved success in American silent movies.-Background:...

, Mary Astor
Mary Astor
Mary Astor was an American actress. Most remembered for her role as Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart, Astor began her long motion picture career as a teenager in the silent movies of the early 1920s.She eventually made a successful transition to talkies, but almost...

 and Blanche Sweet.

His greatest success as an actor came in 1930 with the film Hell's Angels
Hell's Angels (film)
Hell's Angels is a 1930 American war film, directed by Howard Hughes and starring Jean Harlow, Ben Lyon, and James Hall. The film, which was produced by Hughes and written by Harry Behn and Howard Estabrook, centers on the combat pilots of World War I...

. The film was a major success and brought Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow was an American film actress and sex symbol of the 1930s. Known as the "Blonde Bombshell" and the "Platinum Blonde" , Harlow was ranked as one of the greatest movie stars of all time by the American Film Institute...

 to prominence, but Lyon's performance as an heroic World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

 was also highly regarded. For the next decade he was constantly in demand, but his popularity began to wane by the early 1940s.

By the mid 1940s he was working for 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

. In 1946 he met a young aspiring actress named Norma Jeane Dougherty. After his first meeting with her he stated that she was "Jean Harlow all over again". He organised a color screen test for the actress, renamed her, and finally signed her as Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s....

 to her first studio contract.

In 1930 he married the actress Bebe Daniels
Bebe Daniels
Bebe Daniels was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer and producer. She began her career in Hollywood during the silent movie era as a child actress, became a star in musicals like 42nd Street, and later gained further fame on radio and television in Britain...

. Together they were a notable couple in show business society, and sometimes acted together, including a long-running BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

 show Hi Gang. Hi Gang was succeeded in 1950 by Life With The Lyons
Life With The Lyons
Life with The Lyons was a British radio and television domestic sitcom dating from the 1950s .-Overview:Life with The Lyons was unusual in that it featured a real-life American family...

, which also featured their real life son Richard and daughter Barbara
Barbara Lyon
Barbara Bebe Lyon was a singer of popular songs and actress, born in the United States but primarily active in the United Kingdom....

, and had a run on BBC and independent television from 1954 until 1960. When Daniels's health declined during the 1960s following a series of stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

s, Lyon cared for her until her death in 1971.

He then married the actress Marian Nixon
Marian Nixon
-Career:Born Marian Nissinen in Superior, Wisconsin, Nixon began her career as a teen working as a chorus dancer on the vaudeville circuit. She began appearing in bit part in films in 1922 and landed her first substantial role in the 1923 film Cupid's Fireman, opposite Buck Jones. The following...

. Lyon and Nixon were vacationing together on the QE2 cruise ship near Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Hawaii. Honolulu is the southernmost major U.S. city. Although the name "Honolulu" refers to the urban area on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu, the city and county government are consolidated as the City and...

, when Lyon suffered a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 and died. Nixon died in 1983.

Lyon was one of the many notable figures of Hollywood's silent film era interviewed for the documentary
Television documentary
Documentary television is a genre of television programming that broadcasts documentaries.* Documentary television series, a television series which is made up of documentary episodes....

 series Hollywood
Hollywood (documentary)
Hollywood is a 1980 documentary series produced by Thames Television which explored the establishment and development of the Hollywood studios and its impact on 1920s culture....

which was broadcast in 1980.

Ben Lyon has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

 for his contribution to motion pictures. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, originally called Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles, California. It is located at 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard in the Hollywood...


Selected filmography

  • The White Moth
    The White Moth (film)
    The White Moth ia a 1924 silent film drama produced and directed by Maurice Tourneur and distributed by First National Pictures. Barbara La Marr was the female lead supported by young Ben Lyon...

  • Lily of the Dust
    Lily of the Dust
    Lily of the Dust is a 1924 silent drama film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. This movie is based on the novel Das Hohe Lied by Hermann Sudermann and it's spawn, the Broadway play The Song of Songs by Edward Sheldon. It is a remake of a previous silent film...

  • Wine of Youth
    Wine of Youth
    Wine of Youth is a 1924 silent comedy-drama film directed by King Vidor, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, shortly after the merger which created MGM in April 1924...

  • For the Love of Mike
    For the Love of Mike
    For the Love of Mike was a 1927 American silent romantic drama film. Directed by Frank Capra, the film starred Claudette Colbert and Ben Lyon. The film is now considered to be a lost film....

  • Hell's Angels
    Hell's Angels (film)
    Hell's Angels is a 1930 American war film, directed by Howard Hughes and starring Jean Harlow, Ben Lyon, and James Hall. The film, which was produced by Hughes and written by Harry Behn and Howard Estabrook, centers on the combat pilots of World War I...

  • A Soldier's Plaything
    A Soldier's Plaything
    A Soldier's Plaything is a 1930 drama film directed by Michael Curtiz. Warners filmed this simultaneously in 35mm, and in a widescreen process called Vitascope, but it is uncertain whether the Vitascope version was ever released.-Cast:...

  • Indiscreet
    Indiscreet (1931 film)
    Indiscreet is an American comedy film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Gloria Swanson and Ben Lyon. The screenplay by Buddy G. DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson, based on their story Obey That Impulse, originally was written as a full-fledged musical, but only two songs - "If You Haven't...

  • Night Nurse
    Night Nurse (1931 film)
    Night Nurse is a 1931 Pre-Code, Prohibition-era, Warner Bros. crime drama and mystery film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell and Clark Gable. The film was considered risqué at the time of its release, particularly the scene where Stanwyck and...

  • Lady with a Past
    Lady with a Past
    Lady with a Past is a 1932 romantic comedy film starring Constance Bennett as a shy and very proper young lady who decides to invent a scandalous past for herself to spice up her life...

  • The Big Timer
    The Big Timer
    The Big Timer is a 1932 film about a boxer whose success goes to his head. It stars Ben Lyon, Constance Cummings, and Thelma Todd.-Cast:*Ben Lyon as Cooky Bradford*Constance Cummings as Honey Baldwin*Thelma Todd as Kay Mitchell*Tom Dugan as Catfish...

  • Week Ends Only
    Week Ends Only
    Week Ends Only is a 1932 film made by Fox Film Corporation, directed by Alan Crosland , and starring by Joan Bennett, Ben Lyon and John Halliday. The screenplay was written by William M...

  • The Crooked Circle
    The Crooked Circle (1932 film)
    The Crooked Circle is a 1932 American film, a comedy-mystery directed by H. Bruce Humberstone.In 1933, it became notable as the first feature film shown on television...

  • I Cover the Waterfront
    I Cover the Waterfront
    I Cover the Waterfront is a 1933 film, based on the book of the same name by Max Miller. The film was directed by James Cruze and stars Ben Lyon, Claudette Colbert, Ernest Torrance, and Hobart Cavanaugh.-Synopsis:...

  • The Women in His Life
    The Women in His Life
    -Cast:* Otto Kruger as Kent 'Barry' Barringer* Una Merkel as Miss 'Simmy' Simmons* Ben Lyon as Roger McKane* Isabel Jewell as Catherine 'Cathy' Watson* Roscoe Karns as Lester* Irene Hervey as Doris Worthing* C. Henry Gordon as Tony Perez...

  • I Killed the Count
    I Killed the Count
    I Killed the Count is a 1939 British, black-and-white, comedy, crime, mystery film, directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Ronald Shiner as Mullet, Ben Lyon, Syd Walker, Terence de Marney, Barbara Blair and Athole Stewart. It was produced by Grafton Films...

  • Confidential Lady
    Confidential Lady
    Confidential Lady is a 1939 British comedy drama film, directed by Arthur B. Woods and starring Ben Lyon and Jane Baxter. It is now classed as a lost film.-Plot:...

  • Hi Gang!
    Hi Gang! (film)
    Hi Gang! is a 1941 British comedy film directed by Marcel Varnel and starring Bebe Daniels, Ben Lyon and Vic Oliver. It was a spin-off from the popular radio series Hi Gang!.-Cast:* Bebe Daniels - The Liberty Girl* Ben Lyon - Her Other Half...

  • The Dark Tower
    The Dark Tower (1943 film)
    The Dark Tower is a 1943 film starring Herbert Lom, Anne Crawford, David Farrar and Ben Lyon.-Plot:Stephen Torg seeks work at a struggling traveling circus. While there, a lion escapes; Torg is able to control it with his skill at hypnotism. Phil Danton , the head of the circus, is so impressed,...


External links

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