J. Searle Dawley

Biography

American filmmaker J. Searle Dawley, directed many silent films. He started out in the theater working as an actor, producer and playwright. In 1907, he began working for the Edison company advising director Edwin S. Porter on how to deal with actors. Eventually, Dawley became Porter's assistant director and was usually placed in charge of overseeing the acting and dramatic continuity while Porter focused on the action scenes. It was in one of their 1907 films, Eagle's Nest that D.W. Griffith got his start as an actor. While with Edison and Porter's independent studio, Dawley directed close to 300 one-reelers. In 1912, Porter and Dawley signed to Famous Players. With this move came a promotion and Dawley became an executive assistant, creative consultant, and finally, a full-fledged director who went on to work with some of the era's biggest stars, including John Barrymore and Mary Pickford. Dawley retired in the mid 1920s. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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