Raymond Griffith (Raymond Griffith)

Raymond Griffith

Actor. One of the forgotten silent comedians, it is said that he would have a greater reputation if more of his surviving films were easily available and being distributed commercially. When he began acting, it wasn’t his aim to become a comedian; his gradual venture into more and more comedic roles was something that happened over time. He was from a theatrical family, and was first seen onstage at the tender age of fifteen months. During childhood he had suffered from respiratory diphtheria, something which had weakened his vocal chords and left them very susceptible to further damage in the future. This came to pass during rehearsals for the stage show “The Witching Hour,” in which he was playing one of the juvenile leads. This role called for him to scream loudly and in terror, over and over again, and he screamed one time too many. His voice was gone, and by the time he had recovered from being a mute, the voice that returned hovered only at about the level of a whisper for the rest of his life. Understandably, this devastated his chances at becoming a successful stage actor. After this setback to his acting career, the young boy began working in the circus, as a dancer and a dance teacher, and on a vaudeville tour of Europe with a group of French mimes. When he was old enough, he also joined the Navy for two years, although there was only so much use he could be put to there because of his vocal injuries. In 1915 he began to act in motion pictures, at first playing serious roles. Later on he began playing characters who weren’t intended as comedic but who got into situations that would frequently border on or merge into comedy nonetheless. Eventually his talent for comedy was recognized, and he was put into fully-fledged comedies. His trademark was a tall silk hat. In 1928 he took a break from the screen to marry Bertha Mann and to go on an extended European honeymoon with her. Tragically, their firstborn child, Raymond, Jr., was a stillborn, but they went on to have two more children, one biological (Michael) and another adopted (Patricia). By the time Griffith returned to the screen, sound had come in, which rendered his career all but over. However, he made sure that his final acting role would end his career with a bang. He played the part of a dying French soldier in the 1930 classic All Quiet on the Western Front, a part which was tailor-made for him because this character too had a very low voice due to injuries of his own. After his unforgettable swan song, he turned his hand to directing motion pictures and continuing to be devoted to his family. He and his wife were dining out at the Masquers Club in Los Angeles when he suddenly began to choke on his food and died of asphyxia at the age of sixty-two. (bio by: Carrie-Anne)  Family links:  Spouse:  Bertha Mann (1893 – 1967)


  • January, 23, 1895
  • USA


  • November, 11, 1957
  • USA


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
  • California
  • USA

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