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March 23, 2023

20 Rare Photos of a Young Cullen Landis in the 1920s

Born 1896 in Nashville, Tennessee, American actor and director Cullen Landis began working in the fledgling film industry at age 18 around the time his older sister, Margaret Landis, appeared in her first film.

Landis began as a movie director, only turning to acting after his lead player broke a leg and it was discovered that the actor’s costumes fit him. He went on to become one of the more popular lead actors of the silent era, appearing in some one hundred films over 14 years.

In 1928, Landis starred in the first ‘all talking’ motion picture, Lights of New York. He confided in a friend that talkies were perfect for musicals and that he was no “song and dance man”. He left Hollywood for Detroit in 1930 to produce and direct industrial films for automobile companies. In 1937, he joined the directorial staff of the Jam Handy Picture Service, where he finished his professional career.

During World War II, Landis served as a captain with US Army Signal Corps producing training films in the South Pacific. By war’s end he was twice decorated and promoted to major. In the postwar years he made documentaries for the US State Department that took him to the far corners of the world.

Landis died in 1975, aged 79, at a nursing home in Bloomfield, Michigan, three months after the death of his wife. Take a look at these vintage photos to see portraits of a young Cullen Landis in the 1920s.


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