Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. entered the world on December 9th, 1909 the only son of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and Anna Beth Sully. Growing up proved difficult, as a result of having to stand under the limelight of his father's successful acting career. Battling obesity and self-esteem issues were common…more
These are the schools Douglas attended:
Bovee Art School New York, New York.
Collegiate School New York, New York.
Knickerbocker Greys New York, New York.
Pasadena Polytechnic Pasadena, California.
Harvard Military Academy Los Angeles, California.
Douglas's daughter, Melissa Fairbanks used to be married to British actor, Richard Morant.
Douglas wrote two books. The first one is called The Salad Days (Hardcover 1988) This book is the first volume of his autobiography. It spans the twenties and thirties and ends in 1941, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent him and his wife Mary Lee on a fact-finding tour of South America just before the United States entered the second World War. His second book, A Hell of a War (Hardcover March 1993) is the second volume of his autobiography. In it he covers his career as a US Naval Officer, from six weeks prior to Pearl Harbor to the end of the second World War. In the book he downplays his military achievements and mentions his struggle to convince the military that he wasn't a spoiled son of a famous movie star.
Douglas began dating Joan Crawford during the filming of Our Modern Maidens. They got married on the 3rd of June, 1929 at City Hall in New York City. Douglas was underage and therefore added one year to his birth year, changing it to 1908. Joan Crawford took off three years from her age so that they would have the same year of birth registered. After their marriage while in London, Douglas became active in society and politics while Joan remained busy with her career and became involved with Clark Gable. Douglas and Joan divorced in 1933. Regardless of their divorce, Douglas remained on friendly terms with Joan throughout her life.
Douglas was sent to Rear Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten's Combined Operations Headquarters in London in the summer of 1942. Afterwards he was ordered by Mountbatten to duties as Commander of Flotilla of Amphibious Raiding Craft in raids across the English Channel. He was the only American officer assigned there. In 1945, he was promoted to full Commander. In 1952 he was became a Captain in the Naval Reserve.
Douglas became an officer in the Naval Reserve before the United States entered the second World War. As a lieutenant commander, he served aboard the U.S.S. Ludlow, U.S.S. Mississippi, U.S.S. Wichita, U.S.S. Washington, and U.S.S. Wasp.
Douglas was stirred by the predicament of the British people during the Blitz and organized and financed a relief operation called Douglas Voluntary Hospitals in the United Kingdom. The relief operation was later absorbed by St. Johnâs Ambulance Brigade and the British Red Cross.
Douglas had three daughter from his marriage to his second wife, Mary Lee Epling Hartford. Their names are Daphne, Victoria and Melissa.
Douglas was identified as the so-called headless man pictured naked with the Duchess of Argyll in photographs which emerged at her sensational divorce trial in 1963. Douglas always denied it was him in the photographs.
Douglas frequently entertained Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in his "The Boltons" London mansion.
Douglas had affairs with Marlene Dietrich, Gertrude Lawrence and Tallulah Bankhead.
In addition to being a gifted actor, Douglas managed a mining company, a hotel group, a chain of bowling alleys, a pop corn making firm and a movie and TV company.
Douglas received a Silver Star and the Legion of Merit with V for valor in combat device from the U.S. government for his combat service in PT boats and gunboats.
In 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Douglas a special envoy to South America.
In 1949 Douglas was created an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Douglas is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in same crypt with his father.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was the son of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. the silent era swashbuckling idol.
Douglas: (on Joan Crawford, his first wife) So many dreadful things have recently been written about Joan Crawford!. But the girl I knew was enchanting and terribly nice. I refused to read her stepdaughter's book, Mommie Dearest, because when I learned what it was about, it seemed to be about someone I had never known. Joan and I were devoted and friendly right up to the end. It's true we had a very different view of things. You see, she was absolutely dedicated to her work, to her studio, to her career. Work was her only reality. Nothing else interested her. When we took a long-delayed honeymoon and traveled to London and Paris, she couldn't wait to get back to Culver City and M-G-M. I had many other interests. I loved to travel and had friends in all walks of life, but she didn't care for any of that. Finally, our temperaments just didn't jibe. The fact is, she was incredibly intense. I wasn't.
Douglas: (on his relationship with his father, Douglas Fairbanks Senior) I will confess that my father was never a father to me. He was more like an older brother. We were very, very shy of each other. He was very undemonstrative. There was never an embrace or a hug. And he was never around, he'd disappear for months on end. He'd never remember birthdays or Christmases. Occasionally, we'd meet in some hotel room, and he'd say, 'Hello,' and I'd say, 'Hello,' and that was that. It was only a few years before he died, in 1939, that we became friends. We even took a trip together and got to know each other a little better.
Douglas: (on taking up government assignments) Close friends and advisers warned me against taking on a government assignment. This was too radical a change of character for the public to accept, they said. It preferred its theatrical personalities to be that, and nothing else. An actor would be unacceptable in any diplomatic capacity because of a preconceived bias about show folk. Hence, it was argued that I might fail in any assigned mission, as well as damage my professional career at one and the same time; thus, falling between two stools. I made up my mind, however, that I could accomplish certain missions, and that the issues involved in the world at that time, it was some time before the last War, were far more important than any possible detrimental effect on my business. I would not, in my view, be true to myself if, so to speak, I played it safe. After a number of unpublicized assignments, I was summoned by President Roosevelt and accepted an appointment to come into the open as a presidential envoy on a special mission to certain Latin American countries. This first "open mission" was accomplished, and my subsequent public affairs activities did indeed affect my professional career, almost as predicted.
Douglas: (on his father) I never tried to emulate my father. Anyone trying to do that would be a second-rate carbon copy.
Douglas: (On The Prisoner of Zenda) In The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), I wasn't sure whether I should play the villain, Rupert of Hentzau, because I had been working for a long time and finally had contracts where I was a 'so-called' star and had my name above the title. I wondered if I should play the part because it was in support of Ronald Colman. I liked Colman; he was a friend of mine, and I admired him greatly. But I didn't know why professionally I should do something which was second-place. I mentioned it to my father, and he said, 'Don't be a damn fool. The part of Rupert of Hentzau is the best part ever written. It's so good that a dog could play the part and walk away with the story!'.
Douglas: (on producing his own work) My father was his own producer. I was only able to produce myself toward the end of my career. Before that I was just somebody getting a salary or a percentage. I was not my own producer for a long time, and even then I was limited in terms of budget and the kind of films I could make, but it was a different approach altogether.
Douglas: (on his father objecting to him appearing in films at the age of 13) I was exactly 13, and he was right. From his point of view, he was absolutely right. He didn't know that my mother had spent all the money that we had, from her own family and also as a result of the divorce, and so it was a question of necessity, and they didn't want him to know it, and he quite rightly thought I should go on to school and to university. I wasn't permitted to tell him the real reason for some time, and then it was too late.
Douglas: (on his relationship with Charlie Chaplin who was a friend of his father) He was wonderful to me. He didn't play down to me as so many older people do to a young person, sort of patronizingly. Not at all. He treated me as a friend and a supporter and an equal. Almost like an older brother.
Douglas: (on his favorite among Douglas Fairbanks Sr. films) I have several. I think Thief of Baghdad (1924) is probably one of the finest films ever made by anybody. It's a wonderful use of the medium of film; it's not a photographed stage play. It could only be done as a movie; it could never be done as a play, not in the same way, anyway. And I like Don Q (1925). I was a big fan. I thought he was a fine artist, he designed everything himself. He wasn't just the actor, he was the producer, the writer, the story was by him. He didn't take the credit; the credit said it was by Elton Thomas, but that was his middle name.