Neil Hamilton

James Neil Hamilton was born September 9, 1899 in Lynn, MA. He was once a shirt model for magazine ads but soon became interested in acting and joined several stock companies. He later made his first film appearance in Vitagraph's "The Beloved Imposter" in 1918. His big break came when D.W. Griffith selected him for three of his films during the early twenties: "The White Rose" (1923), "Isn't Life Wonderful" (1924) and "America" (1924), all three with Griffith's mistress at the time, Carol Dempster. Hamilton was signed by Paramount Pictures in the mid-1920s appearing in two of their biggest production, "Beau Geste" (1926) and "The Great Gatsby" (1926), a lost film. He later worked for Fox, First National (co-starring with Colleen Moore in her last silent, "Why Be Good?" (1929)) and made an easy transition to sound. In the early days of sound, he continued to appear in significant roles in films such as "The Dawn Patrol" (1930), "Laughing Sinners" (1931) with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, "What Price Hollywood?" (1932) with Constance Bennett, and Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) and "Tarzan and His Mate" (1934) with Johnny Weismuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. Although he never regained the kind of star status he enjoyed in the 1920's, Hamilton worked regularly in films, but soon found himself in serials and low-budget productions by the 1940's. When television came along, Hamilton hosted Hollywood Screen Test (1948-1953), co-starred in the short-lived sitcom "That Wonderful Guy" with Jack Lemmon (1949-1950), and did guest shots on numerous series of the 1950s and '60s such as "Perry Mason," "77 Sunset Strip," "Maverick," "Mister Ed," "Bachelor Father," "Outer Limits" and more. During the late 1940s and early 1950s Hamilton performed on Broadway in several productions with stars such as Margaret Hamilton, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Montgomery. He also continued to appear in films and can be seen in three of Jerry Lewis' comedies. He is remembered by many today for his role as Commissioner Gordon the "Batman" series of the 1960's starring Adam West. Hamilton was married to Elsa Whitmer from 1922 until his death in September 1984. He was 85 when he died after suffering an asthma attack. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.

Selected films of this star available for viewing:

America (1924)

Isn't Life Wonderful? (1924)

The Love Trap (1929)

Why Be Good? (1929)

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