George O'Brien

George O'Brien (April 19, 1899 – September 4, 1985) was an American actor, popular during the silent film era and into the talkie era of the 1930s, best known today as the lead actor in F. W. Murnau's 1927 film Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Born in San Francisco, California, O'Brien was the oldest son of Daniel J. and Margaret L. (Donahue) O'Brien; O'Brien's father later became the Chief of Police for the City of San Francisco (Dan O'Brien ordered the arrest of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle in September 1921 at the scandalous Labor Day party held by Arbuckle). After his retirement from that office, Dan was the Director of Penology for the State of California. In 1917 O'Brien enlisted in the United States Navy to fight in World War I, serving on a Submarine chaser. He volunteered to act as a stretcher bearer for wounded Marines and was decorated for bravery. Right after the war O'Brien became Light Heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet. O'Brien came to Hollywood in his early twenties hoping to become a cameraman and did work as an assistant cameraman for a while, for both Tom Mix and Buck Jones. He began his acting career in bit parts and as a stuntman.


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