George D. Baker

George Duane Baker (April 22, 1868 – June 2, 1933) was an American motion picture director whose career began near the dawn of the silent film era.

George Duane Baker
The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen (1920) By Carolyn Lowrey
George Duane Baker

(1868-04-22)April 22, 1868
DiedJune 2, 1933(1933-06-02) (aged 65)
OccupationActor; playwright; screenwriter; motion picture director

Early life

He was born at Champaign, Illinois on April 22, 1868.[1] He was the second son and third child of Arminta and Charles E. Baker.[2] Three or four years later a baby girl would close the gender gap before Baker’s father, an accountant and financial advisor,[3] chose to relocate his family to the rural town of Beatrice, Nebraska sometime in the early 1880s. Upon his high school graduation, Charles Baker offered his son two options, a traditional college education or art classes in Paris. George Baker declined both offers and chose instead to attend the Dramatic Conservatory of Chicago, where he may have first met Walker Whiteside, another student of Prof. Kayzer's from around that time.[4]


He debuted with the young Shakespearian actor Walker Whiteside in Hamlet as Laertes and would later tour with companies headed by Nance O'Neil, McKee Rankin, David Higgins, Russ Wytal Brady and others. Baker spent a number of seasons in vaudeville with Sadie Martinot, Marie Dupont and Eva Taylor. He later worked as a producer, actor and playwright in partnership with James W. Castle on theatrical productions of Graustark, based on the book by George Barr McCutcheon and The Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Goose Girl. Baker would some years later adapt both stories for film. Baker also penned the plays His Brother’s Birthright and As the Sun Went Down.[5][4][6]

Sometime around 1908 Baker joined Vitagraph Studios and began directing comedies starring John Bunny and Flora Finch and later went on direct such films as The Dust of Egypt, Tarantula, A Night Out and A Price for Folly. After three and a half years with Vitagraph, Baker joined Metro Studios where he soon rose to the position of Director General of Metro’s West Coast productions.[4][6]

While vacation in New York, after four years with Metro, Baker received a number of tempting job offers from competing studios. He chose instead to take advantage of his popularity by severing his ties with Metro to work as a freelance director on projects of his own choosing. George Baker wrote the scenarios for a number of the films and was responsible for almost all the continuity work on films he directed. He continued to work well into the 1920s before retiring in his late fifties.[4][7][6]


Besides his stage and film work, Baker had also done illustrations for newspapers and magazines and was known as an accomplished still photographer. He was well read with a special interest in the arts. George Duane Baker died at the age of sixty-five on June 2, 1933, in Hollywood, California.[4][7]

Selected filmography


  1. 21 Jan 1921 US Passport Application
  2. 1870 US Census Records
  3. 1880 US Census Records
  4. The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen (1920)
  5. Nebraska State Journal, Jan. 13, 1898 - Oct. 12, 1910
  6. The Big V: a History of the Vitagraph Company
  7. The Lincoln Star, June 3, 1933
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