James Durkin (actor)

James Durkin (May 21, 1876 March 12, 1934) was a Canadian-American actor of the stage and screen and director.

James Durkin
Durkin in 1903
James Peter Durkin

May 21, 1876
DiedMarch 12, 1934 (aged 57)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
OccupationActor, Director
Years active1906-1934
Spouse(s)Maude Fealy (m.1909-div.1917)
Alice (Naylor) Durkin


He was born in Quebec on May 21, 1876.[1] Durkin's father was a Commissioner of Crown Lands for the province of Quebec. He was a graduate of De La Salle College (Toronto)[2][3]

In 1906, he made his Broadway debut in the play Julie Bonbon.[4] The following year, he played the male lead in the play Margaret Fleming at Chicago's New Theatre.[5]

While working on Broadway, he met actress Maude Fealy and became her second husband on November 28, 1909.[6][7][5] They divorced in 1917.[7][8] According to the Internet Broadway Database, he acted in six Broadway productions from 1906 to 1923 and directed Chivalry (1925-1926).[4][lower-alpha 1]

After several years on the stage, Durkin moved into film.[10] He worked for the Thanhouser Company from late spring 1913 to 1914,[5] acting and directing his wife.[5] When Fealy and Durkin left Thanhouser, the trade journal Variety speculated that the couple planned to start a film company of their own.[11] In June 1915, he signed on with the Famous Players Film Company as a director.[5] In December of the same year, Durkin left Famous-Players, signing a two-year contract with Lewis J. Selznick's Equitable Pictures.[12][lower-alpha 2]

He continued working in film into the 1930s. He had two daughters, Alice Louise (born 1921) and Margaret Jane (born 1927), with his second wife, Alice Naylor.

He died on March 12, 1934 in Los Angeles, California.





  1. Before making an entry into film work, Durkin had been able to work in stage productions as a leading actor and as a manager for theater companies.[9]
  2. Durkin was actually under contract to Paramount Pictures, but on loan to Famous Players. Paramount had him under contract until May of 1916.[13]

General references

  • Hines, Dixie; Hanaford, Harry Prescott, eds. (1914). "James Durkin". Who's Who in Music and Drama. New York: Hanaford. p. 105.


  1. James Peter Durkin at findagrave.com
  2. "The Stage". San Francisco Daily Times. Conklin & Haskin. October 3, 1903. p. 24. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  3. Hines, Dixie; Hanaford, Harry Prescott, eds. (1914). Who's Who in Music and Drama. New York: Hanaford. p. 105. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  4. James Durkin at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. "Durkin, James". thanhouser.org (see Thanhouser Company).
  6. "Maude Fealy Wed Secretly. Young Actress Divorcee Now Bride Of James B. Durkin Of 'The Barrier'". New York Times. December 15, 1909.
  7. Katie Rudolph (November 16, 2015). "Actress Maude Fealy: Called Denver 'Home'". Denver Public Library.
  8. "Denver, June 27". Variety: 6. June 29, 1917. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  9. Spivak, Jeffrey (2011). Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley. University Press of Kentucky. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-8131-2643-2.
  10. Motion Picture News Vol11 No. 25, June 26, 1915; James Durkin Joins Famous Producing Staff
  11. "Durkin-Fealy Own Co. ?". Variety. Variety: 19. July 10, 1914. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  12. "Durkin With Equitable". Variety. Variety: 21. December 17, 1915. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  13. "Changes at Famous Players". Variety. Variety: 18. December 10, 1915. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  14. Stumpf, Charles (2010). ZaSu Pitts: The Life and Career. McFarland. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-7864-6023-6.
  15. Soister, John T. (2005). Of Gods and Monsters: A Critical Guide to Universal Studios' Science Fiction, Horror and Mystery Films, 1929-1939. McFarland. p. 379. ISBN 978-1-4766-0499-2.
  16. Weaver, Tom; Brunas, Michael; Brunas, John (1990). Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7864-9150-6.
  17. Pitts, Michael R, (2012). Western Movies: A Guide to 5,105 Feature Films, 2d ed. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6372-5.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  18. Telotte, J.P. (2016). Robot Ecology and the Science Fiction Film. Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-3172-3301-5.
  19. Langman, Larry (1998). The Media in the Movies: A Catalog of American Journalism Films, 1900-1996. McFarland. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-4766-0925-6.
  20. Shull, Michael Slade (2000). Radicalism in American Silent Films, 1909-1929: A Filmography and History. McFarland. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-4766-1103-7.
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