Lawson Harris

William Lawson Harris[1] (June 30, 1897 – March 31, 1948) was an American director, actor, producer, and writer who made a number of films in Australia. He came to Australia originally at the behest of Arthur Shirley to work as production manager on The Throwback (1920) and stayed out there for a number of years.[2] Harris was the father of actor and director John Derek.[3]

Lawson Harris
Born
William Lawson Harris

June 30, 1897
DiedMarch 31, 1948(1948-03-31) (aged 50)
Resting placeLos Angeles National Cemetery
NationalityAmerican
OccupationDirector, actor, producer, writer
Years active1922–1926
Spouse(s)
Yvonne Pavis
(m. 1924; div. 1925)

Dolores Johnson
(m. 1925; div. 1931)
ChildrenJohn Derek

Biography

Harris was born on June 30, 1897 in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, the son of William James Harris (1874–1908) and Elizabeth Bettie Hawley (1877–?).

He moved to Australia in 1920 with Arthur Shirley and set up an acting school.[4]

In 1921, he announced he would make a film about the return of the Jews to Jerusalem.[5] Instead he made Circumstance (1922).[6] He made it for Austral Super Films a company he had established with Cecil Hargraves.[7][8]

They launched a second film almost immediately.[9]

In August 1922, Lawson was sued by Arthur Shirley who claimed Harris used threatening language against him. The cast was dismissed.[10][11][12][13]

In January 1923, he announced his next film would be Yellow.[14] It was not made. Instead Lawson returned to the U.S.[15]

In 1924, he married actress Yvonne Pavis, but divorced in 1925, and in the same year, he married actress Dolores Johnson (1903–1957), with whom he had a son, John Derek, who was himself an actor and director.

In 1931, he and Johnson were divorced, and abandoned his son as a five years old child, but returned to him sometime later.[16]

Death

Harris died on March 31, 1948 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California at the age of 51. He was buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery.

Filmography

References

  1. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/3715234
  2. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 4 June 2018
  3. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 20 April 2019
  4. ""Wanted Picture Pupils"". Smith's Weekly. III, (10). New South Wales, Australia. 30 April 1921. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. "MEN AND WOMEN". The Advocate (Australia). Tasmania, Australia. 1 June 1921. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "AT THE APOLLO THEATRE". The Sun (1001). New South Wales, Australia. 4 June 1922. p. 20. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "PICTURE THEATRES". The Daily Telegraph (13, 499). New South Wales, Australia. 16 August 1922. p. 5. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  8. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 18 June 2018
  9. "Presentation to Jack Munro". The Sunday Times (1899). New South Wales, Australia. 18 June 1922. p. 11. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "NATURE'S WEAPONS". Evening News (17221). New South Wales, Australia. 28 August 1922. p. 6. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "'PERSONAL SATISFACTION'". The Sun (3689). New South Wales, Australia. 28 August 1922. p. 3 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "Menacing Missive". Truth (1, 175). Queensland, Australia. 10 September 1922. p. 14. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  13. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 18 June 2018
  14. "MUSICAL TREAT". Smith's Weekly. IV, (48). New South Wales, Australia. 20 January 1923. p. 12. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  15. Everyones, Everyones Ltd, 1920, retrieved 18 June 2018
  16. Sean and John Derek: He's no star as a father Lavin, Cheryl. Chicago Tribune 24 Oct 1982: i1.
  17. "Tropical Theatre, Tuesday". Cairns Post. 72, (8014). Queensland, Australia. 27 September 1927. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)



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