Lewis Stone

Lewis Shepard Stone (November 15, 1879 – September 12, 1953) was an American movie actor best known for his role as Judge James Hardy in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Andy Hardy film series[1]. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929 for The Patriot. He appeared in seven films with Greta Garbo.

Lewis Stone
The Moving Picture World (1916)
Born(1879-11-15)November 15, 1879
DiedSeptember 12, 1953(1953-09-12) (aged 73)[1]
Years active1911–1953
EmployerMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1924-1953)[1]
Margaret Langham
(m. 1907; died 1917)

Florence Oakley
(m. 1920; div. 1929)

Hazel Elizabeth Woof (m. 1930)

Early life

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Bertrand Stone and Philena Heald Ball, Lewis Stone's hair turned gray prematurely (reportedly by age 20). Lewis served in the United States Army in the Spanish–American War as a lieutenant,[1] then returned to a career as a writer. He soon began acting.

In 1912, he found success in the popular play Bird of Paradise which starred Laurette Taylor. The play was later filmed in 1932 and 1951. Stone's career was interrupted by World War I where he served again in the United States Army in the cavalry as a major.[1] After the war, he went to China to train troops.[1]

From 1920 to 1927, he lived in Los Angeles at 212 S. Wilton Place. The home is now Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monument #925 and is in the Wilton Historic District. [2]


After returning from China, he made his feature film debut in Honor's Altar in 1916.[1] He showed up in First National's 1920 Nomads of the North to good effect playing a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. He portrayed the title role in the 1922 silent film version of The Prisoner of Zenda.

In 1924, he joined newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was contracted up until his death.[1]

Stone was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929 for The Patriot. He played the character that gives the film its title, but he was not the top-billed star. After that, he appeared in seven films with Greta Garbo, spanning both the silent and early sound periods. He played the role of Dr. Otternschlag in the Garbo film Grand Hotel, in which he utters the famous closing line: "Grand Hotel. People coming. Going. Nothing ever happens."

He played a larger role in the 1933 Garbo film Queen Christina. His appearance in the successful prison film The Big House furthered his career. He played adventurers in the dinosaur epic The Lost World (1925) with Wallace Beery and The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) with Boris Karloff, and a police captain in Bureau of Missing Persons (1933). In 1937, Stone essayed the role which would become his most famous, that of Judge James Hardy in the Mickey Rooney Andy Hardy series.[1] Stone appeared as the judge in fourteen of the sixteen Andy Hardy feature-length movies, beginning with You're Only Young Once (1937). He also appeared in the short subject, Andy Hardy's Dilemma, which promoted charitable donations to the Community Chest, but had died by the time of the final Hardy feature, Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958).

During World War II, Stone was a lieutenant colonel in the California National Guard.[1]

Stone was MGM's longest contracted actor and the longest an actor had ever been contracted at a studio up to his death.[1] The week before his death, he (together with Lionel Barrymore) received a gold key to his dressing room.[1] He had made approximately 100 movies.[1]


Stone died in Hancock Park, Los Angeles on September 12, 1953, aged 73.[1] He reportedly suffered a heart attack while chasing away some neighborhood kids[1] who were throwing rocks at his garage. Another published report states that on that date Stone and his third wife were watching television when they heard a racket in the back yard. When he investigated, Stone found lawn furniture once again floating in the pool and glimpsed three or perhaps four teenage boys running towards the street. Stone gave chase despite his wife's warning not to exert himself. Upon reaching the sidewalk, Stone suddenly collapsed. A gardener, Juan Vergara, witnessed the chase and summoned aid.

A photo published in newspapers of the day showed Stone's lying on the sidewalk immediately after the incident. The photo was later included in Kenneth Anger's Hollywood scandals book, Hollywood Babylon.

Lewis Stone was later honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6524 Hollywood Blvd.

Selected filmography

See also


  1. "Obituaries". Variety. September 16, 1953. p. 63. Retrieved October 4, 2019 via Archive.org.
  2. http://preservation.lacity.org/files/HCMDatabase%23073114.pdf
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