Spottiswoode Aitken

Frank Spottiswoode Aitken (16 April 1868 – 26 February 1933) was a Scottish actor of the silent era. He was perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Cameron in The Birth of a Nation (1915).[1]

For the rugby league footballer of the 1900s for England, and Oldham, see Frank Spottiswoode

Spottiswoode Aitken
Aitken in 1916
Born(1868-04-16)16 April 1868
Died26 February 1933(1933-02-26) (aged 64)
Years active1910–1928
Spouse(s)Marion Dana Jones

Early years

Aitken was born 16 April 1868 in Edinburgh, Scotland.[2]


In his book, The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin, Joseph P. Eckhardt wrote that Aitken was "trained as a Shakespearean actor, with many years of experience under his belt."[3] His film debut came in 1911.[4] He eventually appeared in 81 feature films between 1914 and 1927.[5]


Aitken was one of the first actors to settle in Los Angeles when the film industry was still at its strongest in New York. He invested most of his earnings in property, buying up orange groves around what would become Hollywood.

Personal life

Aitken was involved in a controversy in 1922 when, after suing his wife for divorce for alleged infidelity, she countersued. A United Press news story reported that she was "alleging her husband had coerced her into living with Hay Weinstein, wealthy Santa Barbaran, so that he could extort money from Weinstein."[6]

The couple had three children: Francis Spottiswoode Aitken Jr., Francis Aitken and Margaret Shirley Aitken.[7]


Aitken died 24 February 1933 in Los Angeles, California. He was 64 years old.[2]

Partial filmography


  1. Katz, Ephraim; Nolen, Ronald Dean (2013). The Film Encyclopedia 7e: The Complete Guide to Film and the Film Industry. Harper Collins. ISBN 9780062277114. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 112. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  3. Eckhardt, Joseph P. (1997). The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780838637289. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  4. Soister, John T. (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929. McFarland. p. 20. ISBN 9780786487905. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  5. Katchmer, George A. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. p. 4. ISBN 9781476609058. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  6. "Bizarre Hollywood Regales Us With a New but Ancient Scandal in Wife's Charges". The Des Moines Register. Iowa, Des Moines. United Press. 26 February 1922. p. 1. Retrieved 3 September 2016 via
  7. "$100,000 Left by Noted Actor". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. Associated Press. 24 March 1933. p. 6. Retrieved 3 September 2016 via

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