Action movies have always been a crowd favorite for their high-octane, adrenaline-pumping sequences that leave audiences at the edge of their seats. These movies often feature larger-than-life characters played by some of the most iconic actors in Hollywood history. But have you ever wondered who was the first action movie star?
While there were several actors who dabbled in action films before him, it was Douglas Fairbanks Sr. who is credited with being the first true action movie star. Born in Denver, Colorado in 1883, Fairbanks started his career as a stage actor before transitioning to films in 1915.
Fairbanks quickly made a name for himself with his athletic prowess and charisma onscreen. He starred in a string of swashbuckling adventure films such as “The Mark of Zorro” (1920), “Robin Hood” (1922), and “The Thief of Bagdad” (1924). These films showcased his acrobatic abilities and sword fighting skills, making him an instant hit with audiences worldwide.
Fairbanks’ popularity paved the way for other actors to follow in his footsteps. Actors like Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster, and Charlton Heston all owe their success to Fairbanks’ trailblazing work in the genre.
But it wasn’t just his physical prowess that made Fairbanks stand out from other actors of his time. He was also a pioneer in film production and co-founded United Artists along with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith in 1919. This allowed him to have creative control over his projects and paved the way for future filmmakers to do the same.
Fairbanks continued to act throughout the 1920s and 1930s but transitioned into producing towards the end of his career. He passed away in 1939 at the age of 56 but left behind a legacy that continues to inspire actors and filmmakers to this day.
In conclusion, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. was the first true action movie star who paved the way for future generations of actors. His athletic abilities, charisma, and pioneering work in film production cemented his place in Hollywood history and continue to inspire audiences worldwide.