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Raoul Walsh
Forecourt Ceremony held on Friday, November 14, 1930
Born: March 11, 1887, in New York City, New York
Age at the time of the ceremony: 43
Died: December 31, 1980, in Simi Valley, California, age 93
Raoul Walsh was the first film director to have his imprints taken for the Chinese Theatre forecourt, and this says a good deal about his stature among film personalities. An actor originally, Walsh had a long career as a director, which generated some signifigant films. His ceremony was the the first to be connected to a film playing at the Chinese, in this case, Walsh's film The Big Trail, which had its World Premiere at the theatre on October 2, 1930.

Born to an Irish mother and English father, Walsh grew up in comfotable circumstances in New York City, where the Walsh family was friendly with the Barrymore family, which must have influenced young Raoul toward the stage. After graduating from Seaton Hall, Walsh hit the ground running, co-directing a documentary of the then-current Mexican Revolution, The Life of Villa for Biograph in 1912.

By 1914, working for the Mutual Film Corp., and working with D. W. Griffith, Walsh returned to Mexico to shoot a documentary with recreated scenes they called The Life of General Villa. Poncho Villa played himself, but Walsh played him as a younger man! Becoming close to Griffith, Walsh was an assistant director and played the role of John Wilkes Booth in The Birth of a Nation in 1915.

Walsh continued to act until enlisting in the Army during World War I. Following the war, Walsh jumped right back in, eventually directing Douglas Fairbanks in The Theif of Bagdad in 1924.
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Many similar hard-charging films came after that: What Price Glory in 1926, was so successful, it spawned several sequels; he directed and acted in the first film of the Sadie Thompson story with Gloria Swanson in 1928.

Walsh lost the use of his right eye when a jackrabbit stattered his windshield while scouting locations for In Old Arizona in 1928. He wore an eyepatch from then on.

More hits for Fox followed: The Cock Eyed World (which played the Chinese in September, 1929), The Big Trail, filmed in 70mm (and which played the Chinese in October, 1930, and was playing at the theatre when the footprinting ceremony was held), and For Me and My Gal in 1932.

Walsh was loaned out a good deal, making The Bowery with Wallace Beery in 1933 for 20th Century, Going Hollywood with Marion Davies at M-G-M, also in 1933, Every Night at Eight with George Raft for Paramount in 1935, Klondike Annie with Mae West at Paramount in 1936, You're in the Army Now with Wallace Ford, made for Gaumount British in 1937, the comedy Artists and Models with Jack Benny for Paramount in 1937, and Walsh even got to write some of the songs for the musical St. Louis Blues with Dorothy Lamour for Paramount in 1939.

But it wasn't until Walsh signed a contract to direct films for Warner Bros. that what could be considered his best films could come about. The studio wanted them fast and tough, and Walsh delived with films like The Roaring Twenties in 1939, They Drive By Night in 1940, High Sierra in 1941, the wildly inaccurate account of George Armstrong Custer in They Died with Their Boots On in 1941, Gentleman Jim in 1942, Objective, Burma! in 1945, and what many people feel is Walsh's best film, White Heat in 1949.

With television as competition, Walsh stepped up his game, directing Captain Horatio Hornblower in 1951, A Lion is in the Streets in 1953, Battle Cry in 1955, The Naked and the Dead in 1958, and Esther and the King (which played the Chinese in November, 1960).

Ever active after his last film in 1964, Walsh lived to the age of 93, at his ranch in Simi Valley, California.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Raoul Walsh Forecourt ceremony, Friday, November 14, 1930. To help with the proceedings, the Fox studio brought out a wagon used in and cast members from The Big Trail along with (left to right) Harry E. Jones, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Dr. John C. Parrish, president of the California Historical Society, Joseph Meller, president of the California Pioneer Association, actors Louise Carver, Tully Marshall, Helen Parrish, Marguerite Churchil, and Raoul Walsh. On the right, is 87-year-old Thomas C. Hull, California Pioneer. On the extreme right is cement artist Jean Klossner's valise.
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