Oscar Actors: Stone, Lewis–Background, Career, Awards

November 25, 2020
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Lewis Shepard Stone (November 15, 1879 – September 12, 1953) was an American film actor. He spent 29 years as a contract player at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and was best known for his role as Judge James Hardy in their Andy Hardy film series. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929 for The Patriot.

He appeared in 7 films with Greta Garbo, most memorably as Doctor Otternschlag in Grand Hotel.

Massachusetts, to Bertrand Stone and Philena Heald Ball, Lewis Stone’s hair turned gray prematurely (by age 20). Lewis served in the United States Army in the Spanish–American War as a lieutenant, before going to China to train troops.  He then returned to a career as a writer and actor.

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.

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.

After returning from China, he made his feature film debut in Honor’s Altar in 1916. 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.

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 7 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. 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.

Stone was MGM’s longest-contracted actor and the longest-ever-contracted actor at a studio up to his death.  The week before his death, he (and Lionel Barrymore) received a gold key to his dressing room. He had made approximately 100 movies.

Stone died in Hancock Park, Los Angeles on September 12, 1953, aged 73.  He suffered a heart attack while chasing away some neighborhood kids 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 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.

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

Selected filmography

The Bargain (1914) (film debut)
Honor’s Altar (1916) as Warren Woods
The Havoc (1916) (with Gladys Hanson) as Richard Craig
According to the Code (1916) as Basil Beckenridge
Inside the Lines (1918) as Captain Cavendish
The Man of Bronze (1918) as John Adams
Man’s Desire (1919) as Tom Denton
Milestones (1920) as John Rhead
Nomads of the North (1920) as Cpl. O’Connor
Held by the Enemy (1920) as Capt. Gordon Haine
The Concert (1921) as Augustus Martinot
Beau Revel (1921) as Lawrence ‘Beau’ Revel
The Golden Snare (1921) as Sergeant Philip Raine
Don’t Neglect Your Wife (1921) as Langdon Masters
The Child Thou Gavest Me (1921) as Edward Berkeley
Pilgrims of the Night (1921) as Philip Champion / Lord Ellingham
The Rosary (1922) as Father Brian Kelly
A Fool There Was (1922) as John Schuyler
The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) as Rudolf Rassendyll / King Rudolf
Trifling Women (1922) as The Marquis Ferroni
The Dangerous Age (1923) as John Emerson
The World’s Applause (1923) as John Elliott
You Can’t Fool Your Wife (1923) as Garth McBride
Scaramouche (1923) as The Marquis de la Tour d’Azyr
The Stranger (1924) as Keith Darrant
Why Men Leave Home (1924) as John Emerson
Cytherea (1924) as Lee Randon
Husbands and Lovers (1924) as James Livingston
Inez from Hollywood (1924) as Stewart Cuyler
Cheaper to Marry (1925) as Jim Knight
The Lost World (1925) as Sir John Roxton
Confessions of a Queen (1925) as The King
The Talker (1925) as Harry Lennox
The Lady Who Lied (1925) as Horace Pierpont
Fine Clothes (1925) as Earl of Denham
What Fools Men (1925) as Joseph Greer
Too Much Money (1926) as Robert Broadley
The Girl from Montmartre (1926) as Jerome Hautrive
Old Loves and New (1926) as Gervas Carew
Don Juan’s Three Nights (1926) as Johann Aradi
Midnight Lovers (1926) as Maj. William Ridgewell, RFC
The Blonde Saint (1926) as Sebastian Maure
An Affair of the Follies (1927) as Hammersley
The Notorious Lady (1927) as Patrick Marlowe / John Carew
Lonesome Ladies (1927) as John Fosdick
The Prince of Headwaiters (1927) as Pierre
The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1927) as Menelaus
The Foreign Legion (1928) as Col. Destin
The Patriot (1928) as Count Pahlen
Freedom of the Press (1928) as Daniel Steele
A Woman of Affairs (1928) as Dr. Hugh Trevelyan
Wild Orchids (1929) as John Sterling
The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929) as Edward West
Wonder of Women (1929) as Stephen Trombolt
Madame X (1929) as Louis Floriot
Their Own Desire (1929) as Marlett
Strictly Unconventional (1930) as Clive Champion-Cheney
The Big House (1930) as Warden James Adams
Romance (1930) as Cornelius Van Tuyl
The Office Wife (1930) as Lawrence Fellowes
Passion Flower (1930) as Antonio Morado
Inspiration (1931) as Raymond Delval
Father’s Son (1931) as William Emory
The Secret Six (1931) as Richard Newton–Attorney at Law
My Past (1931) as Mr. John Thornley
Always Goodbye (1931) as John Graham
The Bargain (1931) as Maitland White
The Phantom of Paris (1931) as Detective Costaud
The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) as Carlo Boretti
Mata Hari (1931) as Andriani
Strictly Dishonorable (1931) as The Judge
The Wet Parade (1932) as Roger Chilcote
Grand Hotel (1932) as Dr. Otternschlag
Night Court (1932) as Judge William Osgood
Letty Lynton (1932) as District Attorney Haney
New Morals for Old (1932) as Mr. Thomas
Red-Headed Woman (1932) as William Legendre Sr.
Unashamed (1932) as Henry Trask
Divorce in the Family (1932) as John Parker
The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) as Nayland Smith
The Son-Daughter (1932) as Dr. Dong Tong
Men Must Fight (1933) as Edward Seward
The White Sister (1933) as Prince Guido Chiaromonte
Looking Forward (1933) as Gabriel Service Sr.
Bureau of Missing Persons (1933) as Capt. Webb
Queen Christina (1933) as Axel Oxenstierna
You Can’t Buy Everything (1934) as John Burton
The Mystery of Mr. X (1934) as Inspector Connor
The Girl from Missouri (1934) as Frank Cousins
Treasure Island (1934) as Captain Smollett
David Copperfield (1935) as Mr. Wickfield
Vanessa: Her Love Story (1935) as Adam Paris
West Point of the Air (1935) as General Carter
Public Hero No. 1 (1935) as Prison Warden
Woman Wanted (1935) as District Attorney Martin
China Seas (1935) as Tom Davids
Shipmates Forever (1935) as Adm. Richard Melville
Tough Guy (1936) as Davis (scenes deleted)
Three Godfathers (1936) as James Underwood – aka ‘Doc’
The Unguarded Hour (1936) as General Lawrence
Small Town Girl (1936) as Doctor Dakin
Suzy (1936) as Baron Charville
Sworn Enemy (1936) as Doctor Simon ‘Doc’ Gattle
Don’t Turn ‘Em Loose (1936) as John Webster
Outcast (1937) as Anthony Abbott (lawyer)
The Thirteenth Chair (1937) as Inspector Marney
The Man Who Cried Wolf (1937) as Lawrence Fontaine
You’re Only Young Once (1937) as Judge James K. Hardy
The Bad Man of Brimstone (1937) as Mr. Jackson Douglas
Judge Hardy’s Children (1938) as Judge James K. Hardy
Stolen Heaven (1938) as Joseph Langauer
Yellow Jack (1938) as Major Reed
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) as Judge James K. Hardy
The Chaser (1938) as Dr. Delford Q. Prescott
Out West with the Hardys (1938) as Judge James ‘Jim’ K. Hardy
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939) as Douglas Tolliver Jr.
The Hardys Ride High (1939) as Judge James K. Hardy
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939) as Judge James K. Hardy
Joe and Ethel Turp Call on the President (1939) as The President
Judge Hardy and Son (1939) as Judge James K. Hardy
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940) as Judge James K. Hardy
Sporting Blood (1940) as Davis Lockwood
Andy Hardy’s Dilemma: A Lesson in Mathematics… and Other Things (1940, Short) as Judge James K. Hardy
Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941) as Judge James K. Hardy
Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941) as Judge James K. Hardy
The Bugle Sounds (1942) as Col. Jack Lawton
The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942) as Judge James K. Hardy
Andy Hardy’s Double Life (1942) as Judge James K. Hardy
Plan for Destruction (1943, Short) as Himself – Commentator
Andy Hardy’s Blonde Trouble (1944) as Judge James K. Hardy
The Hoodlum Saint (1946) as Father Nolan
Three Wise Fools (1946) as Judge James Trumbell
Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946) as Judge James K. Hardy
State of the Union (1948) as Sam Thorndyke
The Sun Comes Up (1949) as Arthur Norton
Any Number Can Play (1949) as Ben Gavery Snelerr
Key to the City (1950) as Judge Silas Standish
Stars in My Crown (1950) as Dr. Daniel Kalbert Harris, Sr.
Grounds for Marriage (1951) as Dr. Carleton Radwin Young
Night Into Morning (1951) as Dr. Horace Snyder
Angels in the Outfield (1951) as Commissioner Arnold P. Hapgood
Bannerline (1951) as Josh
The Unknown Man (1951) as Judge James V. Hulbrook
It’s a Big Country (1951) as Church Sexton
Just This Once (1952) as Judge Samuel Coulter
Talk About a Stranger (1952) as Mr. Wardlaw
Scaramouche (1952) as Georges de Valmorin
The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) as The Cardinal
All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953) as Capt. Holt (final film role)