Oscar Actors: Warner, H.B.–Supporting Actor in Lost Horizon

Career Summary:

Born: 1875

Died: 1958, age 82

Oscar Nominations: 1

1937: Supporting Actor (Lost Horizon)


Henry Byron Warner (born Henry Byron Lickfold,[1] 26 October 1876 – 21 December 1958) was an English film and theatre actor. He was popular during the silent era and played Jesus Christ in The King of Kings. In later years, he successfully transitioned into supporting roles and appeared in numerous films directed by Frank Capra. Warner’s most notable role to modern audiences is Mr. Gower in the perennially shown film It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Capra. He also had a cameo in Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder.

Born in St John’s Wood, London, England in 1876, H. B. Warner was educated at Bedford School. His father, Charles Warner, was an actor, and he followed in his father’s footsteps and performed on the stage. He had an older sister, Grace Warner, who was a stage actress and manager.

Warner’s stage debut was in It’s Never Too Late to Mend at age 21. He acted in several plays before coming to the U.S. for the 1905-1906 season. His Broadway credits include Silence (1924), You and I (1922), Danger (1921), Sleeping Partners (1918), Out There (1917), and Blackbirds (1912).

H. B. Warner began his screen career in silent films in 1914, in The Lost Paradise.

Jesus Christ in DeMille’s The King of Kings 

His greatest success was the role of Jesus Christ in Cecil B. DeMille’s silent epic The King of Kings in 1927.

But with the advent of the sound era, he turned to supporting roles, mostly because of his age.

He usually was cast in dignified roles in the 1930s and 1940s. He played in the 1930 version of Liliom (as the Heavenly Magistrate), in Five Star Final (1931, as Michael Townsend), in Grand Canary (1934, as Dr. Ismay), and the 1935 version of A Tale of Two Cities as Gabelle.

He also portrayed the strict judge in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) with Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur.

Oscar Nomination:

He appeared in the 1937 version of Lost Horizon as Chang, for which he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.


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Among his later films were You Can’t Take It With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Rains Came (1939), and The Corsican Brothers.

In It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) he played the atypical role of the drunken druggist.  Warner was seen in sinister roles, as in the 1941 film version of The Devil and Daniel Webster, in which he played the ghost of John Hathorne. Also that year he played the villainous role of Mr. Carrington in Topper Returns.

In Sunset Boulevard (1950) he appeared as himself, playing cards with other former silent film stars, such as Buster Keaton and Anna Q Nilsson.

His last film role was an uncredited cameo in Darby’s Rangers (1958).

Warner was married twice, first to the former Mrs. F.R. Hamlin who died in 1914 and from 1915 until 1933 to Marguerite L. ‘Rita’ Stanwood.

On December 21, 1958 Warner died in Los Angeles of a heart attack.

Select Filmography:

In the 1916 silent drama “The Beggar of Cawnpore,” H. B. Warner is Dr. Robert Lowndes, a British army doctor in India reduced to wild eyed beggary by morphine addiction.
The Lost Paradise (1914) as Reuben Warren (film debut)
The Ghost Breaker (1914) as Warren Jarvis
The Market of Vain Desire (1916) as John Armstrong
Shell 43 (1916) as William Berner
The Beggar of Cawnpore (1916) as Dr. Robert Lowndes
The Man Who Turned White (1919)
A Fugitive from Matrimony (1919)
Haunting Shadows (1919)
The White Dove (1920) as Sylvester Lanyon
One Hour Before Dawn (1920) as George Clayton
Felix O’Day (1920)
Uncharted Channels (1920)
Dice of Destiny (1920)
When We Were 21 (1921)
Zaza (1923) as Bernard Dufresne
Is Love Everything? (1924) as Jordan Southwick
Whispering Smith (1926) as ‘Whispering Smith’
Silence (1926) as Jim Warren
The King of Kings (1927) as Jesus
Sorrell and Son (1927) as Stephen Sorrell
French Dressing (1927) as Phillip Grey
Man-Made Women (1928) as Jules Moret
Romance of a Rogue (1928)
The Naughty Duchess (1928) as Duke de St. Maclou
Conquest (1928) as James Farnham
The Doctor’s Secret (1929) as Richard Garson
Stark Mad (1929) as Prof. Dangerfield
The Divine Lady (1929) as Sir William Hamilton
The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929) as District Attorney Galway
The Gamblers (1929) as James Darwin
The Argyle Case (1929) as Hurley
The Show of Shows (1929) as The Victim – Guillotine Sequence
Tiger Rose (1929) as Dr. Cusick
Wedding Rings (1929) as Lewis Dike
The Green Goddess (1930) as Major Crespin
The Furies (1930) as Oliver Bedlow
The Second Floor Mystery (1930) as Inspector Bray
Wild Company (1930) as Henry Grayson
On Your Back (1930) as Raymond Pryor
Liliom (1930) as Chief Magistrate
The Princess and the Plumber (1930) as Prince Conrad of Daritzia
A Woman of Experience (1931) as Major Hugh Schmidt
The Reckless Hour (1931) as Walter Nichols
Five Star Final (1931) as Michael Townsend
Expensive Women (1931) as Melville Raymond
Charlie Chan’s Chance (1932) as Inspector Fife
The Menace (1932) as Inspector Tracy
A Woman Commands (1932) as Col. Stradimirovitsch
Unholy Love (1932) as Dr. Daniel Gregory
Tom Brown of Culver (1932) as Dr. Brown
The Crusader (1932) as Phillip Brandon
The Phantom of Crestwood (1932) as Priam Andes
The Son-Daughter (1932) as Sin Kai
Supernatural (1933) as Dr. Carl Houston
Jennie Gerhardt (1933) as William Gerhardt
Christopher Bean (1933) as Maxwell Davenport
Sorrell and Son (1933) as Captain Stephen Sorrell
Grand Canary (1934) as Dr. Ismay
In Old Santa Fe (1934) as Charlie Miller
Behold My Wife (1934) as Hubert Carter
Night Alarm (1934) as Henry B. Smith
Born to Gamble (1935) as Carter Mathews
A Tale of Two Cities (1935) as Gabelle
The Garden Murder Case (1936) as Major Fenwicke-Ralston
Rose of the Rancho (1936) as Don Pasqual Castro
Moonlight Murder (1936) as Godfrey Chiltern
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) as Judge May
Blackmailer (1936) as Michael Rankin
Along Came Love (1936) as Dr. Martin
Lost Horizon (1937) as Chang
Our Fighting Navy (1937) as British Consul Brent
Victoria the Great (1937) as Lord Melbourne
Girl of the Golden West (1938) as Father Sienna
The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938) as Chen Tsu
Kidnapped (1938) as Angus Rankeillor
The Toy Wife (1938) as Victor Brigard
Bulldog Drummond in Africa (1938) as Col. J.A. Nielsen
Army Girl (1938) as Col. Armstrong
You Can’t Take It With You (1938) as Ramsay
Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1938) as Colonel Nielsen
Let Freedom Ring (1939) as Rutledge
Bulldog Drummond’s Secret Police (1939) as Colonel Nielson
The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939) as Richard Lawrence
Bulldog Drummond’s Bride (1939) as Colonel Nielson
Nurse Edith Cavell (1939) as Hugh Gibson
The Rains Came (1939) as Maharajah
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) as Senator Agnew, Majority Leader
New Moon (1940) as Father Michel
The Man from Dakota (1940)
Topper Returns (1941) as Mr. Carrington
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) as Justice John Hathorne
City of Missing Girls (1941) as Captain McVeigh
South of Tahiti (1941) as High Chief Kawalima
The Corsican Brothers (1941) as Dr. Enrico Paoli
Crossroads (1942) as Prosecuting Attorney
A Yank in Libya (1942) as Herbert Forbes
The Boss of Big Town (1942) as Jeffrey Moore
Hitler’s Children (1943) as The Bishop
Women in Bondage (1943) as Pastor Renz
Action in Arabia (1944) as Abdul El Rashid
Enemy of Women (1944) as Col. Eberhart Brandt
Faces in the Fog (1944) as Defense Attorney Rankins
Rogues’ Gallery (1944) as Prof. Reynolds
Captain Tugboat Annie (1945) as Judge Abbott
Strange Impersonation (1946) as Dr. Mansfield
Gentleman Joe Palooka (1946) as Sen. McCarden
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) as Mr. Gower
Driftwood (1947) as Rev. J. Hollingsworth
High Wall (1947) as Mr. Slocum
The Prince of Thieves (1948) as Gilbert Head
The Judge Steps Out (1949) as Chief Justice Hayes
El Paso (1949) as Judge Fletcher
Hellfire (1949) as Brother Joseph
Sunset Boulevard (1950) as Himself
The First Legion (1951) as Fr. Jose Sierra
Here Comes the Groom (1951) as Uncle Elihu
Journey Into Light (1951) as Wiz – the Wino
The Ten Commandments (1956) as Amminadab (final film role)