Max Linder was a comedian of the silent film era

Gabriel-Maximilien Leuvielle (16 December 1883 – 31 October 1925), better known by the stage name Max Linder, was a French actor, director, screenwriter, producer and comedian of the silent film era. His onscreen persona "Max" was one of the first recognizable recurring characters in film. He has also been cited as the "first international movie star." Born in Cavernes, France to Catholic parents, Linder grew up with a passion for the theatre and enrolled in the Bordeaux Conservatorie in 1899. He soon received awards for his performances and continued to pursue a career in the legitimate theatre. He became a contract player with the Bordeaux Théâtre des Arts from 1901 to 1904, performing in plays by Molière, Pierre Corneille and Alfred de Musset. From the summer of 1905, Linder appeared in short comedy films for Pathé, at first usually in supporting roles. His first major film role was in the Georges Méliès-like fantasy film The Legend of Punching. During the following years, Linder made several hundred short films portraying "Max", a wealthy and dapper man-about-town frequently in hot water because of his penchant for beautiful women and the good life. Starting with The Skater's Debut in 1907, the character became one of the first identifiable motion-picture characters who appeared in successive situation comedies. By 1911, Linder was co-directing his own films (with René LePrince) as well as writing the scripts. Linder enlisted at the outbreak of the First World War, and worked at first as a dispatch driver and entertainer. During his service, he was injured several times, and the experiences reportedly had a devastating effect on him both physically and mentally. It was during this time he suffered his first outbreak of chronic depression. In late 1916, Linder moved to the United States, where he made three short films. After a brief move back to France, he returned to the United States and made the feature-length films Seven Years Bad Luck and Be My Wife but neither were able to find many American fans. Other films followed, including The Three Must-Get-Theres and Au Secours! which became a success with English critics. However, the later films proved generally unpopular with American audiences and as a result, Linder became depressed. He made his last film The King of the Circus in 1925, but his illness worsened. In 1925, he committed suicide along with his wife of two years, Heléne "Jean" Peters.

Gallery for vintage actor  Max Linder

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