RAOUL WALSH (1887–1980)
Raoul Walsh's distinguished career spanned nearly half a century. A young runaway, Walsh found his way first to the stage in New York and later to the silver screen in Hollywood. In 1914, under the watchful eye of D. W. Griffith, he codirected and starred in The Life of General Villa. Walsh would later collaborate with Griffith in The Birth of a Nation, a hit that led to his signing with the Fox Film Corporation. By the 1920s, Walsh had a reputation for directing raw films with narratives that lent themselves well to action films. His most successful film of that decade was Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s fantasy epic The Thief of Baghdad. Walsh then was slated to direct and star in the first Cisco Kid film, In Old Arizona, but a severe auto accident cost him an eye. Raoul stepped down as the lead actor and was replaced by Warner Baxter, who won an academy award for his performance.