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Star Players Photo Co. (Chicago, IL) Vitreous plate of silent film star Francis X. Bushman, dubbed "The King of Hollywood.". Manufactured by Edwin M. Knowles China Co. in 1915, this 9-in. diameter plate features a close shot of handsome male model-turned-cinema star with a facsimile of his signature at the bottom.


This example is in fine+  unrestored condition as shown.


*"Francis Xavier Bushman (January 10, 1883 – August 23, 1966) was an American film actor and director. His career as a matinee idol started in 1911 in the silent film His Friend's Wife. He gained a large female following and was one of the biggest stars of the 1910s and early 1920s.


Bushman, like many of his contemporaries, broke into the moving picture business via the stage. He was performing at Broncho Billy Anderson's Essanay Studios in Chicago, Illinois, where he was first noticed for his muscular, sculpted frame. He appeared in nearly 200 feature film roles—more than 175 films before 1920, and 17 in his screen debut year of 1911 alone. He also worked for the Vitagraph studio before signing with Metro in 1915.


Bushman was born in Baltimore, Maryland. As a young man he joined the Maryland Athletic Club and began a body building regimen that would give him his famous film physique. He cited Eugen Sandow as one of his body building influences. In New York City, he worked as a sculptor's model, often posing in the nude in sessions. In 1902, he married seamstressJosephine Fladine Duval. By the launch of his film career, the couple had five children.


After appearing in theater, Bushman was hired by Essanay Studios in Chicago in 1911, launching his film career and stardom. Over the next five years he appeared generally as the leading man in over a hundred silent films for the studio. The studios publicity department kept secret his marriage from his fans, who sent him thousands of letters, including marriage proposals. In 1918, he was the subject of a national scandal as his affair with longtime costar Beverly Bayne became public. Three days after his divorce with Josephine was final, Bushman and Bayne were married; they would eventually have a son. Bushman and his studios had kept his marriage secret for fear of losing popularity. He was married four times. In late 1919 and 1920, Bushman and Bayne co-starred in the stage play The Master Thief, from a story by Richard Washburn Child, which successfully toured the country.


Bushman eventually retained the services of Harry Reichenbach as his agent. When Bushman noted that he would be well-suited to starring in the upcoming 1925 film, Ben-Hur, Reichenbach had a plan to increase his client's marketability. From a railway station, Reichenbach took Bushman to see studio executives, while dropping pennies to the street from his pocket. Many people followed the two, picking up the coins along the way. The crowd gave the studio executives an impression that Bushman was very popular and they cast him as Messala. Bushman was concerned that playing a villain would affect his career, so he asked the advice of William S. Hart, who had played the part on stage for years. "Take it," Hart advised. "It's the best part in the play!" Unlike Ramon Novarro, the star of the picture, Bushman knew how to properly drive a team of horses and a chariot without getting severely injured or killed in the process. When Ben-Hur was remade in 1959, Charlton Heston had to learn the technique and quipped "The only man in Hollywood who can drive a chariot is Francis X. Bushman—and he's too old!"


At the peak of his career, Bushman was advertised as "The Handsomest Man in the World". He was also known as "the King of Photoplay" or "the King of Movies" before those titles were more popularly attached to Clark Gable."

*(source: Wikipedia)



FRANCIS X. BUSHMAN (1915) Star Players Photo Co. Plate

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