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Lewis Stone


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Why did MGM hang on to him for so long. He must have had some connection with L.B. Mayer. Too old looking for his roles as a romantic lead. Or Andy Hardy's father. So many of his roles could have been done by someone else. He reminds me of a person that was told you will always have a job with me.(MGM).

Anyone know?

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Supposedly Stone had a lifetime contract with MGM. He was there in 1924 when Metro became MGM. He's in the Guinness Book as the artist with the longest contract to one studio. 29 years. Although he only worked for 12 weeks in his last years, L.B. Mayer saw that he was paid for 40 weeks...

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Lewis Stone seems to have been someone whom younger actors admired back in the MGM glory days. In MGM: WHEN THE LION ROARS, there's an interview excerpt with Joan Crawford in which she says that Stone was one of the actors she looked up to. I wouldn't be surprised if others felt the same.

 

I've never seen him in a romantic lead, although I know that he did some in the silent days, but I've always thought he was a fine actor and particularly suitable for roles calling for an older character with gravitas. Thinking about it now, I can't recall ever seeing him give less than a very solid performance.

 

His career options were probably limited somewhat by his prematurely grey hair and gaunt appearance, making him look a good bit older than he actually was. But his appearance often worked to the benefit of the characters he played by giving him a mature and sage appearance.

 

When he started playing Judge Hardy, for example, he was only 58, which was probably an appropriate age for the father of an adult daughter and teenage son -- keeping in mind that the judge went to both college and law school and probably didn't get married until his law practice was on its feet. (There's a conversation in one of the later Hardy films where Judge Hardy tells Andy how long it took his law career to get started.)

 

Anyway, I guess it's a matter of opinion, but I think Lewis Stone really benefits the films he's in -- at least the ones I've seen.

 

 

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> Although (Stone) only worked for 12 weeks in his last years, L.B. Mayer saw that he was paid for 40 weeks...

Well, the final two years of Stone's career were after Nicholas Schenck accepted Mayer's threat to resign and Dore Schary was running the studio.

 

 

 

> I used to think that too but, as mentioned earlier, being only 58 does seem to work out. As Peter Bailey says to his elder son in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: "You were born old, George," and so it probably was with Stone. Then, too, when you were 58 in the late 1930's, you were older, due to the shorter lifespans and the rapidity with which people seemed to age back then (it did provide some wonderfully wizened faces for the movies, though -- take a look at the extras in 1935's A TALE OF TWO CITIES sometime -- that you can scarecely find nowadays, at least in the U.S. You have to go Third World countries with shorter life expectancies if you want to fill your movies with the same kind of craggy, gap-toothed mugs).

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