His on-screen heroics were more than matched by his real life bravery. For the first time, the story is told about how he survived the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake as a seven-year old to grow up a superb athlete, a decorated hero in World War One, and a stunt double for film idol Rudolph Valentino. O'Brien was one of hundreds working as an assistant cameraman, extra, and bit player when he was plucked from obscurity to head the cast of John Ford's epic, The Iron Horse. He became a star overnight.
O'Brien's rise to the top ranks of silent films reached sublime proportions when F. W. Murnau featured him in the classic romance, Sunrise. Warner Bros. plunged him into one of the first talking pictures when director Michael Curtiz converted his silent Noah's Ark epic into sound. Many men, women, and animals were injured during the climatic flood scenes, but O'Brien lived through the deluge to become a top star for twenty years. In the 1940s, O'Brien walked away from the pinnacle of stardom to answer the call to arms and re-enlist when American entered World War Two. He actively fought in several island invasions, and when the war ended, he returned only to find that a new generation of filmgoers had grown up never having seen him in a motion picture. He succeeded with a modest comeback, but left Hollywood a second time to assist with military conflicts in Korea. When he returned to civilian life again, he briefly pioneered in early television work and lived to enjoy retrospectives of his films during the 1970s and 1980s.
Discover his fascinating life in George O'Brien: A Man's Man in Hollywood. The richly researched work draws from hundreds of sources, including major archives and the George O'Brien Estate. Enjoy hundreds of photos and illustrations, many unseen for the past eighty years. The book reveals how he was received in his time and his role in the development of motion pictures from silent to sound. George appeared in more than a hundred credited and unaccredited films, and this book reveals them with a richly researched biography, an extensive Filmography, rare portraits, posters, and lobby cards that capture the glamour of Hollywood's Golden Era.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
George O'Brien thrilled audiences for his heroics on screen. Amazingly, his on-screen bravery was surpassed by his real-life heroics at a time when bravery was highly sought. This biography tells a wonderful story, and inspires a whole new generation.