Friday, September 4, 2015

MILD MANNERS


Soft spoken and spiritually inclined David Joseph Manners was born Rauf de Ryther Duan Acklom in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1900. He benefited from a busy acting career (including DRACULA, THE BLACK CAT and a number of other horror roles) but found he had cultivated a distinct distaste for Hollywood. He eschewed the extravagant and excessive lifestyle of a successful actor and intensely disliked being "set up" by his publicist with dates that were surreptitiously designed for nothing more than photo ops with starlets hanging on the arm of one of Hollywood's most popular leading men. In 1936, he unceremoniously fled the decadence of  Tinsel Town for the California desert, where he settled into the pursuit of spiritual and religious studies, writing and painting at his beloved and secluded Rancho Yucca Loma which he designed and built in 1933. He remained active by acting in numerous stage productions until about 1950. In 1978, Manners became restless and moved back to Los Angeles, where he lived in a home in Pacific Palisades, ironically not far from the sinful siren named Hollywood. He died at the age of 98 in Santa Barbara, Ventura County.

Manners was among the first actors to receive a star on the "Walk of Fame", but after he left Hollywood, the star was mysteriously removed with no reason given. In any event, the truth remains a mystery to this day.

The portrait shown above is from the May, 1932 issue of PICTURE PLAY magazine. The caption states that audiences will see him next in A DANGEROUS BRUNETTE. The film was released by Warner Bros. under the title, MAN WANTED. There is no photo credit, but the shot is probably by Homer Van Pelt, the still photographer for the film. Manners would make a few more movies that year before his role in Universal's THE MUMMY.

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