Douglas Fairbanks Jr., known forever to Hollywood as "Young Doug," never reached the zenith of worldwide fame enjoyed by his silent-era icon father. Yet he made his imprint on some 100 motion pictures, became a real-life war hero and found success as an actor, producer, author, artist and businessman.
Fairbanks was a debonair denizen of drawing rooms who was born to Hollywood royalty and became a favorite of Britain's royal family.
Aside from his own famous relatives, father Douglas Sr. and stepmother Mary Pickford, Fairbanks Jr. really did know Charlie Chaplin, Tallulah Bankhead, Greta Garbo, Maurice Chevalier and Bing Crosby and helped boost the film careers of an Aussie named Errol Flynn and a USC football player named Marion Morrison (John Wayne).
And he did play tennis with King Gustav V of Sweden, study Spanish with John F. Kennedy, meet Queen Elizabeth II when she was a toddler and entertain the grown-up queen, Prince Philip and the rest of her family at his London home.
Her father, King George VI, gave him an honorary knighthood in 1949 for "furthering Anglo-American amity," partly for his work as a U.S. Navy officer for the commando corps of British Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle to Prince Philip, and partly for his postwar work raising money for the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE), which sent more than $150 million worth of food and other goods to war-torn European countries.
Fairbanks' war exploits earned him a chestful of medals, including the American Silver Star, the British Distinguished Service Cross and the French Legion of Honor.