Maurice Costello was a matinee idol at the turn of the century and later one of the great lovers of silent films.
He was generally credited with being the first of the great screen lovers, the first to receive fan mail and, as he once put it, the first to show temperament.
Costello made his footlight debut in Pittsburgh in 1894 as an Irish comedian.
From vaudeville to stock companies, from stock companies to Broadway, and on Broadway stardom—that was the Costello story.
He appeared in such hits as "Scotland Yard," "The Kentucky Feud" and "The Cowboy and the Lady."
After a successful stage career lasting 18 years, he first entered pictures in 1905 with the old Vitagraph Co.
By 1910 Costello was in the big money of those days of filmdom and for five years he continued as one of the greatest of romantic leading men. He was mobbed at personal appearances and was deluged with mail proposals of marriage.
In the '20s, Costello took bit roles, heavies or whatever he could get. In 1927 he declared he would never accept another screen role.
His early screen credits included "A Tale of Two Cities," "Mr. Barnes of New York," "The Glimpses of the Moon," "None So Blind," "Man and Wife," "Let No Man Put Asunder," "Week End Husbands," "The Law and The Lady," "The Wagon Show," "Virtuous Liars," "Love of Women," "Conceit" and "Camille."
In 1936 he reneged on his declaration never to appear again in pictures. He returned to Paramount Studios where he had been a star to play in "Hollywood Boulevard."
In one of his last interviews, Costello said: "Oh, well it's better to be a has-been than a never-was."