William Farnum was once known as the silent films' highest-paid star.
His way of life in the years of his Hollywood fame helped establish the lavish pattern which the world came to associate inevitably with movie stardom. His yacht was one of the largest, his home and its furnishings and his stables and his automobiles and his entertaining — not to mention his marital trouble — all were in the gaudy tradition.
Farnum was a ranking stage star when he first came to Hollywood. He had been hailed for his successes in "Ben Hur," "The Littlest Rebel" and other hit plays of the era.
Nationally acknowledged as a great tragedian in his youth and middle age, Farnum still drew ovations for his recitation of Shakespeare, notably the Mark Antony oration from "Julius Caesar."
While making "The Man Who Fights Alone" in 1924 at the height of his powers, he was hurt so seriously that his career came almost to a full stop.
But he returned to make a number of silent films and many sound movies, although he never regained the stature of major stardom. One of his last appearances was with Clark Gable in "Lone Star."