About Milton Sills
January 12, 1882 - September 15, 1930
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From Wikipedia Milton George Gustavus Sills (January 12, 1882 – September 15, 1930) was an American stage and film actor of the early twentieth century. Sills was born in Chicago, Illinois into a wealthy family. He was the son of William Henry Sills, a successful mineral dealer, and Josephine Antoinette Troost Sills, an heiress from a prosperous banking family. Upon completing high school, Sills was offered a one-year scholarship to the University of Chicago, where he studied psychology and philosophy. After graduating, he was offered a position at the university as a researcher and within several years worked his way up to become a professor at the school. In 1905, stage actor Donald Robertson visited the school to lecture on author and playwright Henrik Ibsen and suggested to Sills that he try his hand at acting. On a whim, Sills agreed and left his prestigious teaching career to embark on a stint in acting. Sills joined Robertson's stock theater company and began touring the country. In 1914, Sills decided to conquer the new medium of motion pictures. He made his film debut the same year in the big-budget drama The Pit for the World Film Company and was signed to a contract with film producer William A. Brady. The film was enormously successful, and Sills made three more films for the company, including another huge box-office draw The Deep Purple opposite silent screen star Clara Kimball Young. By the late 1910s, Sills had reached leading man status and parted ways with World Film, taking the then unusual path of freelancing as an actor. By the early 1920s, Sills was enjoying a highly successful acting career and working for such prominent film studios as MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Pathé Exchange. He was often paired with the most popular leading ladies of the era, including: Geraldine Farrar, Gloria Swanson and Viola Dana. His greatest public and commercial successes came with the now lost Flaming Youth (1923) opposite Colleen Moore, and the enormous box-office hit The Sea Hawk (1924). Sills made two sound pictures, showing that he had an excellent voice. Many may have forgotten that Sills had extensive stage training before embarking on his career before the cameras. Sills died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1930 while playing tennis with his wife at his Santa Barbara, California home at the age of 48. He was interred at the Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Chicago, Illinois.