When John Bunny died the New York Times stated, "The name John Bunny will always be linked to the movies." Little did movie fans of 1915 realize that he would be completely forgotten the next year and completely omitted from many books on silent movies 70-80 years later.Bunny was the ninth in a line of English sea captains and would be the first not to follow in that profession.
John Bunny is a member of Actor
Age, Biography and Wiki
Jack Fat and Jim Slim at Coney Island (1910)
$40 /week |
Doctor Cupid (1911)
$40 /week |
When John Bunny died the New York Times stated, "The name John Bunny will always be linked to the movies." Little did movie fans of 1915 realize that he would be completely forgotten the next year and completely omitted from many books on silent movies 70-80 years later.
Bunny was the ninth in a line of English sea captains and would be the first not to follow in that profession. He attended St. James High School in Brooklyn and worked as a grocery clerk before running away in the late 1800s to discover the world of entertainment and appear in a small touring minstrel show. He became involved in theater and appeared in musical comedies such as "Old Dutch" with Hattie Williams and Lew Fields. He also worked as a stage manager for various stock companies. Bunny's rebellious nature took over again and he quit the theater to become involved in the "flickers". This was a very bold step. Not only was it a major step down for a "legitimate" stage actor to go into the movies at that time, but Bunny took a pay cut from $150 to $40 a week to work for Vitagraph in 1910. He made more than 250 shorts for Vitagraph over five years and become the best known face in the world.
Bunny always said that he did not aim to be a comedian, but with his short, gnome-like appearance and a weight approaching the 300-pound mark, he wound up taking advantage of these features to play comedy (he once asked rhetorically, "How could I play Romeo with a figure like mine?"). Bunny's co-star for the majority of his films was Flora Finch, who contrasted with Bunny's figure by being tall and thin. They usually appeared as Mr. & Mrs. Bunny. Their shorts were referred to as "Bunnygraphs" and "Bunnyfinches". They stayed away from physical comedy and dealt with relationships, usually the man getting away with something that his wife disagrees with.
Bunny even traveled to England to make a version of Charles Dickens' "Pickwick Papers". He decided to go back on the road with "John Bunny in Funnyland", but it was not a success. Not only did the show fail, but he was tired and ill. He talked to Vitagraph about restarting his film career, but it was too late. The man who led an adventurous life--he raced horses and flew airplanes--died at his home at 1416 Glenwood Road in Brooklyn of Bright's Disease in 1915. His funeral was held at the Elks Club House on West 43rd St. After just five years in the business, Bunny was gone and forgotten. The news of his death was heard around the world. He was so popular in Russia they created a series with an impersonator using the name "Poxon" after Bunny died. Bunny had two children, George (dec. 1958) and John (dec. 1971) Sadly, only a handful of Bunny's films survive. The one most available is the popular A Cure for Pokeritis (1912).