Actor Biography


Born: 1900, Staunton City, VA

Died: 1973, Santa Monica, CA

Notable Films: Brown of Harvard (1926), Show People (1928)

William Haines was a baby of the new century, born January 2, 1900. He left his Virginia home while still a teenager. Following the path of many show business hopefuls, he traveled to New York City. His first movie appearances were in bit and supporting parts for Goldwyn Productions in 1922 and 1923. As he gained experience, he received larger supporting roles at the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He starred in low budget productions at Columbia Pictures and co-starred with Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer, and Sally O'Neil.

His first starring role at MGM, Brown of Harvard, 1926, fixed both his screen persona and the general story line of his films. Initially, his character is a brash, confident, know-it-all who lacks discipline and dedication. Eventually he learns the errors of his ways, reforms, and makes good. He was one of the first MGM stars to appear in a part-talkie, Alias Jimmy Valentine (1928). Although he continued to star at MGM, his popularity had waned, and he was released in 1932. Allegedly, his release was related to his refusal to separate from his partner, Jimmy Shields.

Haines' final two films were low-budget productions made for Mascot Pictures in 1934. After his movie career ended, Haines established a successful second career as an interior decorator. William Haines died in Santa Monica, California in December, 1973.