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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.



Robert/Bob Frazer

Last name sometimes spelled: Fraser

Real name:
Robert William Browne

1885 or 1889 - 1944

(Image courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Robert Frazer - circa 1937



(Image courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Robert Frazer - circa 1910s



(Image courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Robert Frazer - circa 1920s at FBO

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Robert Frazer got the acting bug in his teen years and did amateur stage plays before entering legitimate theater and silent films on the East coast. One of his early movie jobs was the lead in ROBIN HOOD (Eclair, 1912) which was filmed in and around Fort Lee, New Jersey.

He and his wife, stage actress Mildred Bright (1892-1967), moved to California in the early 1920s, and he began a long career in silents and talkies, including some starring roles.

Frazer was a very busy guy in silents, appearing in films for Fox, Universal, MGM, Rayart, First National, FBO, Tiffany-Stahl, more. When talkies arrived, he had the lead in a few films such as the serial MYSTERY TROOPER (Syndicate, 1931) and a dual role in TWO GUN CABALLERO (William Pizor, 1931). But in the early 1930s, he was 40+ years of age and his leading man days were over. For the remainder of his career, he was relegated to support/character roles in serials, westerns, detective/mysteries, melodramas, et al where he sometimes portrayed the brains/dress heavy, barking orders to his gang in a rich, deep voice.

Frazer did not specialize in B westerns. I most remember him in cliffhangers for Mascot and Republic as well as several Bela Lugosi horror flicks including WHITE ZOMBIE (1932). And who can forget Frazer as "Dr. Paul Gironda", revealed as the "evil hand that clutches", in Chapter 15 of the long and brain numbing THE AMAZING EXPLOITS OF THE CLUTCHING HAND (Weiss/Stage & Screen, 1936).

Frazer did occasionally portray Native Americans. Examples: he was "Chief Lone Eagle" in the George O'Brien THE RAINBOW TRAIL (Fox, 1932) as well as "Chief Black Wing" in the Tom Mix chapterplay THE MIRACLE RIDER (Mascot, 1935).

His 30+ year Hollywood career ran from about 1912-1944 and about 225 silent and sound films. His paydays at Republic Pictures occurred late in life, circa 1940s. At Republic, he did about 15 films, including several serials and westerns.

In their Best Of The Badmen book, Boyd Magers, Bob Nareau and Bobby Copeland report that Frazer passed away from leukemia in 1944, and he had many talents including amateur portrait photography and oil portrait painting as well as being a chemist and inventor.

Jack Tillmany mentioned a Frazer role that didn't occur: "American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films 1941-1950 and also Variety (29 March 1944) credit Frazer as playing 'J. D. Edwards' in PARTNERS OF THE TRAIL (Johnny Mack Brown, Monogram, released March, 1944), but he does not appear in this film, and that role is played by Joseph Eggenton. Perhaps illness caused him to pull out at the last minute and production records were never corrected."

Among Frazer's final screen work was the high priest role in THE TIGER WOMAN (Republic, 1944) cliffhanger and playing a judge in the Hopalong Cassidy FORTY THIEVES (Harry Sherman Prod./United Artists, 1944). Both of those were released during Summer, 1944.

Robert Frazer passed away from leukemia on August 17, 1944.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Robert Frazer and his wife, Mildred Bright (1892-1967):
                    Robert Frazer: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0292537/
                    Mildred Bright: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0109167/

The Internet Broadway Database lists one play for Robert W. Frazer circa 1917: http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=63490

The Family Search website (free), ProQuest obituaries, the California Death Records database, death certificate, and newspaper and Hollywood tradepaper articles provide more on Frazer:

Frazer had a good voice and was able to deliver dialog well, probably because of his early years doing plays. I wondered if he did any radio work and checked J. David Goldin's RadioGoldIndex website and found five 1930s programs featuring "Robert Frazer". However, I had none of these in my collection, so am unable to confirm this is our movie Robert Frazer. When you get to the site, click "Start Here", then select "Search By Artist", then select F, and then scroll down for Robert Frazer radio credits: http://radiogoldindex.com/

The Silents Are Golden website has a 1920s photo of Frazer: http://www.silentsaregolden.com/photos/robertfrazerphoto.html

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website notes that Frazer is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8755688

The Fort Lee (New Jersey) Film Commission website has a writeup on the Eclair film company (where Frazer starred as Robin Hood): http://www.fortleefilm.org/studios.html




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Left to right in the above lobby card from the silent SIOUX BLOOD (MGM, 1929) are Marian Douglas, Robert Frazer (as "Lone Eagle"), and the trussed up hero, Tim McCoy.



(Courtesy of Richard Harrison)

Above is the title lobby card from the lost/missing TWO GUN CABALLERO (William Pizor, 1931) with star Robert Frazer shown on the left and right sides in this dual role oater. Note that he is billed as Fraser (with an S). Below is another lobby card with Frazer on the left with the twin six-shooters, and in the photo, he's in the center seat.


(Courtesy of Les Adams)




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a crop from a lobby card from the police yarn MILLION DOLLAR HAUL (Superior/Stage & Screen, 1935). From L-to-R are Janet Chandler, Robert Frazer and hero Reed Howes. HAUL was one of Reed Howes' last starring roles.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a lobby card and crop/blowup from Chapter 10 of THE BLACK COIN (Weiss/Stage & Screen, 1936). From left to right in the crop/blowup are Robert Walker, bartender William Desmond, Robert Frazer, Roger Williams and Carl Mathews.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are Robert Frazer and Roger Williams in a chapter 11 lobby card from the serial THE BLACK COIN (Weiss/Stage & Screen, 1936).



(From Old Corral image collection)

In the above lobby card from PALS OF THE PECOS (Republic, 1941), Bob Livingston is in the blue shirt, Bob Steele has the reddish shirt and tan trousers, and Rufe Davis is wearing a vest and light colored shirt. Wearin' the rope is Robert Frazer.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is a scene still from the RIDERS OF THE WEST (Monogram, 1942), one of the eight Monogram Rough Riders adventures starring Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton. From left to right are Christine McIntyre, Sarah Padden, Raymond Hatton (white coat), Harry Woods (without his usual moustache), Walter McGrail, Buck Jones (sitting on desk), and Bud Osborne. Dennis Moore is kneeling over the floored Robert Frazer. Christine McIntyre was the resident leading lady in the Columbia Pictures short subjects unit, and today is best remembered for her work in about three dozen two-reelers starring the Three Stooges.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are the quartet of no-goodniks from the Allan Lane serial DAREDEVILS OF THE WEST (Republic, 1943). From left to right are William Haade, Robert Frazer, Ted Adams and George J. Lewis. Frazer is the brains heavy and Adams is his crooked attorney. Haade and Lewis report to them.



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