Joseph Henabery (January 15, 1888 – February 18, 1976) of Omaha, Nebraska, was a film actor, screenplay writer, and director in the United States. He is best known for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in D.W. Griffith's controversial 1915 silent historical epic The Birth of a Nation.
Henabery's acting career began in The Joke on Yellentown (1914). From 1914 to 1917 he appeared in seventeen films, including his portrayal of Lincoln in The Birth of a Nation.
Henabery also worked as a second-unit director on Griffith's Intolerance (1916), and supervised the filming of at least one extended sequence that appeared in the film. Henabery also acted as Admiral de Coligny in the Renaissance French portion of the film depicting the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. Throughout the rest of his career, he worked as a director. From the mid-1920s, and after professional disagreements with both Louis B. Mayer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Adolph Zukor at Paramount Pictures, Henabery found employment as a director for smaller Hollywood studios.
In 1931 he joined the Vitaphone studio in New York City, where he directed dozens of short subjects for the next 10 years. Most of them were musicals and comedies, featuring a host of popular singers in 20-minute sketches. Henabery remained with Vitaphone until the New York studio closed in 1940.
As Abraham Lincoln
Although Henabery's impersonation of Lincoln was a masterpiece of facial makeup, the 6'1" (185 cm) Henabery was three inches shorter than the 6'4" (193 cm) Lincoln. Kevin Brownlow's book The Parade's Gone By (1968) contains a photo of Henabery in costume and makeup as Lincoln, seated in a chair with planks placed on the floor under Henabery's feet so that his knees are raised several inches; this effect (with the planks kept off-camera in the movie) made Henabery's legs appear longer than they actually were.
|Say! Young Fellow||1918||director and scenarist|
|Life of the Party||1920|
|Making a Man||1922|
|A Sainted Devil||1924|
|Meet the Prince||1926|
|United States Smith||1928|
|Red Hot Speed||1929|
|Double or Nothing||1936||Short|
|The Birth of a Nation||1915||Abraham Lincoln|
|The Spell of the Poppy||1915||John Hale|
|The Penitentes||1915||Minor Role||Uncredited|
|Intolerance||1916||L'amiral de Coligny / Defendant||(final film role)|
This article includes a list of general references, but it remains largely unverified because it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. (February 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Henabery, Joseph (June 19, 1997). Before, In, and After Hollywood: The Autobiography of Joseph E. Henabery. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810832008 – via Google Books.
- "Joseph Henabery, Film Director, Dies". February 20, 1976 – via NYTimes.com.
- Katchmer, George A. (May 20, 2015). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. ISBN 9781476609058 – via Google Books.
- Lentz, Harris M. (1996). Western and Frontier Film and Television Credits 1903-1995: Section I. Actors and actresses. Section II. Directors, producers, and writers. ISBN 9780786402175.
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