George O'Brien was born on April 19,
1899 in San Francisco, California. He participated in football,
track, baseball and swimming in high school and college.
He enlisted in
the Navy in World War I. While in the Navy he became the fleet
light-heavyweight boxing champ. He also volunteered to be a
stretcher bearer for the Marines and received five decorations for valor.
In the early
twenties Tom Mix was making a movie near San Francisco. It was his
habit to visit the local law enforcement chief. In San Francisco
that was George O'Brien's father. He met Tom Mix and Tom got him a
job carrying a camera. The cameras were quite heavy in those days
and George O'Brien seemed to be able to handle that.
He began with
bit roles and was making $15.00 a week when Director, John Ford noticed
him and cast him in the lead of the epic western The Iron Horse.
After that, he
was a leading man in some silent movies. Then when sound became the rage,
George O'Brien made the transition well.
It was at this
time that he became almost exclusively a star of b-westerns. He was
one of the top 10 makers of the