George O’Brien was born on 4th of April, 1899, in California’s San Francisco city, USA.
He was a famous actor in American cinema, who worked both in the silent era as well as the talkie era (the 1930s). He was also a renowned singer of that period.
His mother was Margaret L. O’Brien and father was Daniel J. O’Brien. Daniel was San Francisco city’s Chief of Police.
O’Brien was married to Marguerite Churchill, also an actress, from 1933 to 1948. They had two daughters, Orin and Darcy. Orin was a bass player, and Darcy was a writer and professor.
George shuffled many careers before foraying into the movie business. He was part of the US Navy during the First World War period. He joined the force in 1917 to work as a stretcher bearer to carry wounded Navy soldiers. He was honored for his service to the nation.
After his stint in the Navy, he started his career as a Light Heavyweight boxer of the Pacific Fleet.
George decided to become an actor in the 1920s. He planned to become a cameraman. He started assisting the famous stars of that era, Buck Jones and Tom Mix, as an assistant cameraman.
As far as his acting career was concerned, he first worked as a stuntman in movies. His first movie as a stuntman was Moran of the Lady Letty, in 1922, which was directed by George Melford, and had the famous actor, Rudolph Valentino, in the lead. The very same year, he also did a movie called The Ghost Breaker. He made his movie debut in 1923 in The Ne’er-Do-Well. ‘The Man Who Came Back’, released in 1924, was O’Brien’s first film as a leading hero. In 1924 itself, he featured in two films, The Iron Horse and Shadows of Paris. There was no looking back for George after this.
One of the most memorable performances of George was in the movie, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. The movie was a major blockbuster and went on to win 3 Academy Awards at the first Oscar Awards. With the advent of the talkie age, O’Brien smoothly transformed into a talkie movie actor and achieved great success.
As World War 2 started, he again got into the Navy to serve his country. He was honored for his contribution. Later, he became a part of the Naval Reserve of the US. He finally left the service in 1962.
He did select movies after his retirement from the Navy.
George was bedridden for four years after a stroke struck him in 1981. At the age of 86, he passed away in Oklahoma.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles features George’s name for his contribution to the American cinema.