Fritz Leiber, Sr.


Fritz Leiber, Sr.

Fritz Reuter Leiber Sr. (January 31, 1882October 14, 1949), was an American actor and father of the author Fritz Leiber, Jr. The two Leibers appear together, along with Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor, in the wedding-feast scene of Garbo's film "Camille".

Born in Chicago, he was a noted Shakespearean actor on stage and also in Hollywood from 1916 to his death from a heart attack at the age of 67.

For most or all of his long acting career, Leiber (Sr.) had an interesting hobby: each time he performed a new role, he had his likeness or portrait made in costume and make-up for that role. Since Leiber was not an especially protean actor, he tended to look the same in every part: therefore, to bring some variety to his portrait collection, he varied the format and media of each likeness: one was a full-length oil painting, another a charcoal sketch of his upper body; one a sculpted bust, one a clay bas-relief, and so forth. After the actor's death, all of his surviving portraits passed to his son Fritz Jr., who found himself in the awkward situation of sharing a cramped residence with more than two hundred copies of his father's face; Fritz Leiber Jr. later used this experience as the basis of his 1963 story "237 Talking Statues, Etc."

In the film "The Champagne Waltz", Leiber portrayed an orchestra maestro; the role required him to play classical music on a violin and jazz on a clarinet. In a 1979 interview with journalist F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, Fritz Leiber Jr. stated that these scenes were not dubbed, and that his father played several instruments expertly. Leiber's most notable musical role is as Franz Liszt in "The Phantom of the Opera".

Late in his career, Leiber performed briefly opposite Charles Chaplin as the priest who visits "Monsieur Verdoux" in his death cell.

External links

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* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9484 Fritz Leiber's Photo & Gravesite]


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