Published March 1, 1921
Actor Richard Barthelmess appeared in silent films and talkies from the 1910s to the 1940s, when he served in the war. Barthelmess worked with such leading ladies as Alla Nazimova and Lillian Gish, and with directors such as D.W. Griffith, in 'Broken Blossoms,' and Howard Hawks, in 'Only Angels Have Wings.' Here, he appears in another D.W. Griffith film, 'Way Down East.' Photograph by James Abbé in the March 1921 Vanity Fair.
(American, 1883-1973) Born in Alfred, Maine. He discovered photography at a young age during his childhood in Newport, Rhode Island but did not begin his professional career until moving to New York City a the age of thirty-four. Abbe is noted for his unique style of celebrity portraiture. Most notable are his theatrical portraits. Unlike most photographers of the day, he brought a battery of equipment, lights, and mirrors directly to the theaters to capture the players in their natural environment and costume. The resulting images combined the clarity of the photo studio with the vitality of the stage. Beginning in the late 1910s, Abbé's photos were featured in the pages of French and American Vogue and Vanity Fair. He traveled Europe and Russia extensively during the 1920s to 1940s making more film and stage actor portraits but also writing and recording the effects of World War II. At this time he began making portraits of political leaders; through this wartime photography and writing Abbé became a pioneer in photojournalism. After the war, Abbé moved back to the United States and worked as a television critic and radio news commentator on his own radio program, James Abbe Observes, in San Francisco.