Ford Sterling biography

Ford Sterling

Ford Sterling is one of the forgotten comedians of the silent era, known if at all as the Keystone comedian whose brief star was eclipsed by the arrival of Charlie Chaplin. A new biography by Wendy Warwick White (presumably the first devoted to Sterling) ought to do much to overturn assumptions and revive his reputation. Blurbs for the books indicate that he left behind a comfortable, middle-class childhood to journey via circus, vaudeville, burlesque, Shakespeare and Broadway to achieving fame as a silent film comedian. His film career was not ended by Chaplin’s rise, instead he became a successful character player and made a successful transition to sound. He was a cartoonist, photographer, and became a millionaire. But this once famous figure has been left aside by history. Sterling’s films are probably only ever going to be of interest to the specialist now, but this sounds like a personal history well worth recovering. Ford Sterling: The Life and Films is published by McFarland.

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