THOMAS H. INCE Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » thomas h ince


Name: Thomas H. Ince                                                                 
Born: 6 November 1882 Newport, Rhode Island, USA                                     
Died: 19 November 1924 Beverly Hills, California, U.S.                               
Thomas Harper Ince (November 6, 1882 – November 19, 1924) was an American silent   
film actor, director, producer and screenwriter. His brothers, John and Ralph         
Ince, were also actors and film directors.                                           
Born in Newport, Rhode Island, Ince invented many mechanisms of professional         
movie production, like the usage of a detailed "shooting script", which also         
contained information on who was in the scene, and the "scene plot" which listed     
all interiors and exteriors, cost control plans and so on. He helped create a         
standardized and mechanized mode of production. He also was one of the first who     
had a separate writer, director and cutter (instead of doing everything himself).     
In 1910, Ince was director at I.M.P. In 1911, Ince went to work at the New York       
Motion Picture Company which merged with Universal in 1912. That same year, Ince     
directed "Studio Inceville" and the Bison 101 movies as projects for Bison Life       
Motion Pictures.                                                                     
Working under General Manager Fred J. Balshofer at the California studio/ranch       
of Bison Motion Pictures division of the New York Motion Picture Company, Ince's     
movies were mainly early Westerns, which were successful because of their             
beautiful images and their rhythm. While working with the New York Motion             
Picture Company, Ince also formed his own company, Kay-Bee Productions Ince           
wrote a number of screenplays including 1915's The Italian which has been             
preserved by the United States National Film Registry. Ince also notably boosted     
cowboy actor William S. Hart as the top western star of his time.                     
In 1915, Ince partnered with D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett to create the             
Triangle Motion Picture Company in Culver City, California. In 1918, he sold out     
to Griffith and Sennett and bought property from Harry Culver and formed the         
Thomas H. Ince Studios, which were in business from 1919 to 1924. In 1925, Cecil     
B. Demille acquired the land, renaming it the DeMille Studios. A street in           
Culver City, intersecting the Culver Studios is called Ince Blvd., in his honor       
and there is an Ince Theater planned to be constructed in a parking lot adjacent     
to Ince Blvd. in the near future.                                                     
On November 19, 1924, the silent film producer and 'father of the Western' died,     
officially of a heart attack suffered while on a weekend boat trip with William       
Randolph Hearst aboard Hearst's lavish yacht, The Oneida, while attending a           
cruise in honor of Ince's 42nd birthday. Other prominent guests in attendance         
were actor Charlie Chaplin, newspaper columnist Louella Parsons, author Elinor       
Glyn and film actresses Marion Davies, Aileen Pringle, Jacqueline Logan, Seena       
Owen, Margaret Livingston and Julanne Johnston.                                       
In the years since, several conflicting stories have circulated about Ince's         
death, often revolving around the claim that Hearst shot Ince in a fit of             
jealousy (or shot Ince accidentally while fighting with Chaplin over Davies) and     
used his power and influence to cover up the killing.                                 
A 2001 film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, The Cat's Meow, tells a tale based on     
these rumors. Bogdanovich claims he heard the story of Ince's death from             
director Orson Welles who in turn said he heard it from writer Herman J.             
Mankiewicz. Ince is portrayed in the film by Cary Elwes, William Randolf Hearst       
is portrayed by Edward Herrmann, Marion Davies is portrayed by Kirsten Dunst,         
and Charlie Chaplin is portrayed by Eddie Izzard.                                     
Patty Hearst co-authored a novel with Cordelia Frances Biddle titled Murder at       
San Simeon (Scribner, 1996), based upon the death of Ince.