Richard Dix

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Richard Dix
Dix as featured on the poster for Redskin(1929).
BornErnst Carlton Brimmer
(1893-07-18)July 18, 1893
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedSeptember 20, 1949(1949-09-20) (aged 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Years activeStage 1914 — 1921
Film 1921 — 1947
Spouse(s)Winifred Coe (1931–1933)
Virginia Webster (1934–1949)
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This article is about the American actor. For the English footballer, see Richard Dix (footballer).
Richard Dix
Dix as featured on the poster for Redskin(1929).
BornErnst Carlton Brimmer
(1893-07-18)July 18, 1893
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedSeptember 20, 1949(1949-09-20) (aged 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Years activeStage 1914 — 1921
Film 1921 — 1947
Spouse(s)Winifred Coe (1931–1933)
Virginia Webster (1934–1949)

Richard Dix (July 18, 1893 – September 20, 1949) was an American motion picture actor who achieved popularity in both silent and sound film.[1] His standard on-screen image was that of the rugged and stalwart hero. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his lead role in the Best Picture winning epic Cimarron (1931).

Early life[edit]

He was born Ernst Carlton Brimmer on July 18, 1893, in St. Paul, Minnesota. There he was educated, and at the desire of his father, studied to be a surgeon. His obvious acting talent in his school dramatic club led him to leading roles in most of the school plays. At 6' and 180 pounds, Dix excelled in sports, especially football and baseball. These skills would serve him well in the vigorous film roles he would go on to play. After a year at the University of Minnesota, he took a position at a bank, spending his evenings training for the stage. His professional start was with a local stock company, and this led to similar work in New York City. The death of his father left him with a mother and sister to support. He went to Los Angeles and became leading man for the Morosco Stock Company. His success there got him a contract with Paramount Pictures.


He then changed his name to Dix. After his move to Hollywood, he began a career in Western movies. One of the few actors to successfully bridge the transition from silent films to talkies, Dix's best-remembered early role was in Cecil B. Demille's silent version of The Ten Commandments (1923). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1931 for his performance as Yancey Cravat in Cimarron, in which he shared top-billing with Irene Dunne. Cimarron, based on the popular novel by Edna Ferber, took the Best Picture award. Dix starred in another RKO adventure, The Lost Squadron.

A memorable role for Dix was in the 1935 British futuristic film The Tunnel. Dix starred in The Great Jasper and Blind Alibi in the late 1930s. His popular RKO Radio Pictures co-star in Blind Alibi was Ace the Wonder Dog. Dix's human co-stars were Whitney Bourne and Eduardo Ciannelli; the film was directed by Lew Landers. Dix also starred as the homicidal Captain Stone in the Val Lewton production of The Ghost Ship, directed by Mark Robson.

In 1944, he starred in The Whistler, the first in a series of eight "Whistler" films for Columbia Pictures. Dix retired from acting after making the seventh in the series, The Thirteenth Hour.


According to the July 1934 Movies magazine, on his ranch near Hollywood whose location he kept a close secret, Dix raised thousands of chickens and turkeys each year. He also had a collection of thousands of pipes, and a "collection" of 36 dogs, "Scotties and English setters". He also read at least five books a week.


Richard Dix first married Winifred Coe on October 20, 1931, had a daughter, Martha Mary Ellen, and divorced in 1933. He then married Virginia Webster on June 29, 1934. They had twin boys, Richard Jr. and Robert Dix and an adopted daughter, Sara Sue.

He retired from films in 1947.

After suffering a serious heart attack on September 12, 1949 while on a train from New York to Los Angeles[2] Dix died at the age of 56 on September 20, 1949. He was survived by four children from his two marriages. Richard Dix, Sr. was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Richard Dix has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1610 Vine Street.


Silent Films
1917One of ManyJames Lowerylost
1921Not GuiltyPaul Ellison/Arthur Ellisonlost
All's Fair in LoveBobby Cameronlost
Dangerous Curve AheadHarley Joneslost
The Poverty of RichesJohn Colbylost
1922The Glorious FoolBilly Grantlost
Yellow Men and GoldParrishlost
Fools FirstTommy Frazerlost
The Wall FlowerWalt Breenlost
The Bonded WomanLee Marvinsurvives; copy at Gosfilmofond
The Sin FloodBill Bearlost
1923The ChristianJohn Stormextant; George Eastman House
QuicksandsLieutenant Billlost
Souls for SaleFrank Claymoreextant
The Woman with Four FacesRichard Templarlost
Racing HeartsRobby Smithlost
To the Last ManJean Isbelsurvives; copy at Gosfilmofond
The Ten CommandmentsJohn McTavishextant; George Eastman, Library of Congress
The Call of the CanyonGlenn Kilbourneextant; Gosfilmofond, Library of Congress
1924The StrangerLarry Darrantlost
IceboundBen Jordanlost
Unguarded WomenDouglas Albrightlost
Sinners In HeavenAlan Croftlost
ManhattanPeter Minuitextant
Too Many KissesRichard Gaylord, Jrextant; Library of Congress
A Man Must LiveGeoffrey Farnelllost
1925The Shock PunchRandall Lee Savageextant;Library of Congress
Men and WomenWill Prescottlost
The Lucky DevilRandy Farnumextant;Library of Congress
The Vanishing AmericanNophaieextant;Library of Congress
WomanhandledBill Danaextant;Library of Congress
1926Let's Get MarriedBilly Dexterextant;Library of Congress
Fascinating YouthHimself (cameo)lost
Say It AgainBob Howardlost
The QuarterbackJack Stoneextant;Library of Congress
1927Paradise for TwoSteve Porterlost
Knockout ReillyDundee "Knockout" Reillylost
Man PowerTom Robertslost
Shanghai BoundJim Bucklinlost
The Gay DefenderJoaquin Murrietalost
1928Sporting GoodsRichard Shelbylost
Easy Come, Easy GoRobert Parkerlost
Warming UpBert Tulliverlost; filmed in silent and Movietone sound version with music and sound effects only
Moran of the MarinesMichael Moranlost
1929The Love DoctorDr. Gerald Summerextant; amongst the 700 Paramounts now owned by Universal
RedskinWingfootextant; Library of Congress; partly filmed in Technicolor
Sound films
1929Nothing But the TruthRobert Bennett
The Wheel of LifeCaptain Leslie Yeullet
Seven Keys to BaldpateWilliam Halliwell Magee
1930Lovin' the LadiesPeter Darby
Shooting StraightLarry Sheldon
1931CimarronYancey CravatNominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Young Donovan's KidJim Donovan
The Public DefenderPike Winslow
Secret ServiceCaptain Lewis Dumont
1932The Lost SquadronCapt. "Gibby" Gibson
Roar of the DragonCaptain Chauncey Carson
Hell's HighwayFrank 'Duke' Ellis
The ConquerorsRoger Standish/Roger Standish Lennox
1933The Great JasperJasper Horn
No Marriage TiesBruce Foster
Ace of Aces2nd Lt. Rex "Rocky" Thorne
Day of ReckoningJohn Day
His Greatest GamblePhillip Eden
West of the PecosPecos Smith
1935The ArizonianClay Tallant
The TunnelRichard 'Mack" McAllan
1936Yellow DustBob Culpepper
Special InvestigatorWilliam "Bill" Fenwick
Devil's SquadronPaul Redmond
1937The Devil's PlaygroundJack Dorgan
The Devil Is DrivingPaul Driscoll
It Happened in HollywoodTim Bart
1938Blind AlibiPaul Dover
Sky GiantCapt. W.R. "Stag" Cahill
1939Man of ConquestSam Houston
Here I Am a StrangerDuke Allen
RenoBill Shear
1940The Marines Fly HighLt. Danny Darrick
Men Against the SkyPhil Mercedes
Cherokee StripMarshal Dave Morrell
1941The RoundupSteve Payson
Badlands of DakotaWild Bill Hickok
1942TombstoneWyatt Earp
American EmpireDan Taylor
1943Eyes of the UnderworldThe Chief, Richard Bryan
Buckskin FrontierStephen Bent
The KansanJohn Bonniwell
Top ManTom Warren
The Ghost ShipCaptain Will Stone
1944The WhistlerEarl C. Conrad
The Mark of the WhistlerLee Selfridge Nugent
1945The Power of the WhistlerWilliam Everest
Voice of the WhistlerJohn Sinclair (John Carter)
1946Mysterious IntruderDon Gale
The Secret of the WhistlerRalph Harrison
1947The Thirteenth HourSteve Reynolds


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, September 21, 1949.
  2. ^ The Advertiser (Adelaide), "Richard Dix Ill", 14 September 1949, p. 1

Dix, Robert. Out of Hollywood: Two Generations of Actors. Ernest Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-0-9822436-0-2

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