Image of H.B. Warner

H.B. Warner

Henry Byron Warner was the definitive cinematic Jesus Christ in Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings (1927). He was born into a prominent theatrical family on October 26, 1875 in London. His father was Charles Warner, and his grandfather was James Warner, both prominent English actors. He replaced J.B. Warner as Jesus in The King of Kings (1927) when J.B. died of tuberculosis at age 29. (J.B. was not Henry's brother. J.B. had taken the professional last name "Warner" because Henry's family took him in.) Henry Warner's family wanted him to become a doctor, and he graduated from London University but eventually gave up his medical studies. The theater was in his blood, and he studied acting in Paris and Italy before joining his father's stock company, making his debut in the English production of "Drink." It was from his father that he honed his craft. Warner made it to America in the early 1900s, after touring the British Empire. Billed as Harry Warner, he made his Broadway debut in the American colonial drama "Audrey" at Hoyt's Theatre on November 24, 1902, starring James O'Neill, the father of playwright Eugene O'Neill. He was billed as H.B. Warner in his next appearance on Broadway, in the 1906 comedy "Nurse Marjorie." He appeared in 13 more Broadway productions in his career, from the twin-bill of "Susan in Search of a Husband" & "A Tenement Tragedy" (also 1906) to "Silence" in 1925. He moved into motion pictures, making his debut in the Mutual short Harp of Tara (1914). Also in 1914, he appeared in a film written by Cecil B. DeMille for Famous Players Lasky, The Ghost Breaker (1914), in which he had played on Broadway the year before. Warner became a leading man and a star in silent pictures, reaching the zenith of his career playing Jesus in DeMille's The King of Kings (1927). His excellent performance was actually enhanced by the silent screen, allowing the audience to imagine how Jesus would sound. Warner could be extremely moving in silent pictures, notably in the melodrama Sorrell and Son (1927) as a war veteran father who sacrifices all for his son. When talkies arrived, he became a busy supporting player. A favorite of Frank Capra , appeared in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). Cast again by Capra, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Lost Horizon (1937). He also appeared in You Can't Take It with You (1938), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Other major talkies included The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) and Topper Returns (1941). Other than Jesus, the role he is best remembered role for today is in It's a Wonderful Life (1946), in which he played Mr. Gower, the druggist who is saved from committing a lethal medication error by the young George Bailey (the James Stewart character as a child). H.B. Warner appeared in Sunset Blvd. (1950) as himself. His last credited role was as Amminadab in DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), a remake of the earlier silent The Ten Commandments (1923). He last role was an uncredited bit part in Darby's Rangers (1958).

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Oct 26, 1875
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie The Lost Paradise 1914-09-01
Latest Project:
Pelicula Los Diez Mandamientos 1959-12-21
Known For
Poster of Aquí viene el novio
Poster of Savage Drums
Poster of ¿Héroe o cobarde?
Poster of The Lost Paradise
Pelicula Los Diez Mandamientos Amminadab 1959-12-21
Series Oscar (The Academy Awards) Unknown 1953-03-18
Pelicula Savage Drums 1951-06-22
Pelicula The First Legion Father José Sierra 1951-05-04
Pelicula Aquí viene el novio Uncle Elihu 1951-09-20
Pelicula Journey into Light Wiz, the Wino 1951-09-28
Pelicula El crepúsculo de los dioses Himself 1950-08-10
Pelicula El Paso Judge Fletcher 1949-03-22
Pelicula Hellfire Brother Joseph 1949-05-29
Pelicula Caballero sin espada Senate Majority Leader 1949-05-15
Pelicula The Prince Of Thieves Gilbert Head 1948-01-16
Pelicula ¡Qué bello es vivir! Mr. Gower 1948-03-27
Pelicula Muro de tinieblas Mr. Slocum 1947-12-17
Pelicula Driftwood Rev. Hollingsworth 1947-09-15
Pelicula The Judge Steps Out Chief Justice Hayes 1947-12-15
Pelicula Strange Impersonation Dr. Mansfield, plastic surgeon 1946-03-16
Pelicula Action in Arabia Abdul El Rashid 1944-02-18
Pelicula Enemy of Women Col. Eberhart Brandt 1944-11-10
Pelicula Rogues' Gallery Professor Reynolds 1944-12-06
Pelicula Faces in the Fog Defense Attorney Rankins 1944-11-30
Pelicula Los hijos de Hitler The Bishop 1943-01-06
Pelicula Women in Bondage Pastor Renz 1943-12-16
Pelicula The Boss of Big Town Jeffrey Moore 1942-12-07
Pelicula Encrucijada Prosecuting Attorney 1942-07-23
Pelicula A Yank In Libya Herbert Forbes 1942-07-24
Pelicula City of Missing Girls Capt. McVeigh 1941-03-27
Pelicula La mujer fantasma Mr. Carrington 1941-03-21
Pelicula Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime Ray Jardin 1941-08-14
Pelicula El hombre que vendió su alma Justice John Hawthorne 1941-10-29
Pelicula Justicia corsa Dr. Enrico Paoli 1941-11-28
Pelicula South of Tahiti High Chief Kawalima 1941-10-17
Pelicula New Moon Father Michel 1940-06-28
Pelicula Let Freedom Ring Rutledge 1939-02-24
Pelicula Arrest Bulldog Drummond Colonel Nielsen 1939-01-11
Pelicula Vinieron las lluvias Maharajah 1939-09-15
Pelicula Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police Col. Nielson 1939-03-29
Pelicula The Gracie Allen Murder Case Richard Lawrence 1939-06-02
Pelicula Nurse Edith Cavell Hugh Gibson 1939-08-31
Pelicula Bulldog Drummond's Bride Colonel Nielson 1939-07-12
Pelicula The Toy Wife Victor Brigard 1938-06-10
Pelicula Las aventuras de Marco Polo Chen Tsu 1938-07-04
Pelicula Kidnapped Angus Rankeiller 1938-05-27
Pelicula The Girl of the Golden West Father Sienna 1938-03-18
Pelicula Bulldog Drummond in Africa Col. J.A. Nielsen 1938-08-05
Pelicula Vive como quieras Mr. Ramsey 1938-08-23
Pelicula Army Girl Col. Armstrong 1938-08-11
Pelicula Victoria the Great Lord Melbourne 1937-09-01
Pelicula Horizontes perdidos Chang 1937-08-31
Pelicula Our Fighting Navy British Consul Brent 1937-09-25
Pelicula Rose of the Rancho Don Pasqual Castro 1936-01-09
Pelicula The Garden Murder Case Major Fenwicke-Ralston 1936-02-21
Pelicula El secreto de vivir Judge May 1936-04-12
Pelicula Along Came Love Dr. Martin 1936-11-05
Pelicula Moonlight Murder Godfrey Chiltern 1936-03-27
Pelicula Born to Gamble Carter Mathews 1935-07-09
Pelicula Viva Villa! Man 1934-04-27
Pelicula Night Alarm Henry B. Smith 1934-12-10
Pelicula Grand Canary Dr Ismay 1934-07-20
Pelicula In Old Santa Fe Charlie Miller 1934-11-15
Pelicula Behold My Wife! Hubert Carter 1934-12-06
Pelicula Sobrenatural Dr. Carl Houston 1933-05-12
Pelicula Jennie Gerhardt William Gerhardt 1933-06-08
Pelicula Unholy Love Dr. Daniel Gregory 1932-06-08
Pelicula A Woman Commands Col. Stradimirovitsch 1932-02-12
Pelicula The Menace Inspector Tracy 1932-01-29
Pelicula Charlie Chan's Chance Inspector Fife 1932-01-24
Pelicula Cross-Examination Gerald Waring 1932-02-13
Pelicula ¿Héroe o cobarde? Dr. Brown 1932-06-30
Pelicula The Son-Daughter Sin Kai 1932-12-23
Pelicula The Phantom of Crestwood Priam Andes 1932-10-14
Pelicula The Crusader Phillip Brandon 1932-10-04
Pelicula A Woman of Experience Hugh Schmidt 1931-08-06
Pelicula The Reckless Hour Walter Nichols 1931-08-15
Pelicula Expensive Women Melville Raymond 1931-10-24
Pelicula Five Star Final Michael Townsend 1931-09-26
Pelicula The Second Floor Mystery Inspector Bray 1930-04-26
Pelicula Wild Company Henry Grayson 1930-07-05
Pelicula The Green Goddess Major Crespin 1930-02-13
Pelicula On Your Back Raymond Pryor 1930-09-14
Pelicula Liliom Chief Magistrate 1930-10-05
Pelicula Stark Mad 1929-02-02
Pelicula Trafalgar Sir William Hamilton 1929-03-31
Pelicula Show of Shows The Victim - Guillotine Sequence 1929-12-28
Pelicula The Trial Of Mary Dugan District Attorney Galway 1929-06-08
Pelicula Conquest James Farnham 1928-12-22
Pelicula El capitán Sorrell Stephen Sorrell 1927-12-02
Pelicula El rey de reyes Jesus, The Christ 1927-01-01
Pelicula Zaza Bernard Dufresne 1923-10-21
Pelicula The Raiders Scott Wells 1916-02-27
Pelicula The Vagabond Prince Prince Tonio 1916-10-22
Pelicula The Beggar of Cawnpore Dr. Robert Lowndes 1916-04-29
Pelicula The Lost Paradise Reuben Warren 1914-09-01