This article is about the actor. For his son, the science fiction writer, see Fritz Leiber.
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Fritz Leiber in 1930
Fritz Reuter Leiber
(1882-01-31)31 January 1882
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
14 October 1949(1949-10-14) (aged 67)
Hollywood, CA, U.S.
Cause of death
Virginia Bronson (1910-1949) (his death)
Fritz Reuter Leiber Sr. (January 31, 1882 – October 14, 1949), was an American actor. A Shakespearean actor on stage, he also had a successful career in film. He was the father of science fiction and fantasy writer Fritz Leiber, Jr., who was also an actor for a time.
3 Portrait collection
6 External links
Born in Chicago, Leiber was based there for most of his pre-Hollywood career. He married Virginia Bronson, who like him was a Shakespearian performer. Leiber died from a heart attack at the age of 67.
Fritz Leiber as Caesar with Theda Bara in Cleopatra (1917)
Leiber and his wife spent much of their time touring in a Shakespearian acting company, known by the 1930s as Fritz Leiber & Co. Leiber made his film bow in 1916, playing Mercutio in the Francis X. Bushman version of Romeo and Juliet. With his piercing eyes and shock of white hair, Leiber seemed every inch the priests, professors, musical professors, and religious fanatics that he was frequently called upon to play in films. His many silent-era portrayals included Caesar in Theda Bara’s 1917 Cleopatra and Solomon in the mammoth 1921 Betty Blythe vehicle The Queen of Sheba.
He thrived as a character actor in sound films, usually in historical roles. In the film Champagne Waltz, he portrayed an orchestra maestro; the role required him to play classical music on a violin and jazz on a clarinet. One of Leiber’s larger assignments of the 1940s, and his most notable musical role, was as Franz Liszt in the Claude Rains remake of Phantom of the Opera (1943).
Leiber appears together with his son Fritz Leiber, Jr. in the wedding-feast scene of Greta Garbo’s film Camille (1936) and in Warner Bros.’ The Great Garrick (1937).