: I was only saying to the Queen the other day how I hate name dropping . . .
Although he appeared in approximately 100 movies or television shows, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. never really intended to take up acting as a career. However, the environment he was born into and the circumstances naturally led him to be a thespian.
He proved a gifted boy early in life. To the end of his life he remained a multi-talented, hyperactive man, not content to appear in 100 films, handsome, distinguished and extremely bright, he excelled at sports (much like his father), notably during his stay at the Military Academy.
He became involved in business, in fields as varied as mining, hotel management, owning a chain of bowling alleys and a firm that manufactured popcorn.
He married a young starlet who was soon to become better known as Joan Crawford. The young couple became the toast of the town and good parts and success followed, such as Fairbanks' role as the hapless partner of Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar or more debonair characters in slapstick comedies or adventure yarns.
During World War II he headed London's Douglas Voluntary Hospital (an establishment taking care of war refugees), was President Franklin D. Roosevelt's special envoy for the Special Mission to South America in 1940 before becoming a lieutenant in the Navy (he was promoted to the rank of captain in 1954) and taking part in the Allies' landing in Sicily and Elba in 1943.
A fervent Anglophile, Fairbanks was knighted in 1949 and often entertained Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in his London mansion, "The Boltons".
After World War II, his star waned and, despite a moving part in Ghost Story (1981), he did not appear in a major movie.
Now a legend himself, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. left this world with the satisfaction of having lived up to the Fairbanks name at the end of a life nobody could call "wasted".