Charles Dorian (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸
The How-I-Made-Good-In-Hollywood-Club has never been successful in enlisting Charley Dorian as a member.
He is one of the directors now, and he literally landed on a bet. In 1917, he was signed for an Orpheum vaudeville act in San Francisco. The sketch was the original of Willard Mack’s later Broadway success, “Kick In.”
With a group of friends in a Market Street restaurant, Dorian accepted the short end of a wager that he could crash the movies. Stuart Peyton was about to produce a serial. Dorian went to Hollywood, made his initial approach and played for sixteen weeks in the jump-and-wait pictures. He made three of them.
Peyton liked his nerve. They wanted a man to jump from the hurricane deck of the S. S. President, well offshore. Dorian observed the ship, the sea and the salary, and announced that he would make the leap. He arranged with Captain Cousins for a series of signals.
“If you’re all right,” the skipper told him, “stick one hand up. If you’re in trouble, put up both hands.”
“Yeah,” Dorian assured him. “I will. And if you see both feet, for the love of Mike, send me a submarine.”
A revenue cutter picked Dorian up, after he had raised one hand.
Assistant to Brown
After that episode, he joined Clarence Brown, now an ace director with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as assistant. Brown figured that a man who could act, dare death and laugh, might also direct. Time has proved the truth of his conviction. Dorian worked with Maurice Tourneur, later with Norma Talmadge and Rudolph Valentino, then in company with Brown, became an assistant at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
With two exceptions, he served as Brown’s assistant on every picture that distinguished director made. Dorian worked with Jack Conway on “Hell Below” and other pictures, for three years. Then again, he continued as Brown’s assistant. In recognition of that work, praised by no one more than Brown himself, Dorian today is under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a director in his own right.
Picture business came naturally to him. He was born in Santa Monica, California, on June 27, the son of C. P. and Mary F. Dorian. His father was an insurance broker. The family home adjoined that of the historic Carrillo family, of which Leo is the scion. On the day of his birth, it was old Judge Carrillo, father of the present star, who strode by short-cut through the Dorian back yard and realized that something was in progress in the Dorian home that required immediate attention.
Friend of Carrillo
“I was born in Leo Carrillo’s back yard, in a manner of speaking,” said Dorian. “Old Judge Carrillo sensed my arrival and the family did the rest. After that, I was raised in a hole in the ground in our own back yard.”
Dorian today is six feet tall, weighs 175 pounds and it’s all muscle and bone. His hair is brown, with no gray to speak of, and his eyes are keen blue, with changeable lights in their depths according to his mood. He was educated in Los Angeles schools and St. Vincent’s College, but is convinced that he acquired his greatest knowledge in the theatre and the studios.
He is married to Hazel Page and is the father of two children, Mary Lou, 14 years old, and Charles Dorian, 10.
Collection: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1937)