Douglas Fairfax

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Douglas Fairfax (b. 1897, d. 1974) was a motion picture actor in the NAL whose career spanned five decades. Of Kemrese extraction, his good looks and suave manner helped make him a star. Born in Mobile to a middle class family, Fairfax's given name was Leonard Jones but when a talent scout for Apex Productions discovered him she insisted he change it to something more box-office-friendly.

Fairfax was almost immediately classified as a leading man, and his third film, My Man Manfred (in which he played an artistocratic valet who eventually wins the heart of an eccentric heiress), secured his status. Later he starred in such films as The Man in the Mask and The Legend of the Avenger where the studio's lessons in fencing were showed off to good effect. His often-foe in these films was Sir Basyl Rathbone, a much better fencer but destined to always lose because he played the villain. Their most famous collaboration was probably Captain Doom about piracy in the early 18th century.

Very much a ladies' man, Fairfax was married five times, four of them ending in divorce with "adultery" offered as the cause. All but the first were fellow actors. He was also engaged at least as many times.

The one marriage that did not end in divorce was to a Danish divorcee named Paulina Gunnarson. They had two children, a daughter named Fiona and Douglas Fairfax Jr. (who became a prominent barrister). In 1955, after six years of marriage, Paulina died in a tragic accident in the Breuckelen home. Fairfax was deeply depressed and did not work again for almost two years. According to many reports, he drank heavily during this period and may have tried illegal drugs.

A scandal in 1962 occurred just one year into his next marriage with actress Angelique Jones, some thirty-one years his junior. She filed for divorce at the same time the Crown Prosecutor attempted to prove a case of statutory rape against Fairfax, claiming he had seduced as sixteen-year-old girl aboard his yacht. The grand jury, however, refused to indight. Fairfax indignantly denied the charge.

During the Second Great War Fairfax joined the Solemn League Navy as an ensign. By war's end he was a Lieutenant Commander and was skipper of the submersible TMS Susquehanna.

Fairfax died of motor neurone disease after a long illness.

His many films included:

  • Mutiny on the Bonadventure
  • The Bachelorette
  • The Purple Panther
  • The Adventures of Cassanova
  • His Many Queens (the most famous film version of the life of Emreis VI)
  • Charge of the Bright Brigade
  • Murder on the Thames (an Inspector Watson murder mystery)
  • Cleopatra
  • The Sea Falcon
  • Crossed Sabers
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