David Manners


Actor
David Manners

About

Also Known As
Rauff De Ryther Duan Acklom
Birth Place
Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA
Born
April 30, 1900
Died
December 23, 1998

Biography

This slim, handsome boyish juvenile of the 1930s provided able support for such leading ladies as Loretta Young, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck and Constance Bennett. The Canadian-born Manners studied at the Theater Guild in New York in the late 1920s, and was drafted by Tiffany Productions in 1930 to make his film debut in the screen version of the bitter WWI drama "Journey's End."...

Photos & Videos

The Miracle Woman - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
The Miracle Woman - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Suzanne Bushnell
Wife
Divorced.
William Mercer
Companion
Writer.

Bibliography

"Awakening From the Dream of Me"
David Manners
"Convenient Season"
David Manners
"Under Running Laughter"
David Manners
"The Soundless Voice"
David Manners

Notes

As an in-joke, a character in the 1986 horror film "The Tomb" was named David Manners.

"Always well-dressed, well-spoken, and with impeccable manners, David was a perfect leading man for aspiring young actresses and older female stars who wanted nobody stealing scenes from them with mannerisms or too much sex appeal. . . He was what girls in those days called 'a good catch,' playing an earnest, sincere young man with the kind of good looks that needn't worry parents unduly."--Richard Lamparski in "Whatever Became Of...?" vol. 1 (1967)

Biography

This slim, handsome boyish juvenile of the 1930s provided able support for such leading ladies as Loretta Young, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck and Constance Bennett. The Canadian-born Manners studied at the Theater Guild in New York in the late 1920s, and was drafted by Tiffany Productions in 1930 to make his film debut in the screen version of the bitter WWI drama "Journey's End." Directed by James Whale and starring Colin Clive (who had played in the stage version), it was a fortuitous debut. Manners made quite an impression as the idealistic young lieutenant who is forced to take his men out on a suicidal raid and is himself mortally wounded. His death scene was generally acclaimed to be a high point of the film.

Sadly, few of the actor's follow-up films called upon his talents to that extent. Hollywood saw him as an unthreatening "boyfriend" type and he was cast in a series of drawing-room melodramas and light comedies with various studios. Most of his films did fairly well at the box office, then promptly vanished from the public consciousness. Among the more notable were "The Right to Love" (1930), opposite Ruth Chatterton, "The Truth About Youth" (1930) with Loretta Young, "Crooner" (1932), "From Hell to Heaven" (1933), co-starring Carole Lombard, and "Hearts in Bondage" (1936).

Manners was also cast in a series of successful horror films which today remain his chief legacy. He played innocent, stalwart young victims in such classics as "Dracula" (1931, as Jonathan Harker), "The Death Kiss" (1932), "The Mummy" (1932), "The Black Cat" (1934, with both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi), and the atmospheric Dickens' tale "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (1935). Manners also did his best in mostly unrewarding supporting roles in other superior films, as well. He was Barbara Stanwyck's idealistic admirer in Frank Capra's "The Miracle Woman" (1931) and Katharine Hepburn's fiance in her debut, "A Bill of Divorcement" (1932). He played colorless male ingenues in the gold-digger comedy "The Greeks Had a Word for Them" (1932), the Eddie Cantor musical "Roman Scandals" (1933) and the absurdist comedy "The Warrior's Husband" (also 1933). By 1936, Manners was getting increasingly disenchanted with his roles and, after supporting Hepburn again in the period drama "A Woman Rebels," he retired from films.

Little more was heard from the reclusive Manners until he attempted a Broadway show, "Truckline Cafe" (with a young Marlon Brando) in 1946. Beginning in the 1950s, he commenced a successful second career as a novelist. The former actor always politely refused to discuss his slightly disappointing film career in later years.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

A Woman Rebels (1936)
Lieutenant Alan Craig Freeland
Hearts in Bondage (1936)
Raymond Jordan
Jalna (1935)
Eden Whiteoaks
The Perfect Clue (1935)
David Mannering
Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)
Edwin [Ned] Drood
Lucky Fugitives (1935)
The Moonstone (1934)
Franklin Blake
The Great Flirtation (1934)
Larry Kenyon
The Black Cat (1934)
Peter Alison
The Luck of a Sailor (1934)
The Death Kiss (1933)
Franklyn Drew
The Girl in 419 (1933)
Dr. Martin Nichols
Torch Singer (1933)
Michael Gardner
From Hell to Heaven (1933)
Wesley Burt
The Devil's in Love (1933)
[Capt.] Jean [Fabien]
The Warrior's Husband (1933)
Theseus, commander of the Greek army
Roman Scandals (1933)
Josephus
Man Wanted (1932)
Tom Sheridan
The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932)
Dey Emery
Beauty and the Boss (1932)
Paul
Crooner (1932)
Teddy Taylor
The Mummy (1932)
Frank Whemple
A Bill of Divorcement (1932)
Kit [Humphrey]
Stranger in Town (1932)
Jerry
Lady with a Past (1932)
Donnie Wainwright
They Call It Sin (1932)
Jimmy Decker
The Miracle Woman (1931)
John Carson
The Last Flight (1931)
Shep Lambert
The Millionaire (1931)
Bill Merrick
Dracula (1931)
John Harker
The Ruling Voice (1931)
Dick Cheney
The Truth About Youth (1930)
Richard Dane, The Imp
Mother's Cry (1930)
Artie
Sweet Mama (1930)
Jimmy
Journey's End (1930)
2d Lieutenant Raleigh
He Knew Women (1930)
Austin Lowe
The Right To Love (1930)
Joe Copeland
Kismet (1930)
Caliph Abdallah

Cast (Special)

Brief Pause For Murder (1946)

Cast (Short)

An Intimate Dinner in Celebration of Warner Bros. Silver Jubilee (1930)
Himself

Life Events

1924

Stage acting debut in "Hippolytus" at the Hart House Theater in Toronto

1930

Made film debut in "Journey's End"

1931

Had most prominent role as John Harker in "Dracula", starring Bela Lugosi

1932

Co-starred in "The Mummy" with Boris Karloff

1932

Appeared opposite Katharine Hepburn in "A Bill of Divorcement"

1934

Acted with Karloff and Lugosi in Edgar G Ullmer's "Black Cat"

1935

Had title role in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

1936

Last film, "A Woman Rebels"

1946

Starred in Broadway play "Truckline Cafe"

Photo Collections

The Miracle Woman - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo taken behind-the-scenes during production of Columbia's The Miracle Woman (1931), starring Barbara Stanwyck and David Manners and directed by Frank Capra.
The Miracle Woman - Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills taken to help publicize Columbia's The Miracle Woman (1931), starring Barbara Stanwyck and David Manners and directed by Frank Capra.

Videos

Movie Clip

Miracle Woman, The (1931) - Why Not Every Man? Frank Capra's spectacular and not-unrealistic depiction of a 1920's evangelical revival, with Barbara Stanwyck (as Florence Fallon, modeled on Aimee Semple McPherson) and David Manners as candidate for healing, from The Miracle Woman, 1931.
Black Cat, The (1934) - The Years Have Been Kind After their bus wreck, Peter (David Manners) and unconscious bride Joan (Jacqueline Wells) are led, maybe not by accident, by Dr. Werdegast (Bela Lugosi) to the home of his old acquaintance Poelzig (Boris Karloff), in The Black Cat, 1934, directed by Edgar Ulmer.
Dracula (1931) -- There Are Far Worse Things Bela Lugosi (title character) on the loose now in London, has consumed a street waif and made his way to the symphony, where we meet his neighbor Seward (Herbert Bunston), his daughter Mina (Helen Chandler) and her friend Lucy (Frances Dade), in Dracula, 1931, from Universal Pictures and director Tod Browning.
Dracula (1931) -- Is There Anything The Matter With You Throat? First in bat-form then in person, Bela Lugosi (title character) pays his first nocturnal visit to Mina (Helen Chandler), who the next day consults with Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), called in from Germany to assist her father Seward (Herbert Bunston) and worried fiancè (David Manners), in director Tod Browning’s Dracula, 1931.
Mummy, The (1932) - What Fools We Look Eleven years following the hairy prologue, bothered Englishmen Whemple (David Manners) and Professor Pearson (Leonard Mudie) are lamenting their lousy dig when an un-credentialed Egyptian who calls himself Ardeth Bey (Boris Karloff) drops by, in Universal's original The Mummy, 1932.
Mummy, The (1932) - Closed For The Night Mysterious Egyptian "Ardeth Bay" (Boris Karloff) has his hands now on his prized scroll, incanting over it the name of the long dead princess of the character he's pretending not to be, somehow reaching Anglo-Egyptian Helen (Zita Johann) at the museum party, in Universal's The Mummy, 1932.
Black Cat, The (1934) - All-Consuming Horror Released prisoner Dr. Werdegast (Bela Lugosi) and host Poelzig (Boris Karloff) have just been arguing over old feuds when tourist Peter (David Manners), joins them, with a cat, then his wife (Jacqueline Wells), in The Black Cat, 1934.
They Call It Sin (1932) - Standing On The Rock Of Ages Betrothed New Yorker JImmy (David Manners) is killing time in a Kansas town on a business trip, resorting to church on a Sunday, and can't help noticing the pretty organist (Loretta Young) with whom he wangles a chat, in They Call It Sin, 1932.
They Call It Sin (1932) - I Don't Belong To You Rapid events as traveling New Yorker Jimmy (David Manners) surprises lovesick Marion (Loretta Young) in her Kansas town on his way home, leading to a big reveal in conversation with her parents (Elizabeth Patterson, Erville Anderson), in the pre-Code They Call It Sin, 1932.
Lady With A Past (1932) - She Murdered Her Husband Acutely bookish and boring Venice (Constance Bennett) dragged to a party by friend Lola (Astrid Allwyn) hears from jerry (Donald Dilloway) then from hunky Donnie (David Manners) about the scandalized Mrs. Duryea (Merna Kennedy), early in Lady With A Past, 1932.
Jalna (1935) - He's Married Her The Canadian Whiteoaks clan, (C. Aubrey Smith, Jessie Ralph, Halliwell Hobbes, David Manners, Peggy Wood) greeting the expected bride (Kay Johnson) when Piers (Theodore Newton) arrives with the unexpected (Molly Lamont), brother Renny (Ian Hunter) cracking down, in Jalna, 1935.
Jalna (1935) - I've Dreaded Your Arrival Novice Canadian poet Eden (David Manners) on his trip to New York to meet his publisher, especially taken with the assistant Alayne (Kay Johnson, her first scene), early in director John Cromwell's family drama Jalna, 1935.

Trailer

Family

George M Acklom
Father
Book editor. Born in 1870; was estranged from Manners over his decision to pursue acting; died on November 7, 1954.
Violet Acklom
Mother

Companions

Suzanne Bushnell
Wife
Divorced.
William Mercer
Companion
Writer.

Bibliography

"Awakening From the Dream of Me"
David Manners
"Convenient Season"
David Manners
"Under Running Laughter"
David Manners
"The Soundless Voice"
David Manners

Notes

As an in-joke, a character in the 1986 horror film "The Tomb" was named David Manners.

"Always well-dressed, well-spoken, and with impeccable manners, David was a perfect leading man for aspiring young actresses and older female stars who wanted nobody stealing scenes from them with mannerisms or too much sex appeal. . . He was what girls in those days called 'a good catch,' playing an earnest, sincere young man with the kind of good looks that needn't worry parents unduly."--Richard Lamparski in "Whatever Became Of...?" vol. 1 (1967)