H. B. Warner

H. B. Warner


Also Known As
Henry Byron Charles Stewart Warner-Lickford
Birth Place
London, England, GB
October 26, 1876
December 21, 1958


A character lead in silent films and a character player in sound films, H.B. Warner is best recalled for three roles: Jesus Christ is Cecil B. DeMille's "King of Kings" (1927), Chang, assistant to the High Lama, in "Lost Horizon" (1937), and Mr. Gower the pharmacist is the perennial "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). He received a best supporting actor nomination for "Lost Horizon," and in ...

Family & Companions

Mrs F R Hamlin
Rita Stanwood


"Hollywood Saga"
H B Warner, Dutton (1939)


A character lead in silent films and a character player in sound films, H.B. Warner is best recalled for three roles: Jesus Christ is Cecil B. DeMille's "King of Kings" (1927), Chang, assistant to the High Lama, in "Lost Horizon" (1937), and Mr. Gower the pharmacist is the perennial "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). He received a best supporting actor nomination for "Lost Horizon," and in all appeared in more than 100 films. The son of noted British stage actor Charles Warner, H. B. Warner made his stage debut at age seven in 1883, but at first chose to study medicine. But within a few years he was back on stage in both England and the U.S. Warner made his film debut in "The Lost Paradise" (1914). One of his best silent vehicles was "Zaza" (1923), in which he was the married man who falls for Gloria Swanson. Warner was almost 50 years old when he played the 30ish Christ in "King of Kings" (1927), but the result was nevertheless a resounding success. In order to play the role, Warner had to sign an agreement saying he would live an exemplary life not only during production, but for one year after the film's release he would not be involved with any scandal, not even divorce. Even before so-called "modern" acting techniques such as "The Method" permeated Hollywood, DeMille chose to isolate Warner from the rest of the cast so that he might better "feel" the role. Reportedly, Warner took to drinking because of the overwhelming nature of the part. While no "scandal" of which DeMille was so afraid (especially with Hollywood's reputation) erupted, Warner was said to have struggled with alcoholism for the rest of his life. A well-trained and well-versed stage actor, Warner thrived during the sound era. He was the chief magistrate in "Liliom" (1930), estranged from Sylvia Sidney in "Jennie Gerhardt" (1933), Gabelle in "A Tale of Two Cities" (1935), and was a favorite of Frank Capra for whom he performed in "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936), as the judge who listens to Gary Cooper's tale of tuba playing, "Lost Horizon" (1937), "You Can't Take It With You" (1938), as Ramsey, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) as the corrupt Senator Fuller, and, of course, "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). Warner can also be seen in one of screen history's most macabre scenes: as himself, one of "the waxworks," playing cards with Anna Q. Nilsson (his leading lady from "Sorrell and Son," 1927), Buster Keaton, and Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard" (1950). He finished his career playing a small role in "The Ten Commandments" for his "King of Kings" director Cecil B. DeMille (1956), and in a cameo in "Darby's Rangers" (1958) for director William Wellman. In 1939, Warner published his autobiography, "Hollywood Saga."



Cast (Feature Film)

The Ten Commandments (1956)
Journey into Light (1951)
Wiz, wino
Here Comes the Groom (1951)
Uncle Elihu
Savage Drums (1951)
The First Legion (1951)
Father [Jose] Sierra
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
The Judge Steps Out (1949)
Chief Justice Haynes
El Paso (1949)
Judge Fletcher
Hellfire (1949)
Brother Joseph
The Prince of Thieves (1948)
Gilbert Head
High Wall (1948)
Mr. Slocum
Driftwood (1947)
Grandpappy Hollingsworth
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Mr. Gower
Strange Impersonation (1946)
Dr. Mansfield
Gentleman Joe Palooka (1946)
Senator McCarden
Captain Tugboat Annie (1945)
Judge Abbott
Women in Bondage (1944)
Pastor Renz
Faces in the Fog (1944)
Defense attorney Rankin
Action in Arabia (1944)
Abdal El Rashid
Rogues Gallery (1944)
Enemy of Women (1944)
Col. Eberhardt Brandt
Hitler's Children (1943)
The bishop
Crossroads (1942)
Prosecuting attorney
A Yank in Libya (1942)
Herbert Forbes
The Boss of Big Town (1942)
Jeffrey Moore
Topper Returns (1941)
Henry Carrington/Walter Harberg
All That Money Can Buy (1941)
Justice Hawthorne
South of Tahiti (1941)
High Chief [Kawalima]
City of Missing Girls (1941)
Captain McVeigh
The Corsican Brothers (1941)
Dr. [Enrico] Paoli
Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime (1941)
Ray Jardin
New Moon (1940)
Father Michel
The Rains Came (1939)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Senate majority leader
The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939)
Richard Lawrence
Let Freedom Ring (1939)
Nurse Edith Cavell (1939)
Mr. Gibson
Bulldog Drummond's Bride (1939)
Colonel Nielson
Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police (1939)
Colonel Nielson
You Can't Take It with You (1938)
Kidnapped (1938)
[Angus] Rankeiller
The Toy Wife (1938)
Victor Brigard
Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1938)
Colonel Nielson
Bulldog Drummond in Africa (1938)
Colonel Nielson
The Girl of the Golden West (1938)
Father Sienna
The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)
Chen Tsu
Army Girl (1938)
Colonel Armstrong
Lost Horizon (1937)
Victoria the Great (1937)
Lord Melbourne
Moonlight Murder (1936)
Godfrey Chiltern
Rose of the Rancho (1936)
Don Pasqual Castro
The Garden Murder Case (1936)
Major Fenwicke-Ralston
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Judge May
The Blackmailer (1936)
Michael Rankin
Along Came Love (1936)
Dr. Martin
A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
Born to Gamble (1935)
Carter Mathews
Grand Canary (1934)
Dr. Ismay
Sorrell and Son (1934)
Stephen Sorrell
Night Alarm (1934)
Henry B. Smith
In Old Santa Fe (1934)
Her father [Charlie Miller]
Behold My Wife! (1934)
Mr. Carter
Christopher Bean (1933)
[Maxwell] Davenport
Jennie Gerhardt (1933)
William Gerhardt
Supernatural (1933)
Dr. [Carl] Houston
Justice Takes a Holiday (1933)
John Logan
The Son-Daughter (1932)
Sin Kai
The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)
Priam Andes
The Crusader (1932)
Phillip Brandon
Cross-Examination (1932)
Gerald Waring
Unholy Love (1932)
Dr. Daniel Gregory
The Menace (1932)
Inspector Tracy
Charlie Chan's Chance (1932)
Inspector Fife
Tom Brown of Culver (1932)
Doctor Brown
A Woman Commands (1932)
Colonel Str√°dimirovitsch
Expensive Women (1931)
Melville Raymond
Five Star Final (1931)
Michael Townsend
The Reckless Hour (1931)
Walter Nichols
A Woman of Experience (1931)
Major Schmidt
The Prodigal (1931)
Liliom (1930)
Chief Magistrate
The Furies (1930)
Oliver Bedlow
The Green Goddess (1930)
Wild Company (1930)
Henry Grayson
On Your Back (1930)
Raymond Pryer
The Second Floor Mystery (1930)
Inspector Bray
The Princess and the Plumber (1930)
Prince Conrad of Daritzia
Stark Mad (1929)
Professor Dangerfield
Wedding Rings (1929)
Lewis Dike
The Argyle Case (1929)
The Doctor's Secret (1929)
Richard Garson
The Gamblers (1929)
James Darwin
The Divine Lady (1929)
Sir William Hamilton
The Show of Shows (1929)
The victim
Tiger Rose (1929)
Dr. Cusick
The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929)
District Attorney Galway
Conquest (1928)
James Farnham
The Naughty Duchess (1928)
Duke de St. Maclou
Man-Made Women (1928)
Jules Moret
Romance of a Rogue (1928)
Bruce Lowry
French Dressing (1928)
Phillip Grey
Man-Made Woman (1928)
Sorrell and Son (1927)
Stephen Sorrell
The King of Kings (1927)
Jesus, the Christ
Silence (1926)
Jim Warren
Whispering Smith (1926)
"Whispering Smith"
Is Love Everything? (1924)
Jordan Southwick
Zaza (1923)
Bernard Dufresne, a diplomat
When We Were Twenty-one (1921)
Richard Carewe
The White Dove (1920)
Sylvester Lanyon
One Hour Before Dawn (1920)
George Clayton
Felix O'Day (1920)
Felix O'Day
Dice of Destiny (1920)
Jimmy Doyle
Haunting Shadows (1920)
John Glenarm
Uncharted Channels (1920)
Timothy Webb, Jr.
The Gray Wolf's Ghost (1919)
Doctor West/Harry West
A Fugitive from Matrimony (1919)
Stephen Van Courtlandt
The Pagan God (1919)
Bruce Winthrop
For a Woman's Honor (1919)
Capt. Clyde Mannering
The Man Who Turned White (1919)
Captain Rand/also known as Ali Zaman
The Seventh Sin (1917)
Feodor/The Grand Duke
God's Man (1917)
Arnold L'Hommedieu
Wrath (1917)
Feodor/The Grand Duke
The Danger Trail (1917)
John Howland
The Raiders (1916)
Scott Wells
The Vagabond Prince (1916)
Prince Tonio
The Market of Vain Desire (1916)
John Armstrong
Shell Forty-Three (1916)
William Berner
The Beggar of Cawnpore (1916)
Dr. Robert Lowndes
The Lost Paradise (1914)
Reuben Warren
The Ghost Breaker (1914)
Warren Jarvis

Life Events


Made stage debut


Made film debut in "The Lost Paradise"


Was leading man to Gloria Swanson in "Zaza"


Had greatest screen role playing Jesus Christ in "The King of Kings"


Firmed status in sound era with "Liliom"


Nominated for an Academy Award for his work in "Lost Horizon"


Published memoir, "Hollywood Saga"


Played Mr. Gower, the druggust, in "It's A Wonderful Life"


Played himself in "Sunset Boulevard"


Appeared again for DeMille, "The Ten Commandments"


Made final film, "Darby's Rangers"

Photo Collections

The Green Goddess - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Green Goddess (1930), starring George Arliss. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.


Movie Clip

Lost Horizon (1937) -- (Movie Clip) If There Is A Prolonged Delay Nearly smarmy Chang (H.B. Warner) now feeds Conway (Ronald Colman), brother George (John Howard) and fellow plane crash survivors (Edward Everett Horton, Thomas Mitchell) and mentions their rescue from the Himalayan monastery community could take years, about which they speculate, in Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon, 1937.
Lost Horizon (1937) -- (Movie Clip) Shangri La Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) and fellow crash survivors (Thomas Mitchell, Edward Everett Horton, John Howard and Isabel Jewell) are led into Shangri-La by Chang (H.B. Warner) in Frank Capra's Lost Horizon, 1937, from the James Hilton novel.
King of Kings, The (1927) -- (Movie Clip) Whosever Believeth... A blind girl (Muriel McCormac) is introduced by Mary (Dorothy Cumming) for the first appearance and miracle by Jesus, "The Christ," (H.B. Warner) in Cecil B. De Mille's The King of Kings, 1927, music by Donald Sosin.
Corsican Brothers, The (1941) -- (Movie Clip) Proud And Noble Name Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as both bandit Lucien and citified Mario, surgically separated at birth, meeting with their guardians Lorenzo (J. Carrol Naish) and Dr. Paoli (H.B. Warner) revealing their history, in The Corsican Brothers, 1941, from the Alexandre Dumas story.
Corsican Brothers, The (1941) -- (Movie Clip) They Were Born To Be One Dr. Paoli (H.B. Warner) has just separated the Siamese-twin Franchi sons and learned, with the DuPre's (Walter Kingsford, Nana Bryant), from Lorenzo (J. Carrol Naish) that their family has been slaughtered, whereby Lucien (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) is introduced, in The Corsican Brothers, 1941.
Let Freedom Ring (1939) -- (Movie Clip) Working On The Railroad Railroad baron Knox (Edward Arnold) separates Maggie (Virginia Bruce), top citizen of the Western town he’s taken over, from friend Rutledge (H.B. Warner), then some chat about not-yet-seen star Nelson Eddy, then the arrival of labor enforcer Mulligan (Victor McLaglen), in MGM’s Let Freedom Ring, 1939.
Reckless Hour, The (1931) -- (Movie Clip) We Use Cigar Coupons Snappy introduction of Joan Blondell as sister Myrtle, and Helen Ware as mom Harriet, as heroine Margaret (Dorothy Mackaill) returns to the New Jersey family home, father (H.B. Warner) presiding and eager Harry (Joe Donahue) visiting, in Warner Bros.' The Reckless Hour, 1931.
King of Kings, The (1927) -- (Movie Clip) Get Thee Behind Me! Having just cleared the temple, Jesus (H.B. Warner) gets an offer from Satan (Alan Brooks) which he rejects before speaking to the masses, in Cecil B. De Mille's King of Kings, 1927, music by Donald Sosin.
King of Kings, The (1927) -- (Movie Clip) Lazarus Jesus (H.B. Warner) has been summoned to aid Lazarus (Kenneth Thompson) who turns out not to be beyond help, in Cecil B. De Mille's 1927 silent epic The King of Kings, music by Donald Sosin.
King of Kings, The (1927) -- (Movie Clip) Opening, Prologue Opening fanfare and framing titles from Cecil B. De Mille's 1927 silent biblical epic The King of Kings, starring H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming and Joseph Schildkraut, music by Donald Sosin.
Tale Of Two Cities, A (1935) -- (Movie Clip) A Sickness These Days Speedy scenes introducing the hated Marquis St. Evermonde (Basil Rathbone) and incidentally his nephew Charles Darnay (Donald Woods) in pre-revolutionary France, in David O. Selznick's A Tale Of Two Cities, 1935.
Green Goddess, The -- (Movie Clip) I Know Your Motive Continuing his opening scene, Himalayan potentate "The Raja" (George Arliss) reveals some scarier traits for accidental British visitors (H.B. Warner, Ralph Forbes, Alice Joyce) in the early talkie The Green Goddess, 1930.


Mr. Smith Goes To Washington - (Original Trailer) Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939), Frank Capra's masterpiece about a naive young senator (James Stewart) who uncovers political corruption.
Phantom of Crestwood, The - (Original Trailer) Five men have to prove their innocence when a blackmailer is murdered in The Phantom of Crestwood, 1932, from producer David O. Selznick.
Mr. Deeds Goes To Town - (Re-issue Trailer) When small-town poet Gary Cooper inherits a fortune, he has to deal with the corruption of city life in Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936).
Crossroads (1942) - (Original Trailer) A French diplomat (William Powell) who's recovered from amnesia is blackmailed over crimes he can't remember.
Tale of Two Cities, A (1935) - (Re-issue Trailer) Ronald Colman stars in A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Charles Dickens' classic story of two men in love with the same woman during the French Revolution.
Hitler's Children - (Original Trailer) A German-American girl is forced to enter a Hitler youth program in Hitler's Children (1943), directed by Edward Dmytryk.
Action in Arabia - (Original Trailer) An adventurous reporter (George Sanders) tangles with Nazis in the desert on the eve of World War II in Action In Arabia (1944).
High Wall - (Original Trailer) Psychiatry provides the key to proving a veteran flyer innocent of his wife's murder in High Wall (1947) starring Robert Taylor.
Moonlight Murder - (Original Trailer) A detective must solve a Moonlight Murder (1936) when an opera star turns up dead at the Hollywood Bowl.
Girl Of The Golden West, The - (Original Trailer) Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy star in the movie version of the Sigmund Romberg-Gus Kahn musical The Girl Of The Golden West (1938).
New Moon - (Original Trailer) Nelson Eddy is looking for some stout-hearted men in the operetta New Moon (1940) co-starring Jeanette MacDonald.
Five Star Final - (Original Trailer) An unscrupulous newspaper editor (Edward G. Robinson) searches for headlines at any cost in Five Star Final (1931).


Charles Warner


Mrs F R Hamlin
Rita Stanwood


"Hollywood Saga"
H B Warner, Dutton (1939)