Family & Companions
A brilliant, boyish actor discovered when working as a gofer at Biograph in 1907, Harron began as a bit-player in such films as "Dr. Skinnum" (his first, 1907) and "Bobbie's Kodak" (1908). But it took director D.W. Griffith to make a star out of him. Beginning in 1909 with "The Lonely Villa," Griffith molded Harron into a sensitive dramatic player in such films as "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" (1912), "The Battle at Elderbush Gulch" (1913) and "Judith of Bethulia" (1914). The exceptionally handsome young actor made an endearingly boy-next-door leading man for such Griffith stock actresses as Mary Pickford (eight films), Lillian Gish (15 films), Blanche Sweet (seven films), and, most prolifically, Mae Marsh (27 films).
Harron's first breakthrough role was in the modern sequence of "Intolerance" (1916). His striking performance as a small-town boy who gets involved in big-city crime and is movingly redeemed by love was one of the film's high points. Another tour de force was as a front-line soldier in "Hearts of the World" (1918). More typical were his turns as shy, gawky swains in "The Greatest Thing in Life" (1918) and "A Romance of Happy Valley" (1919). That year, Harron was also paired with Griffith newcomer Clarine Seymour in "The Girl Who Stayed at Home"; he also acted with Seymour in Griffith's delightful Lillian Gish vehicle, "True Heart Susie" (1919).
Harron was signed by Metro in 1920, but made only one film for them, "Coincidence" (released posthumously in 1921) before dying mysteriously in New York. Harron, who was reportedly engaged to Dorothy Gish, went East for the premiere of her film "Way Down East." On September 1, 1920, he was shot in the lung by a gun which--he said--fell out of his jacket while he was unpacking. He died on September 5 and his death was listed as "accidental."
Harron was the brother of leading man and character actor John (a.k.a. Johnnie) Harron, as well as actor Charles Harron, who died in an auto accident in 1915, and actress Tessie Harron, who died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.
Cast (Feature Film)
Film debut, "Dr. Skinnum"
Signed with American Mutoscope and Biograph
First film with D.W. Griffith, "The Lonely Villa"
Most famous role, The Boy, in "Intolerance"
Signed with Metro
Final film, "Coincidence" (released posthumously)