Max Linder Critically Ill
Production of Essanay Comedies
We very much regret to learn that Max Linder, the popular French comedian, has had a sudden and serious breakdown in health, and is now lying critically ill at Beverley Hills, U.S.A. His chief ailment is a stomach trouble, resulting from shrapnel wounds received while serving in the French artillery early in the war. He is also suffering from weakened lungs.
Three Subjects Completed
It was after Mr. Linder returned from the front in France and seemed to have recovered almost fully from his wounds that he began negotiations with Mr. Spoor, of the Essanay Company, to make a series of twelve comedies. Much publicity was given the coming of the famous French comedian to America, and his first comedy, "Max Comes Across," made in Chicago, was well received both here and in the States. The strenuous work of the studio and the climate didn't seem to agree with him, however, and he suffered several slight relapses of trouble with his old wounds.
A move to California was decided upon, in order that Mr. Linder might have the benefit of the climate for the completion of the series. Weak and racked by pain, he managed by sheer grit to complete his third comedy, "Max in a Taxi," after which he reluctantly gave up, and, with his pet dog and others of his retinue, removed to the mountains of Arizona to make a fight against illness.
For a week the entire company waited, in the hope that he might be able to complete the picture in hand. Then it was reported that he was undergoing X-ray treatment to aid Dr. P.G. White, his physician, in diagnosis, and the Essanay officials decided to discontinue all work indefinitely.
Return to Studio Work Doubtful
It will be remembered that Mr. Linder, who arrived in the United States last November, is under contract to complete twelve pictures for the Essanay Company. At the firm's headquarters in Chicago they decline to forecast whether the remaining nine of the series of twelve comedies will ever be finished. While there is a hope that the climate of Arizona will bring Mr. Linder back to health again and fit him to fulfil the contract, it is doubted in many quarters whether he will ever be able to stand the strain of studio work again.
This possibility was much canvassed in Chicago and other places when the news first became known. To the Essanay Company it would be unfortunate. It is pointed out that besides the disappointment it would mean to exhibitors, it would also necessitate the refunding of thousands of dollars in deposits made for the Linder series. (The Bioscope, May 24th 1917)