MAX LINDER – The Film’s First Comedian




MAX LINDER, the first screen funster, was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1883. At 12 years of age he was sent to an art school to learn sketching. After two years he told his parents it was not his calling and they sent him to a musical school. He decided this also was not his career and asked his parents to train him for the stage. Although the elder Linders were actors they flatly refused. Max pretended to attend the musical conservatory but instead registered in a conservatory to learn the art of acting. In one year he won first price for his work, confessed to his parents and they permitted him to go on the stage. He first appeared at the age of 19 in the Classic theatre, Bordeaux, in plays by Moliere and other French playwrights. Later he went to Paris where he played in the Ambigu, Regina and Varieties theatres. He played in “Romanesque,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” and other dramas by Rostand and later in variety. At the same time he was working for Pathe in motion pictures. When 27 years old he quit the stage altogether for pictures, playing only with Pathe. The Cinema Max Linder, the theatre named after him, now is being rebuilt in the heart of Paris on the Boulevard Poissoniere. He entered the army as a volunteer when the war broke out and for some time was an automobile scout, using his own machine, under the special direction of General Gallieni. After his automobile was blown up by a shell, he enlisted in the artillery service. In the battle of the Aisne he was shot through the lung just above the heart. When recovered he joined the aeroplane service, but his lungs could not stand the change of air in rising to the necessary heights. He was honorably discharged. (Photoplay, Feb. 1917)