Raoul Walsh Biography

Raoul Walsh (March 11, 1887 – December 31, 1980) was an American film director, actor, founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the brother of silent screen actor George Walsh. He was known for portraying John Wilkes Booth in the silent classic The Birth of a Nation (1915) and for directing such films as The Big Trail (1930) starring John Wayne, High Sierra (1941) starring Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart, and White Heat (1949) with James Cagney and Edmond O'Brien. His last directorial effort came in 1964.

Born in New York as Albert Edward Walsh to Elizabeth T. Bruff, the daughter of Irish immigrants and Thomas W. Walsh, an Englishman of Irish descent. As a young man, Raoul was a close friend of Virginia O'Hanlon of "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" fame. Like his younger brother, he was part of Omega Gamma Delta during his high school days. Growing up in New York, Walsh was also a friend of the Barrymore family. John Barrymore recalled spending time reading in the Walsh family library as a youth.