Cover image for Silent film necrology
Silent film necrology
Vazzana, Eugene Michael, 1940-
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [2001]

Physical Description:
v, 585 pages ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.2 .V38 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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Reviews from the first edition (which went through 1993): [The] sheer volume of information renders this book of more interest [than the competition]...a valuable addition"--Library Journal; "essential...invaluable...a magnificent achievement--comprehensive...a good read"--The Other Side of Show Business; "unique...highly recommended"--Classic Images; "excellent source"--Big Reel; "most impressive"--Movie Collectors World; "a thorough well-researched biographical dictionary"--ARBA. This greatly expanded (over 18,500 entries versus 9,000 in the earlier edition) and updated edition includes everyone from John Aasen, an 8-foot, 9-inch circus star who appeared in silent film comedies, to Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, who invented the iconoscope and kinescope that together constituted the first all-electronic television system. This is the most complete necrology available on people from the silent era. The entries are arranged alphabetically by professional name, and include birth and death dates, the place of birth,and death, real name when it differs from the professional name, married name for women, birth certificate date when available, age at death, and bibliographic data of any autobiography or biography. When available the cause of death is also provided. Following these data, there is a reference to any obituary printed in The New York Times, Variety or, occasionally, another publication, including the obituarys headline.

Author Notes

Eugene Michael Vazzana, who died on January 1, 2001, was a journalist in New York City

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This volume provides birth and death dates and places, real and married names, age at death, cause of death (if available), and citations for obituaries and other biographical information for approximately 18,500 individuals associated with the silent film industry, more than doubling the number of entries in the previous edition.

Library Journal Review

The late Vazzana has left a fine legacy to film fans with this huge necrology of silent film performers, directors, executives, producers, cinematographers, stunt performers, publicists, composers, inventors, and others involved in the industry's early days. Over twice the size of the first edition (LJ 6/15/95), this work aims to be as comprehensive as possible, offering 18,500+ entries on the international silent film scene. Alphabetically arranged by professional name, the brief entries include birth and death dates, place of birth and death, real names (where applicable), age at death, and the bibliographic data of any autobiography or biography. When available, the cause of death is also provided, as is a reference to any obituary printed in the New York Times, Variety, or other significant publication. Unfortunately, there are no indexes or other supplements, so it's impossible to locate individuals easily by year of birth or death, method of death, etc., but other resources can provide that information. For such specialized lists, the user can cross-check Everett Jarvis's Final Curtain (Carol, 1998. 9th ed.), although it covers only a subset of what Vazzana covers. Although the typeface is on the small side, bolded names throughout make it easy to locate entries quickly, and cross references to stars' mates add to the overall utility. An excellent addition to the growing film necrology library, supplementing Paul Donnelly's Fade to Black (Omnibus, 2001), Billy Doyle's The Ultimate Directory of Film Technicians (LJ 6/15/99), Harris Lentz's Obituaries in the Performing Arts (McFarland, annual), Variety Obituaries: 1905-1990 (Garland, 1989), and the above-mentioned Final Curtain. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ., TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The author completed the second edition (1st ed., 1995) before his death in 2001. A wonderful source of biographical information about the silent film era, it includes actors, actresses, directors, executives, producers, cinematographers, stunt performers, publicists, composers, inventors, and others. Despite its 18,500 entries (the 1st ed. had 9,000), it is not exhaustive. Some entries give only name, birth, death, and obituary citation; others run more than a page. Especially useful are the references to articles in major publications such as Variety and New York Times. This unique publication, while very specialized, is valuable in finding information about those who populated early movies. If too narrow in focus for most public libraries, it is important for college and university libraries, especially those supporting film. M. S. Brown-Sica University of Colorado at Denver

Table of Contents

Annette D'Agostino Lloyd
Forewordp. 1
Abbreviation Keyp. 2
Introductionp. 5
Silent Film Necrologyp. 7