Edwin Carewe, motion picture director and actor, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Fox on March 5, 1883, at Gainesville, Texas, and named Jay J. Fox. He became interested in theater in his youth, when he witnessed traveling medicine shows, and by 1900 he had resolved to become an actor. After brief studies at the universities of Texas and Missouri and a period of work with regional theatrical groups, he found himself in New York in 1910 as a member of the Dearborn Stock Company. In 1912 he changed his name to Edwin Carewe, taking the first name from renowned actor Edwin Booth, and Carewe from the name of a character he was portraying at the time. In 1914 he entered the film industry as an actor for the Lubin Company of Philadelphia. Within a year Carewe graduated from actor to director, his debut being The Final Judgement (1915), a film of the Rolfe-Metro Company.
Between 1915 and 1934 he directed forty-one feature films, among them Resurrection (1927), Ramona (1928), Evangeline (1929), and The Spoilers (1930). During his career Carewe provided early screen exposure to such actors as Gary Cooper, Delores Del Rio, and Francis X. Bushman. Although he directed and produced a number of critically and financially successful pictures during the silent era, he was not fully able to make the transition to sound. After resorting to sound remakes of his earlier successes, and later to low-budget and religious films, he made his last feature in 1934.
Carewe was married to Mary Jane (Mason?) in California in 1908 and to Mary Akin in 1926 and 1929. He was the father of five children, two with his first wife and three with his second. Two brothers followed Carewe into the film industry, Finis Pox, a screenwriter and occasional collaborator with Carewe, and Wallace Fox, a director of westerns. Carewe died of a heart attack at his Hollywood home on January 22, 1940. Funeral services and burial were in Hollywood two days later.
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Ephraim Katz, The Film Encyclopedia (New York: Crowell, 1979). Richard Koszarski, Hollywood Director, 1914–1940 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976). James Robert Parish and Michael R. Pitts, Film Directors: A Guide to Their American Films (Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1974). A. Morton Smith, The First 100 Years in Cooke County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1955). Variety, January 24, 1940.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
John H. Slate,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994