Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Place of Death
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Profile Bio Text
Ben Lyon was your average boyish, easy-going, highly appealing film personality of the Depression-era 1930s. Although he never rose above second-tier stardom, he would enjoy enduring success both here and in England. Born Ben Lyon, Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, the future singer/actor was the son of a pianist-turned-businessman and youngest of four. Raised in Baltimore, he started performing in amateur productions as a teen before earning marquee value on Broadway opposite such stars as Jeanne Eagels.
Hollywood took notice of the baby-faced charmer and soon Ben was ingratiating filmgoers opposite silent film`s most honored leading ladies. He appeared with Pola Negri in Lily of the Dust (1924), Gloria Swanson in Wages of Virtue (1924), Barbara La Marr in The White Moth (1924), Mary Astor in The Pace That Thrills (1925) and Claudette Colbert, in her only silent feature, in For the Love of Mike (1927). He advanced easily into talkies and was particularly noteworthy as the dashing hero in Howard Hughes` Hell`s Angels (1930), in which Ben actually piloted his own plane (Ben had trained as a pilot during WWI) and filmed some of the airborne scenes for Hughes himself. That same year was also a banner year for him in his personal life after marrying Paramount Pictures film star Bebe Daniels, with whom he had appeared in Alias French Gertie (1930).
As both of their movie careers started to decline, the talented twosome decided to work up a husband-and-wife music hall and vaudeville act. They took their show to England and became a hit at the London Palladium. At one point he served in the U.S. Army Air Force and rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel in charge of Special Services for the U.S. Air Corps in England. Soldiers, sailors and airmen (from 1939) listened to Ben and Bebe weekly on the air waves with their popular, long-running BBC broadcast "Hi, Gang!" The couple remained in England throughout WWII performing on stage and doing their valid part to entertain and honor the troops.
After a brief postwar stay in Hollywood in 1946, where Ben had taken an executive position with Fox, the couple returned to England and headlined another popular 1950s radio show, "Life with the Lyons," which spawned two family-styled films that included children Barbara Lyon and Richard Lyon. In the early 1960s Bebe suffered multiple strokes and left the limelight, passing away in 1971. Ben remarried (to former actress Marian Nixon) and settled in the US, where he died in 1979 of a heart attack while on vacation.
Ben Lyon (February 6, 1901 – March 22, 1979) was an American actor and a studio executive at 20th Century Fox.
Actor/Actress, Soundtrack, Writer
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