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Joseph J. Dowling

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Joseph J. Dowling
Film actor Joseph J Dowling (SAYRE 23206).jpg
Dowling in 1923
Joseph Johnson Dowling

(1850-09-04)September 4, 1850
DiedJuly 8, 1928(1928-07-08) (aged 77)
Years active1913–1928
Sarah Ann Hassen
(m. 1882⁠–⁠1893)

Myra L. Davis (m.?–1928)
left to right: Bessie Barriscale, Joseph Dowling, ?unidentified player. Blindfolded (1918)
left to right: Bessie Barriscale, Joseph Dowling, ?unidentified player. Blindfolded (1918)

Joseph Johnson Dowling (September 4, 1850 – July 8, 1928) was an American stage and silent film actor.

Early life and career

Born in Pittsburgh, the son of James and Fredericka (nee Edstrem) Dowling. His father was a native of Pennsylvania while his mother immigrated from Sweden. He had two siblings, Laura and James, both of whom predeceased Dowling.[1]

As a young boy, Dowling served as a drummer in Company G of the 29th Iowa Infantry during the Civil War.[2]

Dowling in a scene from the lost film The Miracle Man (1919)
Dowling in a scene from the lost film The Miracle Man (1919)

Dowling began his career on the stage and in vaudeville before he made his film debut in 1913 in Sleuthing.[1][3] He later appeared in many films with Charles Ray (with whom he appeared in five other features) and William S. Hart. He is best remembered for playing the Patriarch, one of four main characters, in the now lost film The Miracle Man (1919). Dowling continued to appear in major Hollywood silent productions including Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921) with Mary Pickford, Quincy Adams Sawyer (1922) with Lon Chaney and Blanche Sweet, The Christian (1923) with Richard Dix and Mae Busch, One Night in Rome with Laurette Taylor and the Victor Fleming directed Lord Jim (1925).

Personal life

Dowling was married twice. His first marriage was to actress Sarah J. "Sadie" Hassen (née Berry) born on May 29, 1853. The couple performed together in the play Nobody's Claim, which was written specifically for them by Edwin A. Locke. The play was a hit and the two traveled around the United States performing it. They eventually settled in Mount Clemens, Michigan in 1886. They had a son, Joseph F., in September 1890, and divorced in 1893.[1][4] He later married actress Myra L. Davis to whom he remained married until his death.


Dowling died on July 8, 1928 in Hollywood. He was survived by his second wife, Myra, and his son from his first marriage.[5]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ a b c Eldredge, Robert F. (1905). Past and Present Of Macomb County, Michigan. p. 524.
  2. ^ National Archives and Records Admin. publication T289, Pension Applications for Service in the US Army between 1861 and 1916
  3. ^ Soister, John T. (2012). American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913–1929. McFarland. p. 398. ISBN 978-0-786-48790-5.
  4. ^ Larsen, Deborah J. (2012). Legendary Locals of Mount Clemens: Michigan. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-1-467-10012-0.
  5. ^ "Joseph J. Dowling, Veteran Actor, Dies in California". Chicago Daily Tribune. July 9, 1928. p. 1.
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Joseph J. Dowling
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