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Niles Welch

Niles Welch
Niles Welch, silent film actor (SAYRE 10292).jpg
Niles Welch in 1920
Niles Eugene Welch

(1888-07-29)July 29, 1888
DiedNovember 21, 1976(1976-11-21) (aged 88)
Years active1913–1940
SpouseElaine Baker

Niles Eugene Welch (July 29, 1888 – November 21, 1976) was an American performer on Broadway, and a leading man in a number of silent and early talking motion pictures from the early 1910s through the 1930s.

Early life

A native of Hartford, Connecticut, after graduating from St. Paul's School,[1] Welch attended Yale and Columbia University.[2] Later he joined a stock company, and from there toured the U.S. in vaudeville. The first film he worked in was The Stranger in Grey with the Eastern Vitagraph Studios.


After spending four years on the legitimate stage, Welch started his screen career appearing with World Film Corporation, Universal, Pathé Studios and Goldwyn Pictures. Among his earliest works were two Thomas Ince productions, Stepping Out and The Cup of Life, followed in rapid succession by Miss George Washington, with Marguerite Clark; The Courage of Marge O'Doone, with Pauline Starke; and with Grace Darmond[citation needed] in The Gulf Between (1917), the first feature film produced in the two-strip version of Technicolor.[3] His career continued well into the sound era but mainly in bit roles.

Welch was the announcer for Columbia's American School of the Air on CBS radio in 1939.[4] During World War II, he made foreign-language broadcasts for the Voice of America (VOA), using his fluency in French and German. He had his own program on VOA in addition to participating in daily broadcasts on the short-wave broadcasts to Europe. In 1945, a door at the VOA studio in New York hit Welch on his forehead, causing both retinas to detach. He lost sight in one eye and had partial vision in the other eye for one year, after which he became totally blind.[5][6]

On Broadway, Welch portrayed David Cornish in The Donovan Affair (1926).[7]

Personal life and death

Welch was married to actress Elaine Baker.[5] He died in Laguna Niguel, California, on November 21, 1976, at age 88.[4]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ Fox, Charles Donald; Silver, Milton L. (1920). Who's Who on the Screen. Ross publishing Company. p. 256. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ Lowrey, Carolyn (1920). The First One Hundred Noted Men and Women of the Screen. Moffat, Yard. p. 194. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "Niles Welch". AllMovie. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Niles Welch, Actor of Broadway And 20's and 30's (sic) Motion Pictures". The New York Times. December 21, 1976. p. 36. ProQuest 122799665. Retrieved July 25, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ a b Walton, Bob (December 23, 1973). "A Time To Live". The Sacramento Bee. California, Sacramento. Universal Press Syndicate. p. 40. Retrieved July 25, 2020 – via
  6. ^ "Bob Walton's Time to Live". Syracuse Post Standard. December 25, 1973. p. 45. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "Niles Welch". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
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Niles Welch
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