Thomas Harper Ince  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Thomas Harper Ince (November 6, 1882November 19, 1924) was an American silent film actor, director, producer and screenwriter. His brothers, John and Ralph Ince, were also actors and film directors.

Murder or natural death debate

On November 19, 1924, the silent film producer and 'father of the Western' died, officially of a heart attack suffered while on a weekend boat trip with William Randolph Hearst aboard Hearst's lavish yacht, The Oneida, while attending a cruise in honor of Ince's 42nd birthday. Other prominent guests in attendance were actor Charlie Chaplin, newspaper columnist Louella Parsons, author Elinor Glyn and film actresses Marion Davies, Aileen Pringle, Jacqueline Logan, Seena Owen, Margaret Livingston and Julanne Johnston. In the years since, several conflicting stories have circulated about Ince's death, often revolving around the claim that Hearst shot Ince in a fit of jealousy (or shot Ince accidentally while fighting with Chaplin over Davies) and used his power and influence to cover up a murder. A 2001 film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, The Cat's Meow, tells a tale based on these rumors. Bogdanovich claims he heard the story of Ince's death from director Orson Welles who in turn said he heard it from writer Herman J. Mankiewicz.

Patty Hearst co-authored a novel with Cordelia Frances Biddle titled Murder at San Simeon (Scribner, 1996), based upon the death of Ince.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Thomas Harper Ince" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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