John Gilbert


John Gilbert was an American actor who made a name for himself in Hollywood during the silent film era. He starred in over 80 films, including classics such as “The Big Parade” and “Flesh and the Devil.” However, his career was cut short due to his inability to transition to talkies. In this blog post, we will explore the life and career of John Gilbert, from his early days as a bushranger in Australia to his role as Jeremy Gilbert in the hit TV series “Vampire Diaries.”

Early Life and Career

John Gilbert

John Gilbert as a Bushranger

John Gilbert was born on July 10, 1897, in Logan, Utah. His family moved to California when he was a child, and he began acting in local theater productions. However, at the age of 16, Gilbert ran away from home and traveled to Australia, where he became a bushranger. He was eventually caught and spent time in prison before returning to the United States.

John Gilbert’s Acting Career

Upon his return to the United States, John Gilbert began his acting career in earnest. He signed with Fox Film Corporation in 1915 and appeared in a number of films over the next few years. However, it wasn’t until he signed with MGM in 1924 that his career really took off. He starred in a number of successful films, including “The Big Parade” and “Flesh and the Devil,” which cemented his status as a leading man in Hollywood.

The Decline of John Gilbert’s Career

Transition to Talkies

Despite his success in silent films, John Gilbert struggled to make the transition to talkies. His voice was considered too high-pitched for the new medium, and audiences were put off by his accent. He appeared in a number of talkies, but they were not as successful as his earlier films.

Personal Issues

In addition to his struggles with talkies, John Gilbert also had personal issues that affected his career. He was married to actress Ina Claire, but their marriage was tumultuous, and they divorced in 1931. He also struggled with alcoholism, which further damaged his reputation in Hollywood.

John Gilbert’s Legacy

Vampire Diaries

Despite the decline of his career in the 1930s, John Gilbert’s legacy lives on. In 2009, he was resurrected in a new form when the character of Jeremy Gilbert was introduced in the hit TV series “Vampire Diaries.” The character was named after John Gilbert and played by actor Steven R. McQueen.

Legacy in Hollywood

John Gilbert’s impact on Hollywood cannot be overstated. He was one of the most popular actors of the silent film era and paved the way for future leading men in Hollywood. His legacy continues to inspire actors and filmmakers today.


John Gilbert was a complex and fascinating figure in Hollywood history. From his early days as a bushranger in Australia to his role in “Vampire Diaries,” his life and career were filled with ups and downs. Despite the challenges he faced, his legacy in Hollywood continues to inspire and influence generations of actors and filmmakers.

Scroll to Top