(b. London, **/**/1890 – d. London, 10/01/1957). British actor.
Though he started in the theatre, Frank Ernest Hobbs, known professionally as Hayford Hobbs, became better known as a film actor. During his film career he acted in more than 65 silent films, starting in 1915 with 1914 (George Loane Tucker) and finishing with The Devil’s Maze (Sewell Collins & Gareth Gundrey) in 1929. As early as 1912 he appeared in Australia and New Zealand in small roles in stage productions of Kismet, Antony and Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew for Oscar Asche, the future writer and producer of Chu Chin Chow. Early in 1914 he arrived back in England, having travelled via Cape Town. Back home he frequently worked with the prolific Maurice Elvey (including a version of Dombey and Son) and with the Italian immigrant director Arrigo Bocchi. In 1915 he also made four films with director Harold M. Shaw and actress Edna Flugrath, just before they left for South Africa. In addition he made Castles in Spain (1920) for H. Lisle Lucoque, after this director had returned from South Africa following the completion of his two H. Rider Haggard films.
In 1921 he and Joan Morgan were brought out from England to act for African Film Productions in Swallow (Leander De Cordova/1922), based on another Rider Haggard story, and then stayed on for Sam’s Kid (Leander De Cordova/1922), co-starring with the American actress Gertrude McCoy. As soon as his contract with AFP expired and before these two films were shown in South Africa, Hobbs left for Australia and by February 1922 was filming Franklyn Barrett’s A Rough Passage. By June he, his wife and their two children were on their way to the United States. Between 1922 and 1925 he took relatively small parts in films by Hollywood directors such as Marshall Neilan and Jack Conway, but in January 1926 he returned to England. After a serious accident in November 1928 he acted in only a few more films. In 1931 he started an editing company in Wardour Street and also acted as a theatrical agent. Between 1930 and 1950 he directed a few documentaries of no particular significance, though he also produced the short A Moorland Tragedy (1933) for director M.A. Wetherell, who had acted with him in both South African films. (FO)
S.A. Pictorial 22 July 1922
Return to ESAT Personalities H
Return to South African Personalities
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page