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Charles Douville Coburn Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Charles Douville Coburn passes away in 1961.

Charles Douville Coburn was an American actor.

Coburn was born on June 19th, 1877 in Macon, Georgia. At the age of 14 he began working at a local theatre, holding a variety of positions. Some of his jobs in the theatre were handing out programs, ushering, and being the doorman. Sometime around the age of 17 or 18 he became the manager of theatre.

By 1901, Coburn had become an actor and was appearing on Broadway. In 1905, he started an acting company with actress Ivah Wills. The two married the following year and had six children. Ivah passed away from congestive heart failure in 1937. Prior to Ivah's passing the two performed frequently on Broadway.

After Ivah passed away, Coburn moved to Hollywood where he entered the movie business as an actor. Most of his acting was in comedies, the two dramatic exceptions were the films Kings Row in 1942 and Wilson in 1944. In 1943 he played a retired millionaire who was playing Cupid in the film The More the Merrier. His performance won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Off screen, Coburn served as the Vice President of of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. The organization opposed any leftist infiltration and proselytizing in Hollywood during the Cold War. He was also a member of a group called the White Citizens' Council which opposed racial integration.

In 1960, Coburn was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the movie industry.

Coburn passed away on August 30th, 1961 in New York City, New York from a heart attack.

Coburn was a member of Prince of Orange Lodge No. 16 in New York City, New York. He was also a member of Constitution Chapter No. 230, Royal Arch Masons and knighted in Palestine Commandery No. 18 of Knights Templar. He was a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Mecca Shrine Temple. On May 19, 1957 he received the gold medal for distinguished service from the General Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.