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David Manners, born Rauff de Ryther Duan Acklom, is a Canadian-American actor born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 30th, 1901. He is best known for playing the role of John Harker in the 1931 Universal Pictures classic Dracula. According to some unverified sources, Manners has a family link to two notable historical figures. His publicist cited that he was a direct descendant of William the Conqueror. Another source posited that he was related to Princess Diana of Wales through his mother's side of the family.

Life Edit

David's father was the manager of Harrow House, a Towers Road boys' school. David's father discouraged him from pursuing a career in acting and encouraged him to study forestry, which Manners disliked. He attended Trinity school and took further studies at the University of Toronto. Manners' family relocated to the United States where he took up stage acting.

Retiring from acting in 1936, he opened up his own ranch and began filming personal movies on a 16 mm. camera. In 1940 he became a US citizen and legally changed his name to David Joseph Manners. In his later years, Manners busied himself by writing novels and painting. He died of natural causes at his home in Santa Barbara, California on December 23rd, 1998 at the age of 97.

Career Edit

David Manners' earliest known stage work was in the 1920s when he joined the Eva La Gallienne's Civil Repertory Co. He was discovered by movie director James Whale and relocated to Hollywood, California. His first film role was an uncredited bit part as a pilot in the 1929 silent film The Sky Hawk. His first credited feature role was in the James Whale 1930 film Journey's End, which co-starred future Frankenstein actor Colin Clive. Manners played the role of Second Lieutenant Raleigh. Manners appeared in six more films in 1930 including He Knew Women, Sweet Mama, Kismet, The Truth About Youth, Mother's Cry and The Right to Love.

In 1931, Manners was contracted to Warner Bros./First National Studios who loaned him out to Universal Pictures for their first adaptation of the 1897 Bram Stoker novel Dracula. Manners earned $2,000 a week while filming Dracula, $1,500 more than leading actor Bela Lugosi, who was only making $500 a week. Like many actors from this era, his work in Dracula made him a well-known name in Hollywood, but did little to help his career. In later years, he would admit to never even having seen the completed film and bore no small measure of resentment over how his career had turned out because of it.

Coincidentally, Dracula was the third film in which he paired off with actress Helen Chandler, the first being his first film The Sky Hawk. They also appeared together in the 1930 film Mother's Cry and following Dracula, co-starred with each other in 1931's The Last Flight.

In 1932, David Manners played the heroic protagonist in another Universal film which would soon become a staple of the genre - Karl Freund's The Mummy. Manners played the part of archaeologist Frank Whemple. Whereas with Dracula he played opposite Bela Lugosi, with The Mummy he now co-starred with Boris Karloff. The Mummy also provided Manners with another connection to actress Helen Chandler. His co-star in the film, Bramwell Fletcher, would later marry Chandler in 1935. The Mummy also reunited Manners with fellow Dracula star Edward Van Sloan.

Manners' last work with Universal was the 1934 film The Black Cat where he now played opposite both Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. He played a character named Peter Alison and received third billing in the film.

Body of work Edit

Film Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

Universal Monsters logo
Universal Classics Actor or Crew member
This article relates to actors or production crew members pertaining to the Universal Classics era of films. This template will categorize articles that include it into the Universal Classics crew members category.
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Dracula Actor or Crew member
This article relates to actors or production crew members pertaining to the Dracula franchise.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the Dracula crew members category.

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