Slim Summerville may have been the tallest and lankiest comic of the silent era. He joined Mack Sennett’s Keystone studio in 1914, quickly becoming one of the best featured players on the lot, and usually found in supporting roles with Charlie Chaplin, Chester Conklin, and others. Audiences recognized and appreciated a sincerity and honesty about Summerville’s characterizations, and he would work steadily for the rest of the decade.
During the early twenties, when comedy styles were changing and many popular comics of the World War I period were slipping into obscurity, Summerville adroitly moved behind the camera, successfully directing comedies for Fox Sunshine, FBO, and Universal. Near the end of the silent era he returned in front of the camera, becoming one of Hollywood’s most versatile character actors, playing both comic and dramatic roles. A much loved and respected performer, he died in 1946.