Silent film pioneer Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (b. May 23, 1883, Denver, Colorado) was best known for his daring stuntwork in swashbuckling adventure films like "The Three Musketeers," "The Black Pirate" and "The Thief of Bagdad." He was the silver screen's first Zorro, and the first Robin Hood. Fairbanks produced and wrote most of his own films, grand scale spectacles of vibrant imagery.
Along with his wife, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith, he founded United Artists in 1919. Fairbanks served as the first President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927 and hosted the first Academy Awards ceremony. He was also a founding father of the city of Beverly Hills.
Fairbanks returned from Europe at the outbreak of WW II in September 1939, arriving in New York as the World's Fair was in full swing. These photographs document what would be his last major public appearance—less than two months later, Fairbanks died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 56.
New York Sun, May 4, Ward Morehouse's column - "Broadway After Dark": "Douglas Fairbanks and Mrs. Fairbanks, here from Hollywood, are at the Towers of the Waldorf - Astoria."