Joseph Louis DeGrasse

Samuel DeGrasse

Joseph Louis DeGrasse

Joseph Louis DeGrasse, a Hollywood film director and actor, was born to a French Canadian family in 1873. He was the son of Lange DeGrasse and Ellen Comeaux of Bathurst and the older brother of actor Samuel DeGrasse. The family had a total of 11 siblings.

Samuel DeGrasse, Bathurst NB
Samuel DeGrasse

Initially starting his career as a journalist, Joseph soon developed a passion for the theater and began working as a stage actor.

Flowing Gold 1924 Film

In 1910, DeGrasse appeared in his first motion picture. Although he would go on to act in 13 films and write two screenplays, his primary interest lay in directing.

While working at Universal Pictures in Hollywood, Joseph met and married Ida May Park, one of the few female directors at the time.

Ida May Park, Hollywood Director
Ida May Park, Hollywood Director

In 1915 he became a founding member of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a forerunner to today’s Directors Guild of America.

Lon Chaney
Lon Chaney

In 1924, actor Lon Chaney said of the De Grasses:

“Joe and Sam De Grasses are two of the most talented personalities in today’s film industry. Joe, a very skilled actor, is also the consummate director, firm in his demands yet gentle in his way of dealing with many different temperaments to be found in the movie industry. Sam is the only actor I know who can horrify an audience without make-up and without grotesque posturing and playing to the camera. He is the only actor I know who pulls teeth on the set in between takes. A rare pair, they have given the industry not one but two dimensions”.

Joseph DeGrasse passed away in Eagle Rock, California in 1940. He collapsed while walking on the street and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead due to a heart attack.

Over the course of his career, DeGrasse directed a total of 86 films:

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