George Fitzmaurice
Born(1885-02-13)13 February 1885
Paris, France
Died13 June 1940(1940-06-13) (aged 55)
Burial placeForest Lawn Memorial Park
OccupationFilm director
Years active1914–1940
Notable work
  • Ouida Bergere
    (married 1919–1924)
  • Diana Kane
    (married 1927–1940)
Cursive signature in ink

George Fitzmaurice (13 February 1885 – 13 June 1940) was a French-born film director and producer.


Fitzmaurice (left) directs Elsie Ferguson, Warner Oland, Wyndham Standing in The Witness for the Defense (1919)

Fitzmaurice's career first started as a set designer on stage. Beginning in 1914, and continuing until his death in 1940, he directed a total of over 80 films; several of these were successful, including The Son of the Sheik, Raffles, Mata Hari, and Suzy.

At the beginning of his directorial career, Fitzmaurice was astute at directing stage actresses in their initial films with the first wave of great Broadway stars that migrated to motion pictures during the World War I era, including Mae Murray, Elsie Ferguson, Fannie Ward, Helene Chadwick, Irene Fenwick, Gail Kane, and Edna Goodrich.

The Son of the Sheik is his most famous extant silent film, no doubt aided by the sudden death of its star, Rudolph Valentino. Lilac Time is a classic war/romance film. Fitzmaurice, however, directed scores of silent films of which the majority of them are lost to the ravages of decomposition. Recent discoveries in Gosfilmofond in Russia include 1919's Witness for the Defense with Elsie Ferguson and 1922's Kick In with Bert Lytell. A restoration of his 1928 part-talkie hybrid The Barker is winning praise from many film buffs. Rumors of other Fitzmaurice films in Gosfilmofond include 1920s Idols of Clay (with Mae Murray) and Three Live Ghosts with Norman Kerry, Anna Q. Nilsson, Cyril Chadwick, and Edmund Goulding.

Personal life

The Profiteers, 1919
The Emperor's Candesticks, 1937

He was married at one time to Ouida Bergere, later the wife of Basil Rathbone. His second wife was Diana Kane, a sister of actress Lois Wilson. With Kane, he had two daughters Sheila Fitzmaurice born in 1929, and Patricia Fitzmaurice Baxter born in 1931.