Harry Agar Lyons (1 April 1878 – 1944) was an Irish-born British actor. He was born in Cork, Ireland in 1878 and died in Wandsworth, London, England in 1944 at age 72.[1]

Lyons is best known for playing Fu Manchu in a series of fifteen silent films collectively called The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu, all filmed in 1923, followed by a 1924 series of eight additional Fu Manchu films under the title The Further Mysteries of Dr. Fu Manchu. Lyons starred in the title role of all 23 movies (which ran about 20 –25 minutes each in length), all of which featured Fu's ongoing battle with his two British nemeses, Sir Nayland Smith (played by Fred Paul) and his assistant Dr. Petrie. Both series were produced by Oswald Stoll (see List of Stoll Pictures films), who had earlier produced a 1920 film version of Sax Rohmer's 1915 "Yellow Peril" novel, The Yellow Claw.[2] In spite of the many films in which Lyons played an Oriental character, the obviously British actor "put forth little effort to make himself seem anything other than Caucasian".

He later also starred as Dr. Sin Fang, another Asian character, in a low-budget 1928 six-picture film series produced by Pioneer Productions. The Sin Fang films were produced and directed by Fred Paul (who also co-starred in them as the regularly appearing police lieutenant John Byrne) and were written by Patrick K. Heale. The Sin Fang films co-starred Evelyn Arden as Byrne's girlfriend Betty and Wally Patch as Byrne's sidekick Bill Riggers. Fred Paul (who had also directed a number of the earlier Fu Manchu films) co-produced the 6 Sin Fang films with A. M. Brooks, and created the Sin Fang character to be as similar to Fu Manchu as he could possibly be, without being sued by Sax Rohmer for copyright infringement. Of the six Sin Fang films, only the fifth one (The Torture Cage) still exists.

Lyons' last two films, the cheaply-made 1937 Dr. Sin Fang sound feature and the 1938 Chinatown Nights, also both featured the Dr. Sin Fang character, but those were produced by Victory Films and were not part of the 1928 silent film series.[3]

The 1923 "Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu" film series

The 1924 "Further Mysteries of Dr. Fu Manchu" film series

The 1928 "Dr. Sin Fang Dramas" film series

(*Note - See also Dr. Sin Fang (1937) and Chinatown Nights (1938), two later sound films that also both featured the Dr. Sin Fang character)

Selected filmography


References

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016)."Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p.258. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  3. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 268, 331.ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  4. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror". Midnight Marquee. p.268. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  5. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror". Midnight Marquee. page 278. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  6. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 334. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  7. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p.326, 331. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.