Joseph Henabery
Get Joseph Henabery essential facts below. View Videos or join the Joseph Henabery discussion. Add Joseph Henabery to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Joseph Henabery
Henaberry in Exhibitors Herald, 1919

Joseph Henabery (January 15, 1888 - February 18, 1976) of Omaha, Nebraska, was a film actor, screenplay writer, and director in the United States. He is best known for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in D.W. Griffith's controversial 1915 silent historical epic The Birth of a Nation.


Henabery's acting career began in The Joke on Yellentown (1914). From 1914 to 1917 he appeared in seventeen films, including his portrayal of Lincoln in The Birth of a Nation.

Henabery also worked as a second-unit director on Griffith's Intolerance (1916), and supervised the filming of at least one extended sequence that appeared in the film. Henabery also acted as Admiral de Coligny in the Renaissance French portion of the film depicting the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. Throughout the rest of his career, he worked as a director. From the mid-1920s, and after professional disagreements with both Louis B. Mayer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Adolph Zukor at Paramount Pictures, Henabery found employment as a director for smaller Hollywood studios.

In 1931 he joined the Vitaphone studio in New York City, where he directed dozens of short subjects for the next 10 years. Most of them were musicals and comedies, featuring a host of popular singers in 20-minute sketches. Henabery remained with Vitaphone until the New York studio closed in 1940.

As Abraham Lincoln

Although Henabery's impersonation of Lincoln was a masterpiece of facial makeup, the 6'1" (185 cm) Henabery was three inches shorter than the 6'4" (193 cm) Lincoln.[1]Kevin Brownlow's book The Parade's Gone By (1968) contains a photo of Henabery in costume and makeup as Lincoln, seated in a chair with planks placed on the floor under Henabery's feet so that his knees are raised several inches; this effect (with the planks kept off-camera in the movie) made Henabery's legs appear longer than they actually were.


Henabery died on February 18, 1976, aged 88, in Los Angeles, California. [2]



Title Year Notes
Say! Young Fellow 1918 director and scenarist
Mr. Fix-It 1918 co-screenplay
Life of the Party 1920
Brewster's Millions 1921
Traveling Salesman 1921
Making a Man 1922
The Stranger 1924
A Sainted Devil 1924
Cobra 1925
Meet the Prince 1926
Play Safe 1927
Sailors' Wives 1928
United States Smith 1928
Red Hot Speed 1929
The Quitter 1929
Double or Nothing 1936 Short


The Race War (1915) with Bessie Buskirk[3][4]

Title Year Role Notes
The Birth of a Nation 1915 Abraham Lincoln
The Spell of the Poppy 1915 John Hale
The Penitentes 1915 Minor Role Uncredited
Intolerance 1916 L'amiral de Coligny / Defendant (final film role)


  1. ^ Henabery, Joseph (June 19, 1997). Before, In, and After Hollywood: The Autobiography of Joseph E. Henabery. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810832008 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Joseph Henabery, Film Director, Dies". February 20, 1976 – via
  3. ^ Katchmer, George A. (May 20, 2015). A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses. McFarland. ISBN 9781476609058 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Lentz, Harris M. (1996). Western and Frontier Film and Television Credits 1903-1995: Section I. Actors and actresses. Section II. Directors, producers, and writers. ISBN 9780786402175.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes