Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Bobby Harron Shot by Falling Pistol -- September 2, 2020


Washington Times, 02-September-1920

On 01-September-1920, actor Robert Harron, who had starred in several movies directed or produced by DW Griffith, checked into a hotel in New York. After attending the premiere of Griffith's Way Down East, he returned to his room. The next morning Harron called the manager to his room. Harron was sitting in a chair. He told the manager that he was taking clothes out of a his trunk when a pistol fell out and fired when it hit the floor. The bullet struck Harron in the chest. He argued against calling an ambulance, but eventually went to a hospital. The police arrested him for having a firearm without a permit. 

Some people thought Harron may have been trying to commit suicide, having lost some leads in Griffith movies and having broken up with Dorothy Gish, but most people who knew him believed it was an accident. 



Screen Star in New York
Hospital Following Peculiar

NEW YORK. Sept. 2.-- Robert Harron, best known to moving picture fans as the hero in "Hearts of the World" and now starring in his own pictures, the Robert Harron Productions, shot himself accidentally early yesterday morning in his room at the Hotel Seymour and is in a critical condition in Belleview Hospital.

Harron who is twenty-nine years old and unmarried and whose good looks as depicted an the screen have evoked maidenly sighs the world over, was fighting hard for life when his managers got a late report from the hospital, and, though he had lost much blood, they entertained, some hope of his recovery.

If he gets well, he will have to face a charge of violating the Sullivan law for, as soon as he had received first aid, Patrolman Yarcznski placed him under formal arrest and he was moved to the prison ward at the hospital. An uncle, Thomas Harron, hurried from Mamaroneck when he heard of his nephew's misfortune. He went to the police station and the hospital for details of the accident and then hurried to Bellevue to be with the young star. At the station he said he would remain here to look after the young man's interests and furnish bail for him if he should be able to leave the hospital.

The police did not learn how Harron happened to have a pistol without a permit but the supposition arose that he probably had used it at one time or another in some of the many pictures in which he has appeared. He became a screen favorite at 14, while he was an office boy in the office of D. W. Griffith. Griffith saw the possibilities of his appearance and personality, and gave him a small part. His success ended his office boy days.

Harron, known among his associates as a quiet, winning, modest young fellow, was a great favorite at the hotel, and the accident caused profound regret there.

He had just dressed, preparing to go to the studio, where he was engaged in acting for "The Brass Bowl," and for some reason not learned, lifted some clothes from a trunk. The pistol fell to the floor and exploded, the bullet lodging in his chest.

He telephoned to the office for help and Manager Montgomery hurried to his room on the ninth floor. Harron was smiling and remarked through set teeth:

"I'm in a devil of a fix; I've shot myself."

Montgomery assured him his condition was no Joke, but Harron refused to allow an ambulance to be called, insisting upon the summoning of a local physician. Only when it proved one could not be found immediately did he consent that a call be sent to police headquarters for a Bellevue ambulance. Then he demurred at the stretcher and wanted to be taken downstairs in a chair.

Theodore Mitchell of Twenty-eighth Street, Beachhurst, L. I., last night furnished $500 bail in the ' Night Court before Magistrate Edgar V. Prothingham for the release as a prisoner in the hospital of Harron.

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