Parents were Walter B Gilbert and Ida Adair Apperley.
John Cecil Pringle was born to stock company actor parents in Logan Utah. After his family settled in California he attended Hitchcock Military Academy.
His career spanned 21 years, from 1915 until his death in 1936.
His first screen appearance was in the 1915 short film The Mother Instinct, in which he had a small supporting role. He was a lead player by 1917 as well as trying his hand as a screenwriter and director.
In 1921 Gilbert signed a contract with the Fox Film Corporation, he appeared in many films including Monte Cristo, Cameo Kirby, and The Yellow Stain.
In 1921 Gilbert announced his engagement to Leatrice Joy. They married in 1922, but Joy filed for divorce in 1924 while pregnant with their only child.
He moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924, and despite his earlier successes, this is where he became a star, taking leading roles in many high-profile films including His Hour and The Merry Widow.
He first worked with Greta Garbo in 1926 in Flesh and the Devil. They had a turbulent off-screen relationship that was highly publicized, with Gilbert proposing and being refused multiple times. They co-starred other films during this period including A Woman of Affairs and Love.
In 1929, Gilbert married actress Ina Claire in Las Vegas. They separated in early 1931 and divorced later that year.
Gilbert's final marriage, to actress Virginia Bruce, took place in August 1932. They had a daughter before divorcing in 1934.
In 1934 Gilbert appeared as alcoholic newspaperman Steve Bramley in The Captain Hates the Sea, his final feature film.
Gilbert had a heart attack in December the following year which was followed by a fatal second heart attack on January 9th, 1936. His remains are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
* The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era, LEADING MEN, Foreword by Robert Osborne, Introduction by Molly Haskell, Text by Frank Miller, Chronicle Books, LLC, 85 Second Street, San Francisco, California 94105, www.chroniclebooks.com. Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books 9050 Shaughnessy Street Vancouver, British Columbia V6P 6E5 pp. 92-95.
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