Norman Kerry was an American actor whose career spanned over twenty-
Born Arnold Kaiser in Rochester, New York of German parentage, he changed his unmistakably German name to 'Norman Kerry' at the onset of World War I.
Around 1916 he befriended Rudolph Valentino, then an exhibition dancer of some renown, in New York City. He is said to have introduced Valentino to dancer Bonnie Glass who became Valentino's partner; Valentino in turn encouraged Kerry to try making a name for himself in film. (Later, Kerry would help out Valentino financially when the two met again in California.) Kerry made his first film appearance in the 1916 Allan Dwan directed comedy Manhattan Madness, starring Douglas Fairbanks. He would rise to leading actor status the following year in the Marshall Neilan directed A Little Princess, playing opposite actress Mary Pickford. In 1918, Kerry followed his success with A Little Princess in the William Desmond Taylor directed Up the Road with Sallie, opposite Constance Talmadge.
Kerry's career flourished during the silent film era of the late 1910s and throughout the 1920s and he quickly became a matinee idol who was extremely popular with female fans. With his slicked back hair and thin, waxed moustache, he was often cast in the role of the heroic dashing swashbuckler or the exotic, seductive lothario. By 1923, Kerry was a very well respected leading man and box-
Kerry would again be paired with Lon Chaney and Mary Philbin in the 1925 horror classic The Phantom of the Opera, playing Philbin's love-
At the beginning of the talkie era he and Mary Philbin reunited to film talking scenes for the 1930 reissue of "Phantom of the Opera". On the surviving soundtrack both stars are stiff and awkward, speaking with exaggerated diction. This was Philbin's only sound film, and the beginning of Kerry's decline. He was cast in the 1931 film Bachelor Apartment, opposite silent film star Mae Murray. The film was critically panned at the time of release and both Murray and Kerry's careers in the new medium of sound quickly waned. Kerry would only make three more film appearances before retiring from acting.
Later in life Kerry joined the French Foreign Legion, returning to the U.S. only when France was invaded by Nazi Germany.
Norman Kerry died in Los Angeles, California from a liver ailment at the age of 61 in 1956 and was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, Los Angeles County, California.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Norman Kerry was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6724 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood, California.