British-born Edward Sloman was raised in London's East End, and left home at age 19 to become an actor. He spent several years in the British theater and later became a director in both theater and vaudeville. After a quarrel with a powerful booking agent which resulted in his being effectively shut out of the British theatrical circuit, Sloman took an actress friend's advice and headed for Hollywood in 1915.
Introduced to director Wilfred Lucas at Universal Pictures, Sloman was soon employed as an actor at the princely sum of $7.50 a day. To make ends meet, he wrote scenarios, which he sold for $25 apiece. A war picture he wrote was bought by producer Thomas H. Ince, a major figure in Hollywood at the time, and on the strength of that Sloman was hired by Lubin Pictures as a director, turning out his first film in late 1915. After directing several one- and two-reel shorts, the studio head insisted that he not only direct them but star in them, too. Several months of performing these dual tasks exhausted Sloman to the point where he quit Lubin.
He was eventually hired by independent producer Benjamin B. Hampton in 1919 and given the helm of a big-budget western, The Westerners (1919). The film was quite successful and led to Sloman securing steady employment with other independent producers. He was eventually hired by Universal Pictures and made His People (1925), the success of which resulted in his being given a five-year contract by the studio. His most critically acclaimed film, Surrender (1927), starred Russian actor Ivan Mozzhukhin and Mary Philbin. Sloman's The Foreign Legion (1928) and We Americans (1928) were also well received, but his career declined somewhat after the advent of talking pictures. He made his last film in 1938 and the next year left the business to enter the radio broadcasting field as a writer, producer and director.