Francis Xavier Bushman (January 10, 1883 - August 23, 1966) was the first major male movie star, first starting in 1911 in the silent film His Friend's Wife. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He died in Pacific Palisades, California from a fall. Bushman, like many of his contemporaries, broke into film from stage. He was performing at Bronco Billy Andersonís Essanay Studio in Chicago, Illinois, where he was first noticed for his muscular, sculpted frame. He appeared in nearly 200 feature film roles - more than 175 films before 1920, 17 in his film debut year of 1911 alone.
In 1902, he married seamstress Josephine Fladume. By the launch of his film career, the couple had five children. In 1918, he was the subject of a huge scandal as his affair with longtime costar Beverly Bayne became a national scandal. Three days after his divorce with Josephine was final, Bushman and Bayne were married. His popularity waned when it was revealed that he was married. He was actually married four times.
His role as Messala in Ben-Hur in 1925 might have launched his career even further but for being blacklisted by Louis B. Mayer (of the then-fledgling Metro Goldwyn Mayer film studio).
At the peak of his career, he was known as "the King of Photoplay" before that title went to Clark Gable, with whom it remains today.