Freddie Bartholomew – MGM Child Star
He was David Copperfield and Little Lord Fauntleroy. MGM billed him over Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous. For a few years Freddie Bartholomew trailed only Shirley Temple as the most popular child star in the world.
But even Shirley Temple grew up.
Freddie Bartholomew arrived in Hollywood from his native England at age 10. His meteoric rise led to numerous court battles over money–with his parents. After Captains Courageous he lost time on the screen because his Aunt, who handled his career, pressed the bosses at MGM for more money. It wasn’t long before Mickey Rooney, who used to support Freddie in his films, was top box office draw in all the land. All that Freddie had gained by that time was height and for a child star that gain is a loss.
Freddie Bartholomew’s popularity was already dwindling when he lost more time on the screen to war service. Acting jobs were scarce upon his return. Good ones nonexistent. Freddie eventually spun behind-the scenes TV work into a new career as a real-life Mad Man at Benton & Bowles Advertising Agency.
He didn’t discuss his Hollywood past until sitting down to participate in a 1992 MGM retrospective. By the time that special aired Freddie Bartholomew was dead.
The press botched portions of his obituary and those inaccuracies filtered into books and across the Internet. This biography corrects that information. It’s labeled informal because of its conversational tone. Sometimes it even stops to show its work in the hope that any clues provided can one day lead to an even more complete picture of Freddie Bartholomew.
Several of Bartholomew’s films are also discussed throughout this compact volume, including David Copperfield, Professional Soldier, Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Devil Is a Sissy, Captains Courageous, Kidnapped, Lord Jeff, Tom Brown’s School Days, A Yank at Eton, and even Sepia Cinderella and St. Benny the Dip.
Guy LeBow, a friend of Freddie’s from his time in television, wrote, “The details of Freddie Bartholomew’s life … are left to his autobiography.” Freddie never wrote an autobiography. And somehow nobody has ever attempted his biography either. Consider Freddie Bartholomew: An Informal Biography the first building block in that direction.