Harold Austin

born: 22 June 1892
Noroton division of Darien, Connecticut,
United States of America
died: 20 September 1965
Oceanside, San Diego County, California,
United States of America
(pulmonary edema and related heart problems, age 73)

Harold Austin was a very successful actor, director, cameraman, writer and producer of silent and sound films. His Dad, Austin G. Swezy died when Harold was 10 years old. A few years later, his Mom married the village blacksmith. Harold attended Stamford Military Academy for 3 years and enlisted in the US Navy from May 1917 to December 1918. At that time he worked for the Studebaker Car Rental Co. in New York City.
In the 1920 Census he lists himself as motion picture actor, "Harold A. Austin", born about 1892 in CT to a Dad from New York and a Mom from CT. He was always working and successful (good reviews) in comedy and dramatic shorts and features. In 1927 he married English-born actress "Billy" Edis, 15 years his junior. They divorced in 1932 with her claim that he "flew into violent rages". He was working as a cameraman at the time. Two years later, she married English actor, Reginald Owen, until she died in 1956.
In 1929, he gravitated to the filming of "nature films" done in a dramatic documentary style such as Walt Disney did many years later. He wrote, produced, directed, filmed and sometimes acted in such films into the 1940's. They were popular and successful at the box office domestically and internationally. His 1942 (WWII) draft card gives as identification "two ends of fingers off on left hand". This was the result of a shark bite he suffered while filming an adventurous "nature film" in 1933. The draft card gives actor Frank Morgan ("Wizard of Oz") as "next of kin" since he was living in his friend Morgan's home at the time. His surname signature on both his WWI & WWII Draft Cards definitely reads "Swezy".
According to his 1965 San Diego County Death Certificate, Harold had suffered from high blood pressure and heart problems for at least 10 years.

*At least one source lists his birth year as 1895.
Real name: Harold Austin Swezy
Height: 5'6½"
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


The Man Haters

Oh, Promise Me

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M9QJ-4N5 (1900 Census: Darien, CT: born June 1892. Harold "Swezey")
https://www.familysearch.org/search/ark:/61903/1:1:MKKN-8CK (1910 C CT Harold A. "Sweezy": stepson)
https://www.familysearch.org/search/ark:/61903/1:1:K6N1-YWN (1917 Jun: NYC: "Harold Austin Swezy: b.CT "1893" Jun 22)
https://www.fold3.com/image/307078838?rec=287083680 (1917 May NYC: enlist in US Navy: b.1892 Noroton, CT)
https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/5645002:6061?tid=&pid=&queryId=ed20ff87d5f8319ff8a53e5a29c2f499&_phsrc=Knz28&_phstart=successSource (1920 C Riverside CA)
https://www.familysearch.org/search/ark:/61903/1:1:K9C6-C7Z (1940 C LA: Harold Swezy: photographer: own business: divorced: age47: b.CT)
https://www.familysearch.org/search/ark:/61903/1:1:K8FH-4V5 (1927 Jun 21, Santa Ana: marriage "Billy" Edis: he age 31 (sic): she age 20)
Ancestry.com Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960: 1929 Sep: Harold A. "Sweezy" arr from Africa: actor: age 32
https://archive.org/details/variety108-1932-12/page/n301/mode/1up?view=theater&q=%22billy+austin%22 (1932 Dec. 27, LA: wf "BILLIE" files for divorce)
https://archive.org/details/hollywoodreporte1215wilk/page/n656/mode/1up?view=theater (1933 Apr 15: CA: shark bites off "part of 3 fingers")
https://archive.org/details/variety114-1934-06/page/n123/mode/1up?view=theater&q=%22harold+austin%22 (1934 Jun 12 LA: ex-wife engaged to Reginald Owen)
https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/13607090:1002 (1942 Apr LA: Ht. 5' 6 1/2 ":Harold "Augustus" Swezy: b.1892 Jun 22, Darien, CT)
https://www.familysearch.org/search/ark:/61903/1:1:VP4K-DGV (1965 Sep 20 San Diego Co: CA Death Index: Harold A. "Sweyze")
https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/188588/person/-2112991176/facts (1965 Sep 20 Death Certificate at ClearyDenis Family Tree)
Jim Jarvis (research and bio notes)

This page was last updated on: 03 July 2022