Edwin August aka Edwin Butz (1883-1964)

Edwin August was an American silent film actor, writer and director. A co-star, Blanche Sweet, would later bluntly state - "He was a homo." He owned a chicken ranch at 648 South Figueroa in Hollywood and was friends with gay silent film star J. Warren Kerrigan and most likely Kerrigan's long time partner James Vincent.


Edwin was born Edwin August Phillip von der Butz in St. Louis, Missouri on November 20, 1883 to August and Sarah (Mykins) Butz. He was educated at the Christian Brothers College. He began working with Biograph Studios in New York as early as 1908 and moved to Hollywood with that company in 1910. He starred in several films by D. W. Griffith, who was also with the company, and continued to work well into the 1930s as a writer and director. In 1916, he entered his name as a candidate for President of the United States, and spoke out against censorship in cinema. The candidate wasn't taken very seriously, and perhaps that wasn't the point. He didn't like the road that his industry was going down, and wanted to voice his opinion in the hope of change.

Edwin passed away from cerebral metastatic disease on March 4, 1964 at the Motion Picture County Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, California. He was interred on March 6 in an unmarked grave at Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood.


Newspaper Articles:

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, IN) - January 15, 1914

Edwin August, of the Universal, entertained recently in honor of Mary Pickford and her mother at his Hollywood, Calif., residence. Among the guests present were; Mr. and Mrs. Isidora Bernstein, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Nash, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips Smalley, Mr. and Mrs. Otis Turner, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Mace, Hal August, Barney Sherry, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Leonard, Allan Dwan, Iva Shepard, Alice Rhodes, Ethel Davis and Laura Oakley.

Toronto Sunday World (Toronto, Canada) - May 31, 1914

EDWIN AUGUST: The Edwin August Feature plays will in future be made at the Balboa studios, and Mr. August is now affiliated with the Balboa company. He has Hal August and pretty Neva Delorez with him, and he says that in this society girl he has a "find". He is directing and taking the lead in "The Great Secret," a capital melodrama from his own pen. Edwin August is very pleased with his surroundings, and was surprised at the completeness of the Long Beach studio.

Toronto Sunday World (Toronto, Canada) - June 7, 1914

Edwin August has completed his first feature picture for the Balboa Company, and he is going to produce a comedy-drama with a new idea running thru it. He has moved to Long Beach, and occupies a delightful apartment there. He has lots of nice things to say regarding both his juvenile, Hal August, and his leading lady, Neva Delorez.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) - November 26, 1915

I always thought that Edwin August was a wonderful name for an actor. It was so good that I thought it must be his own. Now I discover that his real name is Edwin August Van Der Butts and I'm the last person that would blame him for leaving off the Der Butts.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) - June 5, 1916

We are not given to proffering much political dope in the coly-um but I feel that this little department would not be doing its duty did it not confide in all voting readers and others that Edwin August is a candidate for President of the United States. Mr. August, as I told you some time ago, is known in private life as Edwin August Van Der Buts, the Der Butts not being necessary he thought to a motion picture career. His platform is "Free Silence." Instead of from stump to stump, Mr. August will appearl from the screen against screen censorship. He estimates that there are 80,000,000 picture fans who will be immenced by his campaign on behalf of the censorless screen.

Census Records

June 10, 1880: St. Louis, Missouri

Name Age Relation Occupation Birth Place
August Butz 32 - Tin smith Prussia
Sarah Butz 37 wife keeping house Ireland
Thomas Butz 15 son Works in shop NY
Lizzie Butz 9 daughter at school NJ
Sarah 8 daughter at school NJ
Emma 4 daughter at school NJ
Clara 1 daughter at school NJ

June 9, 1900: 1615 Helen St., St. Louis, Missouri

Name Born Occupation Notes
August Butz Apr 1848 in NJ Tinner -
Sahra Butz Jan 1844 in Ireland - 5 kids, 4 living, immigrated 1856
Emma Butz Dec 1876 in NJ - -
Clara Butz Apr 1879 in NJ saleslady, dry goods -
Charles Butz Mar 1881 in MO paper hanger -
Edwin Butz Jan 1883 in MO telephone boy -

January 10, 1920: 116-118 45th St., New York City, New York, NY

Location: boarding house made up primarily of theater people
Name: Edwin August
Description: white male, 36, single, Director of motion pictures
Born: Missouri
Father born: Germany
Mother born: Ireland

April 2, 1930: Kandice Apartments, W 6th St., Los Angeles, CA

Name: Edwin August Butz
Description: white male, 44, single, teacher of acting theater
Born: Missouri
Father Born: Germany
Mother Born: Northern Ireland

City Directories and Lists

California Voter Registrations

1916: Butz, August (his father?) - chckn rnchr, 6th St., Lawndale - D
1940: Butz, Edwin August - 5927 1/4 Sunset Blvd - actor, D
1942: Butz, Edwin August - 5927 1/4 Sunset Blvd - actor, D

Directories for Los Angeles, California

1911: August, Edwin actor h 648 S. Figueroa
1913: August, Edwin A. actor r 6487 S. Figueroa
1914: August, Edwin director Universal Film Mfg Co h 601 S. Rampart Blvd.
1914: August, Hal emp Universal Film Mfg Co h 601 S. Rampart Blvd.
1932: August, Edwin r 403 S. Alvarado

Directories for Long Beach, California

1914: August, Edwin actor Balboa Amusement Producing Co r. Alexander Hotel
1914: August, Hal actor Balboa Amusement Pro Co r. Alexander Hotel

Vital Records

California Death Index

Name: Edwin August
Social Security #: 563-16-9576
Birth Date: November 10, 1883
Birthplace: Missouri
Death Date: March 4, 1964
Death Place: Los Angeles County


WW1 Draft Registration Card

Name: Edwin August
Address: Friars Club, 110 W 45th St
Born: November 20, 1883
Occupation: motion picture director
Employer: Artcolor Pictures Company
Next of Kin: August Butz (father), PO Box, Lawndale, Los Angeles Co, California
Description: Tall, medium build, blue eyes, brown hair
Date of Registration: September 12, 1918, New York

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