George Gilmor Brown, who went by his middle name of Gilmor, was born in New Salem, North Dakota to Orville and Emma Brown. There has been a great deal of confusion regarding his birth date and age. At the time of his death in 1960 no one was quite sure how old he was and estimated his age to be about 80, but in reality he was younger. In the 1900 census his birth is given by his parents as June 1886, in the 1910 census he says he was 23 (born c1887), on his WWI draft card he puts his birth date as June 16, 1884, in the 1920 census he gave his age as 36 (born c1884) and in the 1930 census his age was given as 45 (born c.1885) - but in every single ship manifest, of which there are several, he gives his birth date as June 16, 1890. As an average, and being that his parents would be the most accurate source, I'm supposing his birth date to be June 16, 1886.
He was raised and attended High School in Denver, Colorado where he was first introduced to theater and would join a touring theater troup after graduation. The Brown family came to Pasadena in 1914 and Gilmor opened a cigar and billiards shop at 83 N Fair Oaks avenue. His brother and father helped him manage the business. In 1917 his brother also becomes the manager of the Savoy Theater and by 1918 Gilmor had started work on a local community play house. The first mention of it in any official record (that I have found to date) is Gilmor's 1918 draft card on which he gives his occupation as "Managing Director of community players". This company would later become known as the now famous Pasadena Playhouse and is considered to be one of the companies responsible for the community playhouse movement.
Historian William J. Mann, in his book "Behind the Screen", wrote the following: "At the Pasadena Playhouse, Gilmor Brown acted as a kind of godfather to many rising male stars, escorting them to important theater and film-industry functions."
1056 Emerson St., Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado - June 8, 1900
|Name||Relation||Born||Status||Children||Father Born||Mother Born||Occupation|
|Orville Brown||Head||Oct 1844 in Ill||married 26 yrs||.||England||England||R.R. Clerk|
|Emma Brown||wife||Jan 1855 in NY||married||3, 2 living||NY||NY||.|
|Frank Brown||son||Jan 1877 in NY||single||.||Ill||NY||R. R. Clerk|
|George Brown||son||June 1886 in ND||single||.||Ill||NY||at school|
302 South 7th St., Chickasaw, Grady, Oklahoma - May 2, 1910
|Name||Age||Status||Born||Father Born||Mother Born||Occupation|
|Birch DeLappe||24||widow||Colorado||Illinois||Ohio||theatrical actor|
|Gilmore Brown||23||single||North Dakota||NY||Georgia||theatrical actor|
|Harry Lynton||50||widow||Penn||NY||NY||theatrical actor|
|Winifred Bradley||25||single||Michigan||Indiana||NY||theatrical actress|
|Addie Baker||22||married||Wyoming||Nebraska||Nebraska||theatrical actress|
|Beyer? Desmond||33||single||Ireland||Ireland||Scotland||theatrical actor|
|William W. Bittner||43||married||Penn||Penn||Penn||theatrical actor|
|Ella J. Bittner||40||married||Canada||Ireland||Ireland||theatrical actress|
|Winifred Noe||23||single||New Jersey||Penn||Quebec||musician|
32 1/2 Orange Place, Pasadena, Los Angeles, California - January 8, 1920
|Surname||Given Name||Relation||Age||Status||Born||Father Born||Mother Born||Occupation||Industry|
|Brown||Orville||Head||76||married||Illinois||England||New Hampshire||Office Work||Community Playhouse|
|Brown||Emma||wife||67||married||Georgia||New York||New York||Office Work||Community Playhouse|
|Brown||Gilmor||son||36||single||North Dakota||Illinois||Georgia||Actor||Community Playhouse|
695 Herkimer St., Pasadena, Los Angeles, California - April 8, 1930
|Name||Relation||Age||Status||Born||Father Born||Mother Born||Occupation|
|Gilmore Brown||head||45||single||North Dakota||Illinois||Massachusetts||Director & Actor, theatre|
|Orville Brown||father||86||widow||Illinois||England||Massachusetts||manager, cigar store|
1914: Brown, Frank A. clk Gilmor Brown, r 109 N Pasadena av
1914: Brown, Gilmor, cigars & billiards, 83 N Fair Oaks av, r109 N. Pasadena av
1914: Brown, Orville A., h 109 N. Pasadena av
1915: Brown, Gilmor, billiards & cigars 83 N Fair Oaks av, h 72 Mary
1915: Brown, Orville A, mgr Gilmor Brown, r 72 Mary
1916: CIGARS AND TOBACCO: Brown, Gilmor 83 N Fair Oaks av
1917: Brown, Frank A, mgr Savoy Theatre, r 72 Mary
1917: Brown, Gilmor, cigars & billiards 83 N Fair Oaks av, r 72 Mary
1917: Brown, Orville A (Emma), clk, h 72 Mary
1918: Brown, Frank A (Archie L), mgr Savoy Theatre, h 80 S Allen av
1918: Brown, Gilmor, cigars & billiards 83 N Fair Oaks av, r 72 Mary
1918: Brown, Orville A. (Emma), h 72 Mary
1919: Brown, Frank A. (Archive L), mgr Savoy Theater, h 80 S allen av
1919: Brown, Gilmor, director Community Playhouse, h 205 S. Greenwood
1919: Brown, Orville A. (Emma), r 205 S. Greenwood av
1921: Brown, Frank A. (Virginia L.) auto opr Nold Furn Co., h 90 S. Allen av
1921: Brown, Gilmor, producing director Pasadena Community Playhouse Assn, h 251 S Fair Oaks av
1921: Brown, Orville A. (Emma L.), cigars 83 N Fair Oaks av, h 251 S Fair Oaks av
1928: Brown, Gilmor prod dir Community Playhouse Assn r 695 Herkimer
1929: Brown, Frank A. (Virginia) r695 Herkimer
1929: Brown, Gilmor, producing dir Pasadena Community Play House Assn r 695 Herkimer
1929: Brown, Orville A., cigars 39 S. El Molino av mgr Pasadena Community Play House Auto Park r 695 Herkimer
1930: Brown, Frank A. (Virginia) h 102 S. Allen
1930: Brown, Gilmor prod dir Pasadena Community Playhouse Assn r695 Herkimer
1931: Brown, Frank A. (Archie L.) h 102 S Allen av
1931: Brown, Gilmor producing dir Pasadena Community Playhouse Assn r 695 Herkimer
1932: Brown, Gilmor dir Pasadena Community Playhouse Assn r 695 Herkimer
1933: Brown, Gilmor dir Pasa Community Playhouse Assn r695 Herkimer
1934: Brown, Gilmor producing dir Pasa Community Playhouse Assn r 695 Herkimer
1935: Brown, Gilmor producing dir Pasa Community Playhouse Assn r 695 Herkimer
1936: Brown, Gilmor producing dir Pasa Community Playhouse Assn h 695 Herkimer
1937: Brown, Gilmor producing dir Pasadena Playhouse Assn h695 Herkimer
1938: Brown, Gilmor producing dir Pasadena Playhouse Assn h 695 Herkimer
1939: Brown, Gilmor producing dir Pasa Playhouse Assn h 695 Herkimer
1957: Brown, Gilmor pres-producing Pasadena Playhouse Assn h 391 S. Madison av
WWI Draft Registration Card
Pasadena, California - September 12, 1918
Name: George Gilmor Grown
Address: 205 S. Greenwood Ave, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Cal
Age: 34, born June 16, 1884
Occupation: Managing Director of Community Players
Employer: Ex Board Community Players
Address: Davey? 85 N. Oaks Pasadena, Los Angeles, Cal
Next of Kin: mother, Mrs. Emma Brown - 205 S. Greenwood Ave., Pasadena, L. Angeles, Cal
Description: tall, medium build, blue eyes, l. brown hair, no marks
S. S. Majestic from New York to Southampton - Aug 12, 1926
S. S. Bergenland, arriving in New York - 1926
Brown, Gilmor - age 36, single
Born: New Salem, North Dakota - June 16, 1890
Address: 251 S. Fan Oaks, Pasadena
(he traveled with the following three men, all actors)
Maurice Wells - 22, single, b Aug 9, 1903 in Schuyler, Nebraksa - 765 S. Los Robles, Pasadena
William Reis - 38, single, b Jun 8, 1888 in Newcastle, PA - 1240 Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena
King Kennedy - 22, single, b Dec 1, 1903 in Kokomo, Ind - 702 Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills
S. S. Majestic from Cherbourg to New York - September 2-8, 1931
Brown, George Gilmor - age 40, single
Born: June 16, 1890 in New Salem, Dakota
Address: 695 Hukiner St., Pasadena, Cal.
Brown, Orville Alonza - age 85, married
Born: October 24, 1846 in Georgetown, Illinois
Address: 695 Hukiner St., Pasadena, Cal.
S. S. Normandie from Southampton to New York - September 19-24, 1935
Brown, G. Gilmor - 45, single
Born: June 16, 1890 in New Salem, N. Dak
Address: 695 Herkimer, Pasadena, Cal
S. S. Europa from Cherbourg to New York - September 22-27, 1937
Brown, Gilmor - age 47, single
Born: June 16, 1890 in New Salem, N. Dac.
695 Herkimes Str., Pasadena, Cal.
S. S. Queen Mary from Southampton to New York - September 30, 1948 (arrived)
Brown, Gilmor - age 48, single
Address: 420 South Meredith, Pasadena, Cal
Born: N. Dak.
S. S. Queen Mary from Cherbourg to New York - September 22-27, 1950
Brown, Gilmor G. - age 50, single
Address: 695 Herkimer St., Pasadena
Born: N. Dak.
S. S. United States from LeHavre to New York - September 24-28, 1953
Brown, George Gilmor
Address: 420 S. Meridith, Pasadena, California
Pasadena Independent (Pasadena, California) - January 12, 1960
Playhouse Father Dies at Resort
Gilmor Brown, Emeritus Head, Succumbs After Heart Attack
Gilmor Brown, founder and president emeritus of the Pasadena Playhouse, died of a heart attack early yesterday morning in Palm Springs. Brown was visiting in the desert resort home of William E. Reis when he collapsed. He was treated by a local physician but died shortly after Sunday midnight.
The exact age of the theatrical personality was not known. Brown was one of the few men who kept his name out of public records, including Who's Who. Associates thought him to be about 80.
Brown made his home here at 391 S. Madison Ave. Funeral arrangements have not been announced. Brown was born near New Salem, ND. He first took part in amateur theatrical work in Denver, Colo.
After high school Brown studied theatrical arts in Chicago, toured with several acting companies and eventually formed his own repertory company. His father, mother, brother and sister-in-law took part in the productions.
The family arrived in Pasadena with a troupe of actors known as the Savoy Players in 1916. In 1918 Brown founded the Pasadena Community Playhouse Assn. Six years later he started his famous Playbox Theater.
Once the Playhouse was established, Brown urged the governing board to allow him to establish a College of Theatre Arts with the Playhouse. This was done in 1925. In order to give students acting experience the Balcony Theaters were created.
Brown played many roles on the stage in his lifetime. Three of these attracted great attention. These were his Falstaff in "The Merry Wives of Windsor;" the characterization of Tiberius in the first production of Eugene O'Neill's "Lazarus Laughed;" and the role of Vershinin in "The Armored Train."
Brown created the Midsummer Drama Festivals at the Playhouse and was responsible for the One-Act Play Tournament staged at the local theater.
He had membership in numerous theatrical groups and authored a textbook on play direction and four stage plays. He had been decorated by the French government.
In 1926 Brown received the Arthur Noble gold medal award as Pasadena's "most useful citizen." Under Brown's direction the Pasadena Playhouse is the only American theater to produce all of Shakespeare's plays. Brown produced more than 3,000 theatrical events including 175 world premieres.