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Fairbanks Gunga Din.png

A superb studio character study of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., (December 9, 1909 – May 7, 2000) costumed for his role as Sergeant Tommy Ballantine in the 1939 RKO Radio pictures classic Gunga Din.


This photograph was composed and taken by one of the truly great Hollywood photographers Ernest A. Bachrach who headed up RKO's photography department from its inception in 1929 until his retirement in the late 1950s. Before that Bachrach worked as Gloria Swanson's personal photographer.

Photographs such as this are the high watermark of Hollywood studio photography.

In addition to the acting - a pastime inherited from his namesake father Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., served in the United States Navy during World War II, seeing duty as an officer on PT boats in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. For his wartime services, he was awarded the Silver Star and the Legion of Merit with the V device for valour in combat. He was also awarded the British Distinguished Service Cross, the French Legion of Honor, and Croix de Guerre with Palm. In 1949 he was created an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.


Fairbanks retired from the U. S. Navy Reserve with the rank of captain in 1954.

Black and White Character Study
8 inches by 10 inches (28cm x 18cm)
Ernest A. Bachrach - Photographer
RKO Radio Pictures
United States

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