Fred Kohler



  • Birth Name: Fredrick L. Kohler
  • Height: 6' (1.83 m)


Prolific “heavy” in American films of the silent and early talkie eras. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Kohler left home as a teenager, working various jobs while trying to establish a career in vaudeville. During this time, according to his son, actor Fred Kohler Jr., Kohler worked in a mine and lost part of his right hand in a dynamite accident. Eventually he fell in with a touring theatrical company and worked onstage around the U.S. for several years. In his mid-twenties, he ended up in California and found roles in silent films. He quickly found a niche as a villain, by virtue of his imposing size and his fearsome features, typically and most memorably in The Iron Horse (1924). He worked primarily in Westerns, but films of all sorts benefitted from his skill at screen nastiness. In a series of silent Paramount Westerns based on Zane Grey novels, Kohler not only played the heavy, but also repeated some of the roles when these films were remade as talkies a decade later. His career lasted without let-up until his sudden death from a heart attack at 50 in 1938.