Lew Cody, Silent Movie Actor
Feb. 22, 1884 – May 31, 1934
Lew Cody is the stage name for Louis J. Cote, who was born in Waterville, Maine, and brought up in Berlin. He was a famous silent movie actor during the 1920,’s but also adapted well to acting in “talkies” in the early 1930’s. Lew Cody was the son of Louis Cote, Sr., who was a prominent pharmacist and business man in Berlin for 35 years. Louis Cote, Sr. built the Cote Block on Main Street in 1904 and was Berlin’s largest individual tax payer when he died in 1919.
The following story of Lew Cody was written by his sister, Cecile Cote, for the 1935 edition of the Berlin High School yearbook.
Lew Cody was born Louis J. Cote in Waterville, ME. His early ambition was to become a physician, and he studied at McGill University in Montreal. Finding that amateur theatricals interested him deeply, he put medicine aside and attended the Stanhope Wheatcroft School of Dramatic Art. There, he worked hard and served a novitiate of one-night stands, experiencing all the heartbreaks of a small-time actor.Gaining experience and a certain amount of approbation, he entered vaudeville, and then toured in stock companies, later entering the silent motion pictures. In his roles, he portrayed the suave villain of society and adventure, attaining considerable popularity. Being a skilled actor, wise in the tricks of the silent screen, he quickly adapted himself to the technique of talking pictures.
The pictures for which he is particularly remembered are: Klondike; Madison Square Garden; Wine, Women, and Song; the Sign on the Door; His Secretary, The Valley of Silent Men; The Gay Deceiver; Monte Carlo; 70,000 Witnesses; What a Widow; X Marks the Spot;, and Shoot the Works.
Lew was famous, in Hollywood, for his corned beef and cabbage dinners at which he entertained many movie celebrities. The “piece de resistance” of the dinner, conceived by the host who loved a “gag”, was the final course. James Glenn, who had been Lew’s butler so long that he called himself James Cody, always passed the bicarbonate of soda.