Lloyd Francis Bacon (December 4, 1889 – November 15, 1955) was an American screen, stage and vaudeville actor and film director.
As a director he made films in virtually all genres—westerns, musicals, comedies, gangster films, crime dramas—and was one of the directors at Warner Bros. in the 1930s who helped give that studio its reputation for gritty, fast-paced “torn from the headlines” action films.
Bacon was born in San Jose, California, the son of actor Frank Bacon, later the co-author and star of the long-running Broadway show Lightnin’ (1918), and Jennie (Weidman) Bacon (he was not, contrary to some accounts, related to actor Irving Bacon, although he did direct him in a number of his films).
Bacon attended Santa Clara University, and would later include highlights from the Bronco Football program in the end of his famous film, Knute Rockne, All American.
Bacon started in films as an actor with Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy Anderson and appeared in more than 40 total. As an actor he is best known for supporting Chaplin in such films as 1915’s The Tramp, The Champion and 1917’s Easy Street.
He later became a director and directed over 100 films between 1920 and 1955.
He is best known as director of such classics as 1933’s 42nd Street and Footlight Parade, 1937’s Ever Since Eve (from a screenplay by playwright Lawrence Riley et al.), 1938’s A Slight Case of Murder with Edward G. Robinson, 1939’s Invisible Stripes with George Raft and Humphrey Bogart, 1939’s The Oklahoma Kid with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, 1940’s Knute Rockne, All American with Pat O’Brien and Ronald Reagan (as “the Gipper”), 1943’s Action in the North Atlantic, and 1944’s The Fighting Sullivans with Anne Baxter and Thomas Mitchell.
He also directed Wake Up and Dream (1946).
Bacon died on November 15, 1955 of a cerebral hemorrhage. At the time of his death, he was survived by his two ex-wives, son Frank (1937–2009) and daughter, Betsey.