Barry Norton (born Alfredo Carlos Birabén; June 16, 1905 – August 24, 1956) was an Argentine-American actor. He appeared in over 90 films, starting in silent films from 1925 until his death in 1956. He is perhaps best known for his role as Juan Harker in Universal Pictures' Spanish-language version of Drácula in 1931, the English language role of Jonathan Harker originated by David Manners.
Arriving in Hollywood in the 1920s, Norton first appeared as an extra in The Black Pirate (1926) but was soon cast in Fox Films' The Lily that same year. His big break came when he was given the role of Pvt. "Mother's Boy" Lewisohn in What Price Glory?, which turned out to be a huge commercial success. He landed substantial roles in Legion of the Condemned and 4 Devils (both 1928), which were also very successful. His acting was well-received by audiences and critics at the time, and, during the silent era, he avoided being typecast as a Latin lover. One theater owner in Golden City, Montana, said, "[Norton] has as yet to show me a bad performance. There's a boy that is a 'natural'."In the early 1930s, Norton could still get leading roles in major films. Major Hollywood studios started producing alternate-language versions of their prestige productions, and he became one of dozens of Latino actors needed. Drácula was one of these films, but Norton also appeared in Spanish-language versions of Paramount on Parade (1930), The Benson Murder Case (1930), and The Criminal Code (1931). In a few cases, he appeared in both versions of a film. Examples include Storm Over the Andes (Spanish version: Alas sobre El Chaco), The Sea Fiend (El diablo del Mar), and Captain Calamity (El capitan Tormenta), the latter film reuniting him with Lupita Tovar, his romantic interest from Dracula.In addition to roles in Spanish-territory films, he had roles in numerous major films, usually playing sophisticated Europeans. With the decline in Spanish-language film production in Los Angeles, Norton's opportunities for leading roles became less and less frequent. Though he had a pleasing voice, his Argentine accent seemed incongruous with his appearance. According to some sources, he never mastered English very well. In 1933, he secured what would be his last important role, playing Jean Parker's Spanish fiancé in Frank Capra's Lady for a Day (1933). Although he would continue to work for another 15 years, Norton's last credited screen role would be Should Husbands Work? (1939). For the rest of his career, Norton continued to reside in Los Angeles and obtain small roles in films. Many films he appeared in are now considered to be classics.
Norton was married to Josephine Byers, a woman from California by whom he had a daughter, Sharon, and two grandchildren. In her autobiography Being and Becoming, actress Myrna Loy wrote that she briefly dated Norton. Other sources link him romantically with Dorothy Dare and Alice Terry. In the latter's case, they appear to have been friends rather than lovers.
Norton was born to an affluent family in Buenos Aires on June 16, 1905. His birth name was Alfredo Carlos Birabén. In 1923, he emigrated to the United States as a second cabin class passenger under the name of Carlos Manuel A. Biraben on the S/S Vestris, which had sailed from Buenos Aires, 12 March, and arrived at the Port of New York on 1 April 1923. Years later, he became a naturalized United States citizen.
Movies & TV shows
Around the World in Eighty Days
Based on the famous book by Jules Verne the movie follows Phileas Fogg on his journey around the world. Which has to be completed within 80 days, a very short period for those days.
A wealthy woman discovers a vineyard worker with a beautiful operatic singing voice. She helps make him a star, but breaks his heart. He flees in misery to Mexico where he meets a sweet farm girl.
The Jazz Singer
As Jerry Golding scales the heights of show business, he breaks the heart of his father, who'd hoped that Jerry would follow in his footsteps. Sorrowfully, Cantor Golding reads the Kaddish service, in...
Small Town Girl
Rick Belrow Livingston, in love with Broadway star Lisa, is sentenced to 30 days in jail for speeding through a small town. He persuades the judge's daughter Cindy to let him leave for one night, so t...
Trouble Along the Way
Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying to bring bac...
Young Man with Ideas
A Montana lawyer (Glenn Ford) gets distracted after moving to California with his wife (Ruth Roman) and children.
Something to Live For
An alcoholic actress is aided by a married AA member with whom she is having an affair.
Room for One More
Anne and "Poppy" Rose have three quirky kids. Anne has a generous heart and the belief in the innocence of children. To the unhappy surprise of her husband she takes in the orphan Jane, a problem chil...
A producer takes over a small film studio and - sensing that it'll be a good movie- begins investigating an old murder of a silent film star shot in his office years ago. He finds that his life is thr...
Astronauts blast off to explore the moon on Rocketship X-M or "Rocketship eXploration Moon". A spacecraft malfunction and some fuel miscalculations cause them to end up landing on Mars. On Mars, evide...
Treasury Department officials recruit a florist (Raft) to lead them to a wanted criminal (Macready); but once he gets too close, he finds he's the hunted.
The Gal Who Took the West
In order to gain passage to the West, a woman poses as an opera singer, and causes a feud between two cousins.
An Innocent Affair
Vincent Doane is in the precarious position of trying to close an advertising account with his rich ex-fiancée. Unfortunately she is more interested in him than in business. Vincent's wife Paula gets ...
Henri Verdoux is the subject of a film about his methods for attaining income. Verdoux has been laid off because he was both loyal and competent in his work. He married wealthy widows and then killed ...
Twilight on the Rio Grande
Gene and Pokie are on vacation in Mexico when they learn that their buddy Dusty has been bumped off.
A schooner disappears at sea without a trace. Years later, evidence of possible survivors prompts the mother of the schooner's mate Jose to hire a tuna boat to investigate. They discover the lad livin...
Mission to Moscow
Ambassador Joseph Davies is sent by FDR to Russia to learn about the Soviet system and returns to America as an advocate of Stalinism.
A honeymooning couple in Europe is asked to spy on the Nazis for the British intelligence in pre-war Europe. Initially finding the mission fun the trail gets them in real danger soon.
In December 1941, an American expatriate and a former lover meet in Casablanca, Morocco.
You Were Never Lovelier
An Argentine heiress thinks a penniless American dancer is her secret admirer.
Blue, White, and Perfect
In order to win back his girlfriend, Mike Shayne promises to give up his detective practice and get a job as riveter in an aircraft plant. He quickly finds himself investigating the theft of industria...
The Falcon Takes Over
While an escaped convict, Moose Malloy, goes in search of his ex-girlfriend Velma, police inspector Michael O'Hara attempts to track him assuming him to be a prime suspect for a number of mishaps.
Hold That Ghost
Two bumbling service station attendants are left as the sole beneficiaries in a gangster's will. Their trip to claim their fortune is sidetracked when they are stranded in a haunted house along with s...
Discovery by Flo Ziegfeld changes a girl's life but not necessarily for the better, as three beautiful women find out when they join the spectacle on Broadway: Susan, the singer who must leave behind ...
Tom, Dick and Harry
Janie is a telephone operator who is caught up in the lines of love of three men: car salesman Tom, Chicago millionaire Dick and auto mechanic Harry. But Janie just can't seem to make up her mind betw...
The Lady Eve
It's no accident when wealthy Charles falls for Jean. Jean is a con artist with her sights set on Charles' fortune. Matters complicate when Jean starts falling for her mark. When Charles suspects Jean...
The Mexican Spitfire's Baby
An advertising executive and his temperamental wife adopt a war orphan who turns out to be a beautiful woman.
Mexican Spitfire Out West
Dennis heads west to work on an important business deal minus the Mexican Spitfire, Carmelita. His hot-tempered spouse decides to surprise him, but ends up as the surprised one when she sees him with ...
Down Argentine Way
An American girl on vacation in Argentina falls for a wealthy racehorse owner.
Dance, Girl, Dance
Judy O'Brien is an aspiring ballerina in a dance troupe. Also in the company is Bubbles, a brash mantrap who leaves the struggling troupe for a career in burlesque. When the company disbands, Bubbles ...
Angel of Mercy
This MGM Passing Parade series short tells the story of Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross.
Should Husbands Work?
A Higgins Family comedy
Studio publicist discovers Minnesota skating teacher and takes her to Hollywood. She goes back to Minnesota but he follows her.
I'll Take Romance
Theater manager James Guthrie's (Melvyn Douglas) career depends on famed soprano Elsa Terry (Grace Moore) singing in his Buenos Aires opera house, however, Elsa breaks the contract in favor of a more ...
A secretary finds herself being romanced by a "ladies man". What she doesn't know is that it's her boss who really loves her.
Murder at Glen Athol
A famous detective is invited to a swanky party at an elegant mansion, but before the night is over he finds himself involved with gangsters, blackmail and murde
The gray morning after 1847 Paris is as unforgiving as the spirited life of the year before. In gambling dens and lavish soirees, men of means exert their wills and women of means enjoy themselves. On...
A South Seas skipper fights off thieves and pirates who are after a lost treasure.
Ann Grey is wrongly convicted of murder. On her way to prison a car accident gives her the opportunity to escape. She is helped by young lawyer Tony Baxter. He hides her from the police, as well as hi...
Imitation of Life
A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter. The two women start a successful business but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.
A countess marries a Gypsy fiddler instead of a baron's son at harvest time in Tokay wine country, Hungary.
Based on an AJ Cronin novel, a disgraced doctor exiled to the Canary Islands, meets and falls in love with a married woman.
An unprincipled hustler who makes his living getting--or making up--evidence in divorce cases finds that he's framing his own daughter.
This drama offers a few slices from the lives of those who live, work, and travel upon a luxurious trans-atlantic ocean liner.
On the back of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, a young business man is about to commit suicide. With the note to his wife scribbled down and a gun in his hand, he notices a thick envelope addressed to ...
Cynthia Warren, independently wealthy through her ability as an illustrator and poster artist, rebels against the premise that every woman is destined for matrimony and motherhood, and decides she has...
Lady for a Day
Never-wed, poor, rough around the edges Apple Annie has always written to her daughter, Louise, in Spain that she is married and a member of New York's high society. Upon receiving unexpected word fro...
The Austrian Secret Service sends its most seductive agent to spy on the Russians.
In the early days of sound, it was common for Hollywood studios to make foreign-language versions of their movies using the same sets, costumes and etc. Most of these foreign language versions are no ...
The Red Dance
Tasia (Dolores del Río), a beautiful dancer lower class of Russia, falls heir to the throne Prince, Grand Duke Eugene (Charles Farrell), but only admired from a distance. At the outbreak of the Russia...
The film historian and collector is William K. Mary Duncan lost the print that she borrowed from Fox Studios, according to Everson. He explained in the December 1974 issue of "Films in Review" that on...
The Legion of the Condemned
Finding his sweetheart, Christine, in the arms of a German officer, Price joins the French Air Legion. Christine is later revealed to be the spy whom Price has been ordered to drop behind enemy lines....
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.
Nora, a department store clerk, is determined to succeed on the basis of her brain power despite her attractive ankles. She gets a job as model at the shop of McGuire and Goldberg, and they announce t...
The Heart of Salome
1927 picture starring Alma Rubens and Walter Pidgeon.
A Man About Town
A comedy short film directed by George Marshall.
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