Francis Xavier Bushman was an American actor, film director, and screenwriter. His matinee idol career started in 1911 in the silent film His Friend's Wife, but it did not survive the silent screen era.
Bushman, like many of his contemporaries, broke into the film business via the stage. He was performing at Broncho Billy Anderson's Essanay Studios in Chicago, Illinois, where he was first noticed for his muscular, sculpted frame. He appeared in nearly 200 feature film roles—more than 175 films before 1920, and 17 in his screen debut year of 1911 alone. He also worked for the Vitagraph studio before signing with Metro in 1915.
Bushman was born in Baltimore, Maryland. As a young man Bushman joined the Maryland Athletic Club and began a body building regiman that developed his muscular physique. He cited Sandow as one of his body building influences. In New York, he worked as a sculptor's model often posing in the nude in sessions.
In 1902, Bushman married seamstress Josephine Fladune. By the launch of his film career, the couple had five children. In 1918, Bushman was the subject of a national scandal as his affair with longtime costar Beverly Bayne became public. Three days after his divorce with Josephine was final, Bushman and Bayne were married; they would eventually have a son. Bushman and his studios had kept his marriage secret for fear of losing popularity. He was married four times.