The famous and opulent cowboy was one of the first great stars of the motion picture western. was the hero of the Westerns (1). For his contribution to the motion picture industry he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame . (2)
The Westporter Herald in reran 1917 reran an article from The Bridgeport Post on Hart titled
OOH, SKINNY! BILL HART MAY BE OUR NEIGHBOR PRETTY SOON.
William S. Hart, who dashes to the rescue of the girl held by bandits, and, single handed, routs the whole lot of them, likes this neighborhood. He has just added 65 acres to his large realty holding in Westport. Westport folks are wondering whether he will entertain them someday soon by filming one of his Wild West pictures in their peaceful little town.
The ‘ooh skinny’, an unclear reference, probably refers to the horse Hart is pictured with that accompanies the article.
The Los Angeles Examiner of Monday, June 24, 1946 reported:
Death of William S. Hart last night ended one of the most fabulous and colorful careers in motion picture history.
Hart once made as much as $30,000 per week ( $520,000 today) and paid an income tax of $1,500,000 (31 million) for a two year period.
He retired in 1925, apparently piqued at studio heads, and never essayed a comeback although his fan mail was so heavy he once confided to a friend it cost him $15,000 ( $304,000) a year to answer it.
Hart’s memorable film efforts included “Wild Bill Hickok,” “The Tiger Man,” “Wagon Tracks,” “Sand” and “The Narrow Trail.” His famous horses, Paint and later Fritz, who died in 1938, shared the honors and were often part of the final scene when Hart delighted his youthful audiences by kissing the horse—and holding the heroine’s hand.
In late years, Hart had been ill frequently and appeared subject to fits of melancholy since the death of his spinster sister, Mary.
Mary willed $150,000 for an animal shelter in Westport, Conn., upon her death and an additional $100,000 for a William S. Hart Memorial in Newhall.