King Baggot (born November 7, 1879 - died July 11, 1948) was an American motion picture pioneer actor, screenwriter and director.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he went to New York City with the intention of becoming a Broadway actor. In nearby Fort Lee, New Jersey he began a film career in 1909 as an actor in silent films with Carl Laemmle at his IMP Studios. Within two years he began writing scripts and directing, all the while becoming a major star in the U.S., Great Britain and in Europe. At a time when actors worked anonymously, Baggot and actress Florence Lawrence became the first "film stars" to be given billing, a marquis, and to be promoted in advertising.
In his 1914 two-reel film, Shadows, Baggot both directed as well as played the part of ten different characters. As a director, he gave Marie Prevost her first starring role in the 1922 romantic comedy Kissed. He also directed William S. Hart in his most famous Western film, Tumbleweeds. Problems with certain studio executives and the advent of sound in film eventually ended his directing career and he turned to character acting roles in the 1930s and 1940s. Over his career, Baggot participated in close to three hundred motion picture projects.
King Baggot died in Los Angeles in 1948 and was interred there in the Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles. He has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6312 Hollywood Blvd. In 2002, librarian/author Sally A. Dumaux told his story in a book titled: King Baggot: A Biography and Filmography of the First King of the Movies.
His son, King Baggot, Jr. is a successful Hollywood cinematographer.