Fox Brothers: Finis, Jay (Edwin Carewe), and Wallace
The three Fox brothers influenced film making for over fifty years. They were actors as well as prolific writers of screenplays and stories. They also directed and produced movies and television shows. Edwin and Finis worked primarily in the silent film industry but Wallace produced and directed movies and television shows until his death in 1958. Collectively, the three brothers wrote 50 films, directed 153, produced 33, acted in 37, assisted in directing 14, managed the production of two, and had miscellaneous roles in three. They occasionally collaborated.
Parents: Frank Marion Fox and Sarah Priddy (Chickasaw)
Frank Marion Fox was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. He grew up in Texas and was educated at Weatherford and Bryan, Texas. At the age of 14 he joined the 5th Texas Calvary and served four years in the Civil War participating in the battle of Galveston and all principal battles in Louisiana. He was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Yellow Bayou after which he was held in New Orleans for two months before he was exchanged.
After the war, at 18, he entered the mercantile business in Bryan, Texas where he worked for two years until his appointment as a government agent at Fort Griffin, Texas. A year later he went to Indianapolis, Indiana. He stayed there for about a year before moving in 1870 to Stringtown in Indian Territory and began farming in the vicinity of Atoka, Oklahoma. In 1872 he married Sarah J. Priddy, the daughter of Col. Joseph Priddy, who settled in the area in 1848. They lived in Stonewall in the Chickasaw Nation where he began a cattle business. Sarah’s father was Caucasian and her mother was one-sixteenth Chickasaw. Sarah was educated at Stark College in Paris, Texas.
Six months after the marriage, Frank and Sarah moved to the end of the line of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad (MK&T RR/Katy) where he again set up a mercantile business. He remained in the Caddo, Oklahoma area for over 12 years before moving to Purcell, Oklahoma in May, 1887 where he opened the town’s first merchandise broker’s office. He developed the town by building rental property and built his residence on the west side of Main Street. In 1883 he improved 5,000 acres of farm land where Ardmore, Oklahoma now stands.
Fox was one of the owners and procured the charter for the Ardmore Coal Co. mines which covered an area of 4,000 acres of coal lands. He was chairman of the National Progressive Convention held at Purcell in the summer of 1890.
They were living in Gainesville, Texas in 1883 when their second son was born. The Gainesville, Cooke County Texas, Register of November 1929, quoted Edward Carewe (Jay Fox) as saying his parents “Frank Marion Fox and Sarah Priddy, who were both dead, had been in business in Gainesville for a number of years before moving to the Indian Territory where Frank practiced law, living in Ardmore where he remained for the rest of his life.”
Frank and Sarah had three sons: F. Finis, Jay J. (Edwin Carewe), and Wallace.
F. Finis Fox (Chickasaw)
There is a discrepancy in Finis’
birth year. The official movie studio
biography gives his birth year as 1881. Who’s Who in Oklahoma 1935 shows
it as 1882 and the Internet Movie Database (Imdb) shows 1884. Based on census records, he was born on
October 8, 1881 in Caddo,
Finis was educated in private schools in Purcell, Oklahoma and in Corpus Christi, Texas. He attended Arkadelphia Methodist College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the Polytechnic College in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Ft. Worth University. He served as a private in the Spanish American War and later lived in Oklahoma City where he worked as a newspaper editor for the Daily Oklahoman.
A 1906 photo identifies Fox as a Col. Asst. Adj. General in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Oklahoma Division and on the staff of General Stephen D. Lee. When he was 20 he was elected to the Chickasaw Legislature and served several terms. He began his career as a scenario writer in 1910.
An article in the Kingfisher Free
Beginning in 1910 Finis joined his brother Edwin Carewe (Jay Fox) in Hollywood and began writing scenarios for silent movie stars such as Mabel Taliaferro, Harold Lockwood, Bert Lytell, and Bessie Love. He wrote the popular 1920 version of Alias Jimmy Valentine and became a director of low-budget films. Late in his career he returned to screenwriting and penned Ramona (1928) and Evangeline (1929) for Dolores Del Rio. Both films were directed by his brother Edwin.
During his twenty productive years
Jay J. Fox/Edwin Carewe (Chickasaw)
Jay J. Fox was born on
As a young boy, he became interested
in the theater watching traveling medicine shows. He studied at the universities of Texas and
Missouri and worked with regional theatrical groups. In 1910 he joined the Dearborn Stock Company
in New York. In 1912 he changed his name
to Edwin Carewe by combining the first name from Edwin Booth and the last name
from the character he was portraying. He
launched his film career in 1912 as an actor with the Lubin Company of
From 1915 into the 1930’s he directed over forty feature films, including Resurrection (1927), Ramona (1928), Evangeline (1929), and The Spoilers (1930). He is credited with discovering Gary Cooper, Delores Del Rio, Warner Baxter, Wallace Beery, and Francis X. Bushman. His brother, Finis, wrote may of the stories and scenarios for Edwin’s films and his daughter, actress Rita Carewe, appeared in several.
Carewe directed films for all the
major studies and at one time had his own movie lot, Tec-Art, on
Carewe enjoyed financial success with his silent films but was not able to translate that success to sound. In the 1930’s he produced sound remakes of his successful silent pictures and later low-budget and religions films. His last feature was Are We Civilized? (1934) which he self-produced in an effort to make a comeback.
In April, 1932, Carewe was charged with income tax evasion in the amount of $108,547.20 covering the period from 1926 to 1929. The dispute with the Treasury Department was over profits from a picture produced abroad, featuring Dolores Del Rio. He was indicted and released on bond.
Carewe married Mary Jane Mason in
and Mary had two children: Sally Ann (b.
1925) and William Edwin (b. 1927). They
were still married at the time of the 1930 Census and were living at
Edwin Carewe (Jay Fox) died from a
heart ailment in his
Wallace W. Fox (Chickasaw)
Wallace was the third child of Frank Marion and
Sarah Priddy Fox and brother to Edwin Cawere (Jay J. Fox) and F. Finis
Fox. He was born March 9, 1985 in
Wallace worked as a movie property man in 1919 and apprenticed with Edwin as an assistant director. His first film as a director was a silent movie in 1927, The Bandit’s Son and he is best known for his “poverty row” output. Wallace was the chief production aid on Evangeline—working with his brothers: Edwin as Producer/Directo; and Finis as the writer.
When the talkie era arrived, he was hired for his willingness to adhere to schedules and budgetand from 1927 until his death in 1958, he directed 89 movies and television shows. His primary genre was western and action—movies featuring The Cisco Kid, The Gene Autry Show (1951-1953), Annie Oakley (1954), The Range Rider (1952), Pride of the Plains (1944), The Mexicali Kid (1938)—but he was the associate director for fourteen films such as The Last of the Mohicans (1936) and production manager for thirteen films including Little Women (1933). He wrote screenplays for six early talkies made in the 1930’s.
He worked with Bela Lugosi (Dracula, 1931), Lon Chaney, Jr., Clayton Moore, Frances Langford and many of the popular stars of the time. His career highlights include Career Girl (1944), Red Morning (1935), and Gunslingers (1950).
 Leaders and
Leading Men of the
American Publishers’ Association. 1891.
 Purcell Register.
 Purcell Register.
and Leading Men of the
 Who’s Who in Oklahoma 1935, p. 168
The Handbook of
The Handbook of