John Gilbert (born John Cecil Pringle; July 10, 1897 – January 9, 1936) was an American actor, screenwriter and director. He rose to fame during the silent film era and became a popular leading man known as "The Great Lover". At the height of his career, Gilbert rivaled Rudolph Valentino, another silent film era leading man, as a box office draw. Gilbert's popularity began to wane when silent pictures gave way to talkies. Though Gilbert was often cited as one of the high-profile examples of an actor who was unsuccessful in making the transition to talkies, his decline as a star had far more to do with studio politics and money than with the sound of his screen voice, which was rich and distinctive.