Dustin Lancy Farnum (May 27, 1874 – July 3, 1929) was an American singer, dancer, and actor on the stage and in silent films. Although he played a wide variety of roles, he tended toward westerns and became one of the biggest stars of the genre.
He was born the eldest of three boys on May 27, 1874 in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, the older brother of actor William Farnum, whom he closely resembled, and the lesser known silent film director Marshall Farnum (died 1917). He married Mary Cromwell in 1909 and they divorced in 1924. He then married Winifred Kingston. Winifred Kingston and he were the parents of radio actress Estelle “Dustine” Runyon (1925–1983). After great success in a number of stage roles, Farnum landed his first film role in 1914 in the movie Soldiers of Fortune, and later in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Squaw Man.
He died of kidney failure on July 3, 1929 at Post Graduate Hospital in Manhattan, aged 55.
According to an interview in the April 1975 edition of Playboy, Dustin Hoffman was named after Farnum. Additionally, according to an interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR, on January 16, 2013, Dustin says his parents were expecting him to be a girl and did not have a boy’s name picked out for him. When his mother did have another boy, and was pressured to give him a name, she picked the name Dustin from a magazine the other lady in her room was reading, which featured Dustin Farnum on the cover.
Actor Dustin Farnum – Wikipedia