Allan Dwan was a pioneering Canadian-born American motion picture director, producer and screenwriter.
Born Joseph Aloysius Dwan in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, his family moved to the United States when he was 11 years old. At the University of Notre Dame, he trained as an engineer and began working for a lighting company in Chicago. However, he had a strong interest in the fledgling motion picture industry and when Essanay Studios offered him the opportunity to become a scriptwriter, he took the job. At that time, some of the East Coast movie makers began to spend winters in California where the climate allowed them to continue productions requiring warm weather. Soon, a number of movie companies worked there year-round and, in 1911, Dwan began working part time in Hollywood. While still in New York, in 1917 he was the founding president of the East Coast chapter of the Motion Picture Directors Association.
After making a series of westerns and comedies, Dwan directed fellow Canadian Mary Pickford in several very successful movies as well as her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, notably in the acclaimed 1922 Robin Hood.
Following the introduction of the talkies, in 1937 he directed child-star Shirley Temple in Heidi and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm the following year.