May 11, 1909: Wheeling Filmmaker Ellis Dungan Born in Ohio


Wheeling filmmaker Ellis Dungan was born on May 11, 1909, in nearby Barton, Ohio. He eventually hitchhiked across the United States several times, studied photography in Paris, and attended the University of Southern California’s film school. Dungan got his first job as a studio director in India, where he spent 15 years as a cameraman, editor, director, and production person. He returned to Hollywood in 1950 and then traveled back and forth to India to film action scenes for several mainstream movies. Ellis Dungan moved to Wheeling in 1958. Over the next 30 years, his company shot documentary films and produced movies for the state and region, including Wheels to Progress as well as For Liberty and Union about the West Virginia statehood movement. His last film was Josiah Fox—Architect of the United States’ First Navy, a tribute to his great-great-grandfather, who helped design the USS Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides.”

Ellis Dungan was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the West Virginia International Film Festival and inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame. He died in neighboring Bellaire, Ohio, in 2002, at age 92.