Joseph Santley was an American actor, singer, dancer, writer, director, and producer of musical theatrical plays and motion pictures.
Born Joseph Mansfield in Salt Lake City, Utah, he adopted the stage name of his stepfather, actor Eugene Santley. As a boy, he and older brother Fred began performing in live theatre appearing in summer stock and touring with their parents. In 1906, at age seventeen, Joseph Santley co-wrote and starred on Broadway in the play, Billy the Kid. In 1907, he acted in film for the first time for Sidney Olcott at the Kalem Company in a silent Western film short called Pony Express.
Santley continued to work almost exclusively in musical comedy plays, returning to Broadway five more times as well as touring nationally. A gifted dancer, Santley created the Santley Tango and the Hawaiian Butterfly. After he married actress/singer and cabaret dancer Ivy Sawyer, beginning in 1916 the two danced as a team, performing together in a number of Broadway musicals beginning with “Betty” and “Oh, My Dear!” and eventually other productions at major venues across the United States such as the National Theatre in Washington, D.C..