skip navigation
Ida Lupino

Ida Lupino

Up
Down

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (20)

Recent DVDs

On Dangerous Ground ... After the latest in a string of brutality complaints, dedicated but heavy-handed... more info $14.95was $17.99 Buy Now

Fight for Your Lady ... Wrestling manager Honest "Ham" Hamilton (Jack Oakie) is in hock up to his neck -... more info $18.95was $21.99 Buy Now

In Our Time ... Ida Lupino and Paul Henreid fall in love while Poland falls to the Nazis in this... more info $17.56was $21.99 Buy Now

Pillow to Post ... Ida Lupino could make a meal out of fiery dramas (They Drive by Night, High... more info $17.56was $21.99 Buy Now

Thank Your Lucky Stars ... The stars come out to play in the joyous World War ll-era Thank Your Lucky... more info $14.95was $21.99 Buy Now

Escape Me Never ... Errol Flynn, Ida Lupino, Eleanor Parker. Musician brothers struggle for... more info $18.95was $21.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died: August 3, 1995
Born: February 4, 1918 Cause of Death: complications from a stroke and colon cancer
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: director, actor, producer, screenwriter, composer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

of production, from script rewrites and budgeting to selecting the wardrobe. When director Elmer Clifton suffered a heart attack in preproduction, Lupino stepped in to take his place, calling the shots on set from the first day of shooting in February 1949.Because the then 31-year-old Lupino was not a member of the Director¿s Guild of America, she downplayed her own significance behind the camera of "Not Wanted," deferring for the record to the ailing Clifton, who retained official credit. Working quickly, Lupino shot the film guerilla style on the streets of Los Angeles to reduce the necessity for and the cost of building sets. Despite the freedom of working outside of the restrictive prevue of the studio system, the first-timer remained dependent on her investors, some of whom evinced conservative inclinations. When one backer objected to a scene in which heroine Sally Forrest shares a boarding house room with an African-American woman, Lupino grudgingly cut the offending footage ¿ but then included business featuring an Asian actress to spite her bigoted benefactor. Though she was not Hollywood¿s first female director it was still novel for a woman to be calling the shots on a feature film....

of production, from script rewrites and budgeting to selecting the wardrobe. When director Elmer Clifton suffered a heart attack in preproduction, Lupino stepped in to take his place, calling the shots on set from the first day of shooting in February 1949.

Because the then 31-year-old Lupino was not a member of the Director¿s Guild of America, she downplayed her own significance behind the camera of "Not Wanted," deferring for the record to the ailing Clifton, who retained official credit. Working quickly, Lupino shot the film guerilla style on the streets of Los Angeles to reduce the necessity for and the cost of building sets. Despite the freedom of working outside of the restrictive prevue of the studio system, the first-timer remained dependent on her investors, some of whom evinced conservative inclinations. When one backer objected to a scene in which heroine Sally Forrest shares a boarding house room with an African-American woman, Lupino grudgingly cut the offending footage ¿ but then included business featuring an Asian actress to spite her bigoted benefactor. Though she was not Hollywood¿s first female director it was still novel for a woman to be calling the shots on a feature film. Lupino¿s reputation spread quickly through the studios, with many A-list actresses demanding private screenings of "Not Wanted." Budgeted at just over $150,000, the film grossed over a million.

Retooling Emerald Pictures as The Filmmakers, Lupino and Young got back to business with "Never Fear" (1949), a drama concerned with a young dancer ankled by. Their next film, "Outrage" (1950), about the aftermath of a rape, was distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. Overseeing publicity and distribution, RKO head Howard Hughes gave the film an expensive push, complete with press junket and a splashy premiere preceded by a live stage show. Though Hughes¿ mishandling of RKO would soon bankrupt the studio, "Outrage" was one of its few moneymakers. Profits from The Filmmaker¿s next outing, the sports drama "Hard, Fast and Beautiful" (1951), disappeared due to RKO¿s creative bookkeeping. To keep her debts under control, Lupino continued to act, playing the blind sister of killer Robert Ryan in Nicholas Ray¿s "On Dangerous Ground" (1952).

Arguably Lupino¿s best-regarded film outside of "High Sierra," "The Hitch-Hiker" (1953) pitted fishing buddies Edmund O¿Brien and Frank Lovejoy against escaped killer William Tallman, who browbeats the married men for being soft while forcing them to drive deeper into Mexico. If her previous movies had allowed Lupino the opportunity to shore up the lopsided racial politics of Hollywood, "The Hitch-Hiker" gave her the chance to probe the fragile male psyche. She followed suit with the self-financed "The Bigamist" (1953), with O¿Brien as a businessman juggling wives in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Lupino appeared in the supporting role of O¿Brien¿s L.A. missus, while distribution was handled by The Filmmakers under their own aegis. Despite the apparent solidarity of forming their own distribution arm, Lupino and Collier Young had divorced in 1951. While Young had taken up with "Bigamist" co-star Joan Fontaine, Lupino sought solace in the arms of actor Howard Duff, to whom she would remain married for the next 30 years.

Over the course of the next two decades, Lupino continued to act sporadically in such films as "Women¿s Prison" (1955), "The Big Knife" (1955) and "While the City Sleeps" (1956). For "Private Hell 36" (1954), directed by Don Siegel for The Filmmakers, she shared a writing credit with ex-husband Young and co-starred with Duff. She also began directing episodic television for the networks. Helming multiple segments of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS, 1955-1962), "Have Gun, Will Travel" (CBS, 1957-1963), the anthology series "Thriller" (NBC, 1960-62) and Desilu Productions¿ "The Untouchables" (ABC, 1959-1963), she developed a reputation for understanding and anticipating the needs of actors. Lupino was famous for a punchy, unflinching directing style that was branded as masculine despite the fact that her aesthetic was in many ways a refutation of the patriarchal perspective. Paradoxically, Lupino¿s next opportunity to direct a feature came with the girls school comedy "The Trouble with Angels" (1966), starring Hayley Mills as a convent cut-up and Rosalind Russell as her autocratic Mother Superior.

Though she was finished in features by the end of the decade, the aging Lupino continued to work exhaustively in film and television. She had fun teaming with Duff as super-villain Dr. Cassandra in a 1968 episode of "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68) and played a vicious jailhouse screw in the TV movie "Women in Chains" (ABC, 1972). As her looks coarsened with age, she was cast in earthier roles than those suggesting refinement. She played the matriarch of an Arizona rodeo dynasty in Sam Peckinpah¿s "Junior Bonner" (1972), opposite Steve McQueen, and headed another Western clan that is literally bedeviled in Robert Fuest¿s "The Devil¿s Rain" (1976), which featured a young John Travolta in a bit role. In Bert Gordon¿s ignoble "Food of the Gods" (1976), Lupino played an ill-starred farmer¿s wife whose use of goopy space stuff as chicken feed dooms her to a messy demise in the jaws of a giant rat. Her final film role was as another villain, the mastermind of an armored car heist carried out by teenagers, in "My Boys are Good Boys" (1978), executive produced by co-star Ralph Meeker.

Divorced from Duff in 1984, Lupino moved from fashionable Brentwood to the more affordable San Fernando Valley on the far side of the Hollywood Hills. Struggling with long-term alcoholism, she grew reclusive in retirement, estranging herself even from her adult daughter. Duff¿s death in July 1990 hit the former actress hard and her final years were marked by bouts of depression and assorted illnesses, among them a mental deterioration that had first manifested itself as a difficulty remembering her lines on the sets of television shows. Diagnosed with cancer, she suffered a debilitating stroke in 1995 and died in her Burbank home on August 3rd of that year, at the age of 77. Cruelly coincident with Lupino¿s passing was a burgeoning renewal of public interest in her feature film work and her championing among film historians as an important figure in the development of American cinema in the second half of the 20th Century.

By Richard Harland Smith) and "Castle in the Clouds" (1942), therefore winding up on suspension more than once. In 1943, she was named Best Actress by the New York Film Critics for her poignant turn as a dying woman who recounts the bullet points of her tragic fall from grace in Vincent Sherman¿s "The Hard Way" (1943). Despite the honor, Lupino continued to despair over the dearth of good roles in Hollywood and often referred to herself as "a poor man¿s Bette Davis." Over the next few years, she found a niche in shadowy dramas that anticipated the postwar film noir thrillers, including Archie Mayo¿s "Moontide" (1942) with Jean Gabin and Jean Negulesco¿s "Deep Valley" (1947) with Dane Clark.

Lupino left Warners in 1947. After starring in Negulesco¿s scorching noir entry "Road House" (1948), she sought to improve her industry cachet by branching off into producing. With second husband, Columbia production executive Collier Young, she put money into the independent crime drama "The Judge" (1949), directed by Elmer Clifton. The feature was made under the banner of Emerald Pictures, which Lupino named for her mother, in partnership with Anson Bond, heir to America¿s first national chain of clothing stores. The film turned a profit, encouraging Lupino and Young to develop a Paul Jarrico script about an unwed mother that had been pressed upon them by Warners producer Jerry Wald and his brother Marvin. When Columbia head Harry Cohn refused to back "Not Wanted" (1949), Lupino stamped it as an Emerald Pictures film, overseeing all aspects

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  The Trouble With Angels (1966) Director
2.
  The Hitch-Hiker (1953) Director
3.
  The Bigamist (1953) Director
5.
6.
  Outrage (1950) Director
7.
  Never Fear (1950) Director
8.
  Teenage Idol, The (1958) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 American Lifestyles (1987) ("Show Business At War" - "Show Business: The War Years")
2.
 Deadhead Miles (1982)
3.
4.
 Food Of The Gods, The (1976) Mrs Skinner
5.
 Devil's Rain, The (1975) Mrs Preston
6.
 I Love a Mystery (1973) Randolph Cheyne
7.
 Female Artillery (1973) Martha Lindstrom
8.
 Letters, The (1973) Mrs Forrester ("The Forresters: Dear Karen")
9.
 Junior Bonner (1972) Elvira [Ellie] Bonner
10.
 Strangers in 7A, The (1972) Iris Sawyer
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1918:
Born in London during a German zeppelin bombing
:
Wrote and produced her first play, "Mademoiselle", at age seven
:
Suffered from polio as a child
:
Joined a touring theater company
1932:
First film appearance (a bit) in "The Love Race", directed by her uncle, Lupino Lane
1932:
Official film acting debut at age 14 in "Her First Affaire", promoted as "the English Jean Harlow"
1933:
Went to US under contract to Paramount; tested (unsuccessfully) for "Alice in Wonderland"
1934:
US film debut in "Search for Beauty"
1937:
Left film acting for about a year after the failure of "Fight for Your Lady"; spent time writing and composing music, including the score for one of her father's shows and a piece, "Aladdin Suite", performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic
1939:
Achieved star status with "The Light That Failed"
1940:
Signed contract with Warner Bros.
1941:
Reported in "Picturegoer" magazine that "she gave up a contract at $1700 a week rather than play in unsuitable stories"
1946:
First film as producer (uncredited co-producer), "Young Widow"
1947:
Left Warner Bros.
1947:
Formed Arcadia Productions with Benedict Bogeaus; no films produced
1948:
First film credited as producer (also first film for own company, Emerald Productions, Inc. which she co-founded with Collier Young and Anson Bond and named after her mother), "The Judge"
1948:
Performed her own songs, including "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)", for her role as a nightclub singer in the film noir, "Road House"
1949:
Took over directing "Not Wanted" for an ailing Elmer Clifton; uncredited
1949:
Credited feature film directing and co-writing debut, "Never Fear"
1950:
Changed name of production company to The Filmakers; took on writer Marvin Wald as another partner
1951:
Joined with David Niven, Dick Powell and Charles Boyer to form Four Star Productions
1951:
Reportedly helmed portions of the feature "On Dangerous Ground" while director Nicholas Ray was ill
:
Appeared on a rotating basis (with David Niven, Charles Boyer and Dick Powell) on "Four Star Playhouse", a CBS-TV dramatic anthology series
:
Formed Bridget Productions (named after her daughter by Howard Duff)
1956:
Acted in last feature films for 13 years, "While the City Sleeps" and "Strange Intruder"
:
Directed episodes of TV series such as "Have Gun--Will Travel" (the episode "Lady With a Gun" 1959), "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (ep. "Sybilla" 1960), "The Untouchables" (ep. "Man in the Cooler" 1963) and "The Fugitive" (ep. "The Glass Tightrope" 1963)
:
Produced, co-starred (opposite then-husband Howard Duff) and directed episodes of the CBS sitcom, "Mr. Adams and Eve"
1966:
Directed last feature film, "The Trouble with Angels"
1969:
Returned to acting in feature films in "Backtrack"
1982:
Appeared in cameo role in only film of the 1980s, "Deadhead Miles"
:
Health declined; moved to Motion Picture Home
1987:
Featured in footage used in "American Lifestyles", a six-part compilation film using material from the "March of Time" newsreels from 1939 to 1950
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Clarence House Preparatory and Boarding School: -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England - 1931

Notes

Lupino's birth year is open to question: other dates given are 1914, 1916 and 1919.

"'My father once said to me, 'You're born to be bad,' she recalled. 'And it was true. I made eight films in England before I came to America, and I played a tramp or a slut in all of them.'" --From TThe Hollywood Reporter, August 7, 1995.

"Although she won a best actress award from the New York Film Critics in 1943 for her role as a domineering sister in The Hard Way", she came to view her Hollywood acting career a failure and once referred to herself as 'the poor man's Bette Davis.'" --From The Hollywood Reporter, August 7, 1995.

"Her films [as a director] display the obsessions and consistencies of a true auteur. ... What is most interesting about her films are not her stories of unwed motherhood or the tribulation of career women, but the way in which she uses male actors: particulary in "The Bigamist" and "The Hitchhiker" (both 1953), Lupino was able to reduce the male to the same sort of dangerous, irrational force that women represented in most male-directed examples of Hollywood film noir." --Richard Koszarski in "Hollywood Directors 1914-40" (Oxford University Press, 1976)

"She regarded her own directorial career as an unconventional choice for a woman, and had remarked in an interview that she'd rather be cooking her man's dinner. However, the content and technical virtuosity of her work belie this statement and point to a very wily director who knows the uses of conventionality as a tool." --Barbara Scharres in The Film Center Gazette (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, February 1987).

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Louis Hayward. Actor. Born on March 19, 1909; married in 1938; divorced in 1945; acted opposite Lupino in "Ladies in Retirement" (1941); died on February 21, 1985.
husband:
Collier Young. Executive, producer. Married in 1948; divorced in 1950; met Lupino while working as Harry Cohn's executive assistant at Columbia; formed Filmakers, Inc. production company together; co-owned company with Lupino until 1980.
husband:
Howard Duff. Actor. Born on August 24, 1913; married in October 1951; divorced in 1983; had been living apart for the last 11 years of their marriage; acted together in such films as "Woman in Hiding" (1950), "Jennifer" (1953), "Private Hell 36" (1954) and "While the City Sleeps" (1956), as well as the TV series, "Mr. Adams and Eve" (1957-58); father of Lupino's daughter Bridgett; died on July 8, 1990.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
George Lupino. Actor, dancer.
father:
Stanley Lupino. Comedian, actor. Born in London on May 15, 1893; died in 1942.
mother:
Connie Emerald. Actor.
godfather:
Ivor Novello. Actor, playwright, composer. Born on January 15, 1893; died in 1951.
uncle:
Lupino Lane. Comedian, actor, director. Born on June 6, 1892; died in 1959; starred in many popular comedy shorts in Hollywood in the 1920s and in such feature films as "The Love Parade" (1929).
uncle:
Wallace Lupino. Actor.
uncle:
Barry Lupino. Actor.
uncle:
Mark Lupino.
sister:
Rita Lupino. Actor. Appeared in several films directed by Lupino.
daughter:
Bridgett Mirella Duff. Born on April 23, 1952; father, Howard Duff; nominal inspiration for TV production company for series "Mr. Adams and Eve" (1957-58), starring Lupino and Howard Duff.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Queen of the B's: Ida Lupino Behind the Camera"
"Ida Lupino"
"Ida Lupino: A Biography" University of Kentucky Press

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute